Dress your house for success
The key to successfully showcasing your house to prospective buyers

“STAGING” will help sell your home for a higher sales price and in the least amount of time and trouble for you. You will be competing with other homes that are brand new or close to it. You have probably been through model homes, where all the lights are on and it looks like no one lives there? That’s the way you will need to keep your property to accomplish the above goals! It will be worth it in the long run, I promise you.

The following are some generic suggestions of ways to “STAGE” all types of homes that will improve the impression that the buyers are left with about the maintenance of a property. Please take the time to look over your home with the eye of a “BUYER” and you will see what I mean.

Keep your yard mowed every week and bushes neatly trimmed and well watered. Edge the lawn up the driveway and along the sidewalks and street, both front and back, to give the finished manicured look of a well-groomed lawn. Cut all grass growing between the sidewalk cracks.

Cut all shrubbery and low-lying tree limbs (skirt the tree), if necessary, so that your home shows behind the landscaping (you can’t sell what you can’t see!)

Keep the weeds out of the landscaping beds and make sure the leaves are raked in the Fall regularly.

Give the tired plants away and buy some new ones. This makes your property look “warm and friendly”

Replace downed gutters and rainspouts and make sure these gutters are free of debris, cleaned out, and functioning properly.

Paint any trim-work which is blistering, cracking, or peeling.

Repaint or stain the front door and the shutters. Have the siding professionally cleaned, if necessary.

Replace torn screens from the front and back doors (hardware stores can replace the screen at a nominal cost.)

Weather permitting, some seasonal flowers planted in your yard, or baskets hanging or placed near the front door are inviting.

Pack and store all valuables. Try to limit the nic-nacs to 1, 3, or 5 at the most in a room. When buyers have too much distracting them to look at (like family pictures, collectibles, etc.) they have a harder time visualizing THEIR things in the property. It’s important for them to feel “at home” before they decide to purchase any home.

Painting always helps (even if it’s been done recently). Touch up, if it hasn’t been too long since you last painted, or paint entire rooms so that is looks ready to move into and smells like a new home. Stairways and fingerprinted hallways almost always need a facelift.

Carpets almost always need freshened by a good carpet cleaner. Vacuum carpets constantly, especially before every showing.

Clean all the windows and remove the screens storing them in the basement or garage (this helps to brighten the home).

Keep the draperies and window shades or blinds open. Keep all lights on like the models (every single one – even in the basement and storage areas – to help the buyer see better).

Simmering potpourri on the stove or room deodorizers are a must. Every home has its own smells from cooking, pets, etc.; but, it’s better to have your home smell like flowers or vanilla, etc.

Easy listening or classical background music is great too. Not too loud, though.

Fix any dripping faucets. Spray lubricant on all squeaky doors, windows, closet doors and cabinets.

If the floors squeak try the headless (screw type) nails that nail right through the carpet which are specifically designed for this purpose.

Keep the toilet bowl lids down. Keep the sinks, toilet bowls, tubs and floors cleaned constantly. Most people are really picky about bathroom cleanliness. If you have a number of toiletries that you keep out, try placing them altogether on a small-mirrored tray. Make sure the caulking around the tub looks good. If it needs it, please recaulk it. To get the floors of tubs or showers clean from soap buildup, try Lysol Pine Action or Pine Power (by Texize). Let it soak for 15 minutes, or so, then use a flat nylon scrubber designed for tub cleaning to finish the job.

Keep the kitchen spotless. Nothing out that isn’t absolutely necessary. The more open counter-space, the better. The sink should always be free of dishes (in the dishwasher and run regularly). The sink should always be wiped dry and towels should be out of sight. The stove and oven should be cleaned (get new drip pans, if necessary, and burner covers are nice, too). The refrigerator should be cleaned out regularly and all artwork, magnets, etc., removed from the front or side of the refrigerator until after we have a ratified contract.

Remove all posters from bedroom walls, if any. Also, try to limit the number of photographs. Buyers can get very distracted.

Keep the floors in closets clear of debris. Store out-of-season clothes somewhere else so that closets appear more spacious.

Keep windows uncovered and cleaned to let in the light. If it is too cluttered, please consider renting storage space to store what you will be moving soon anyway.

Stack all items in the garage against the walls to show maximum floor space. Sweep or vacuum the garage floor and rafters.

Please discuss with me the items you do not want to convey with the property. It is a good idea to either tag the item “DOES NOT CONVEY,” or just go ahead and remove and replace it before the first showing.

Please keep pets confined or restricted, if possible. If you have a cat, try a “Booda Box” for litter that has a tall cover with an access for the cat at one end and stays covered all of the time. If nothing else, use “Scoop Away” litter. It hardly smells, hardly tracks out of the box, and can be “scooped” out easily every day. Make sure you give me specific instructions where your pets are concerned so our receptionists can relay these to the showing agents.

In fact, and no offense, it would be better if you are not there so that the potential buyers will feel free to express their true opinions to their agent. That way, the showings will not waste your time even if they don’t make an offer. When I call the showing agent the next day or so for feedback, they will have more information to share with me which may help us improve the presentation of the property for the next showing. It is very important to find out why they did not make an offer. If you are in the property when they see it, they will probably be too polite to say anything for fear you will hear them which would be a waste of your time and energy.

If you are there when they arrive, please leave as soon as possible, and ask them to take their time and lock the door when they are finished.

Most of the time, you will get a call from our receptionist asking if an agent can show your property between a certain time period. Please be as flexible as possible. The showing agent may have 7 or 8 properties to show, and we want to make sure they show yours and don’t eliminate it because they couldn’t fit into your desired time slot. Also, the agents sometimes are a little early or late. There are so many variables that it is almost impossible to be on time always.

Sometimes, agents drive past the properties first with the buyers in their car to make sure that it is a good match before scheduling an appointment to show it (this is actually better for the sellers saving them time and trouble getting “staged” for only buyers who, when they drive into your neighborhood and see the home and lot from the outside, decide that it is one they would like to see on the inside as well).

Sometimes the buyer likes it so much that they want to see it immediately. It is a very good sign that this is a “HIGH QUALITY BUYER”, anxious to see your home inside. . . one who is already seen the neighborhood, the lot, the style of your house and it’s curb appeal. I know it is a pain being ready at the drop of a hat for a showing. You can always ask for 5-10 minutes to straighten up for the buyer first; but please, if at all possible, let them come through with their agent without asking them to schedule an appointment with more notice. After all, if they go onto the next house, they may like it and buy it before ever getting around to scheduling an appointment to see yours.

The sooner we get an offer and an acceptance by you, the sooner you will be relieved of the “STAGING” routine.


E-mail: sherryrich@wesellmore.com    Direct: (443) 535-0996   Cell: (410) 978-9532
Office: (410) 730-6100 or (800) 899-7629   Fax (443) 535-8365