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.
1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS – OUTSIDE
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
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.
2. LIVING SPACE – INSIDE
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
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
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
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
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.
5. ITEMS NOT INCLUDED WITH THE SALE
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
7. YOUR PRESENCE IS NOT REQUIRED AT SHOWINGS
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
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
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.