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5 Basics for Staging a House

When your house is up for sale two things matter most - short time on market (TOM) and top dollar. The way to reach both of these goals is by staging your house to sell. The are plenty of professional house stagers in the area, if you want to go that route, but if you're interested in giving it a go, here are some tips.

1. Light. Always light. People always respond better to well lit rooms. Take down your fussy drapes and curtains and opt for sheers or curtains that can be opened wide, so the entire window lets in light. Check all of the lightbulbs in the house to make sure nothing is out and that you have the right wattage in each lamp.

2. Neutral Wall Colors. If you're like me, you may be emotionally invested in your house and you love the colors you chose so carefully. It doesn't mean that the colors aren't wonderful, but painting over with a consistent neutral color makes it much easier for buyers to imagine their furniture and decor in the house.

3. Declutter and Clean. This might be the single most important thing you can do to help sell your house. Check with local housekeeping services for a deep clean special to help take the load off you. Look very critically at all of the things sitting on tables, hung on the wall, and on shelves. The general rule is to pack up half of it. Especially remove items that include family pictures and personalized items. Think about what you might see in a hotel lobby or room.

4. Remove Furniture. If at all possible, remove some of the furniture in the house. That may mean moving it to storage temporarily. The less furniture in each room, the larger the rooms will seem and the better the flow from room to room. It's ok to stage a house in a way you personally wouldn't use it. For example, a crowded "spare bedroom/office space" needs to become just one of those. The room in the picture below could be a lounge space, library, or office, but it doesn't help sell the house that it is all three. Ask your Realtor for your market demographics to help make those choices.

5. Make Repairs. People generally aren't looking to buy a house that needs simple repairs because the value plummets even though the repairs aren't costly. Check if the tubs need new caulk, seals around the door need to be replaced, a faucet leaks, or door handles are loose. These are simple things that can make a big difference in the presentation of the house.

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