By now, it’s no secret that we’re moving onto another home renovation (exciting!!). If you missed that news, check out this post to catch up. Although we’ll definitely miss our current home, we’re smack dab in the middle of the buying and selling process, so I thought this would be helpful for those of you who aren’t currently inhabiting your “forever home”. If you ever plan to sell your house, pin this post! Click through for my tips on staging and styling to sell- and sell quickly. There are lots of good tips, plus a free printable on prepping for showings!
I like to think of “staging to sell” in two different components…
- the big adjustment
- a quick tszuj before a showing
Read on as I explain both and itemize the lists that accompany them!
First let’s talk about the most time consuming portion- the big adjustment. This is where you deep clean, depersonalize, and neutralize your entire house. It sounds like a big chore, and it is… but it’s well worth it in the end. I think it’s easiest if I dive right in with 10 things I do before listing a home.
Before listing your home…
- #1: DEEP CLEAN. I basically check everything off my “spring cleaning” checklist. A clean house is an appealing house.
- #2: DECLUTTER. Although Emmett and I were enjoying our Halloween styled shelves, some people might be weirded out by my shelf styling oddities. Not only did I restyle them with “normal objects”, but I only used half of the amount that I typically would for a minimal, clean look.
- #3: ORGANIZE STORAGE. I made sure to clean every single closest in the house. Emmett and I also removed many of our items to make the closets appear more spacious. It was time for a purge anyway, and the items that were out of season went into storage outside of the home. People definitely look inside closets when searching for a new home, so be sure they’re not crammed full.
- #4: FRESHEN PAINT. If your walls are banged up or are looking worn, a fresh coat of paint goes a long way! Our paint still looked really good, but I had at least one touch up in every room. If you have bold or bright paint colors in your home, it might also be worth changing them to neutral colors that appeal to a wider range of people.
- #5: DEPERSONALIZE. People find it difficult to envision themselves in a home if they’re hung up on the family that currently lives there. Remove family photos, personal artwork or achievements, etc. You want the potential buyers to imagine themselves in the space.
- #6: CURB APPEAL. No matter the season, make sure the exterior of your home is also looking nice. I replanted my flower boxes, cleaned the front door, raked leaves, and worked on the curb appeal. First impressions are very important!
- #7: UPDATE LINENS. We have fresh white towels in our linen closet and bathroom, but if your linens are looking worn, I’d recommend replacing them. White is the best color for staging a home. They look clean and crisp. The same goes for bedding!
- #8: REPLACE TEXTILES. If your window treatments, rugs, or cushions are looking drab, replacing those will instantly give your home a fresh makeover.
- #9: FRAGRANCE. The first thing someone notices when walking through the front door is the scent of your home. Make sure it’s a good smell, that isn’t overbearing. I’m still obsessed with my Aera, so I ordered fragrance refills and set it to diffuse at medium speed on the app. It smells nice, but isn’t overpowering.
- #10: FLOWERS. I typically try to keep fresh flowers in my home anyway, but it’s especially important when staging to sell. I put together a few new arrangements… one for the dining table, coffee table, and one for a nightstand in each bedroom.
The second portion of the equation is the prep work that occurs prior to a home showing. If you’re new to the process, that’s when a real estate agent brings potential buyers to tour your home.
Most of us currently live in the home we’re trying to sell while buying another. I think that’s the most common scenario. It makes things a little more difficult (or just inconvenient), but the printable checklist at the bottom of the post makes the job a bit easier. I like to give the house a good tszuj before potential buyers arrive for a showing!
Here’s what I do before a home showing…
- #1: VACUUM. I always clean the floors before people arrive…. typically I’ll vacuum the entire house and wipe any spots or muddy paw prints (rather than dragging the mop out).
- #2: TAKEOUT TRASH. I also take out the main trash, recycling, and waste basket in the bathroom.
- #3: DO DISHES. I don’t like leaving dishes in the sink or dishwasher during home showings, so I make sure everything is clean and put away.
- #4: REFRESH FABRIC. We allow the dogs to snuggle with us on the sofa. I like using this spray to lightly freshen the sofa fabric, bedding, and window treatments. I think it helps with wrinkles as well!
- #5: REMOVE PETS. Obviously we aren’t home during showings and neither are our dogs- or any evidence of them! We take their basket of toys and beds to the car with us when we leave (although their portraits and dishes stay). As long as those items are clean, I think it’s fine to leave that behind.
- #6: TIDY. I like to tidy or tszuj the house before a showing. Basically, I’ll fluff cushions, make beds, put things in their designated space, straighten books, etc.
- #7: LIGHTS. A key selling point is lighting. Fixtures typically stay with a house after the sale, so I make sure every single light is switched on before we exit- overheads, recessed, sconces, lamps, gallery lights, the works…
- #8: PERSONAL ITEMS. Emmett and I both have a shower niche. Mine contains shampoo, conditioner, a razor, etc. Anything that seems “gross” or hygiene related, I tuck out of sight into a bathroom drawer or basket. Nobody wants to see a stained Clarisonic or hairy razor. Ha! But really, they don’t. Remove those types of items. Our agent also suggested removing or locking away important or expensive things (jewelry, passports, checkbooks, etc).
- #9: FOOD. Along the same line as personal items, be sure to put away food or discard half eaten leftovers from the countertop or fridge. If the appliances are staying, people definitely check the inside. Certainly DO NOT make food prior to a showing. Food smells are a huge turn off.
- #10: BOOTIES. I’m really weird about leaving shoes on inside a clean home. Imagine the foot traffic or amount of people looking at your home (it’s even more if you have an open house). Rather than making people inconveniently take their shoes off, I like to place a basket of shoe covers outside the door. It’s much easier and keeps your place clean during the selling process. This is a common practice at designer show homes or parade home events and people typically understand that the homeowner prefers viewers to cover their shoes.
Lastly, I’ll switch on the Sonos speaker in our living room. Music is debatable for house showings, but I think it’s better than silence. This is totally a personal preference though, so I left it off the list! Anyway, “hipster cocktail radio” is my go-to house showing station, and I’ll put it on low volume so it’s nice and soft.
I simplified both lists and compiled them into a printable below. Just save or pin the image for future reference!
Again, this is my personal process, but based on your home and preferences, feel free to adjust as needed! Emmett and I also like to leave a “features” list on the countertop for potential buyers to read, if they’re interested. We include things like: walking distance from shops & restaurants, brand new furnace & A/C, new electrical service, etc… things that buyers might not know from looking at the house.
Let me know if you have any questions or have items I should add to the list. I don’t want to give too much away or jinx it, but we’re currently under contract. I won’t share details on anything until closing dates, but so far- the process is going as planned.
One last thing I’ll recommend- be sure to find a real estate agent you trust, who knows what they’re doing. That’s very important in getting your home sold quickly and it makes the process much easier. Luckily, we have lots of friends in real estate and currently have an amazing agent. I’m happy to make recommendations if anyone local needs them. For sources, click here. For the complete home tour, click here!
If you’re not as confident in staging and styling, my friend Ashley shared a very helpful podcast all about real estate staging. Check that out… I linked it!