The Real Estate Staging Association estimates that professionally staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market, receive more foot traffic, and typically sell for more money.1

Following are 10 tips you can use to get your home “show ready” prior to hitting the market. These easy and cost-effective ideas will help your house look its best—and help buyers visualize themselves living there.

Even if you’re not currently in the market to sell, you can use these tactics to breathe new life into your existing home decor.

#1 Remove Clutter: Overflowing closets and cluttered countertops can make your house feel small and cramped. Pack up anything you don’t use on a daily basis and store it off site. Make sure any items that remain are clean and tidy. The good news is, when it comes time to move, a large portion of your packing will be done!

#2 Deep Clean & Deodorize: Having a clean (and odor-free) home is a MUST. To achieve this, you may want to invest in a professional cleaning service for your home, carpets and upholsteries. Try to keep your house in clean, show-ready condition while it’s on the market. You never know when a potential buyer will want to drop by for a viewing.

#3 Depersonalize: Buyers will have a hard time envisioning themselves living in a house if it feels like YOUR home. Pack up any items that are personal to you and your family, such as photos, books, children’s artwork, travel souvenirs, and religious items. Instead, keep your decor items minimal and generic to appeal to the largest number of buyers.

#4 Neutralize Your Color Palette: By incorporating a neutral color palette throughout your home, buyers can better visualize the addition of their own furniture and decor, which may contrast with your current color scheme. Try repainting walls in a neutral color, and if your sofa has a bold pattern, use a slipcover. Instead, bring in tasteful pops of color with throw pillows and accessories.

#5 Increase Your Curb Appeal: According to a 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of home buyers drove by a property after viewing it online but did NOT go inside for a walk through.2 That means if your curb appeal is lacking, buyers may never make it through the door. Thoroughly clean the outside of your home and walkway. Plant flowers, trim trees and hedges, and repaint your front door. Even small, cosmetic improvements like new house numbers and a colorful wreath can have a big impact.

#6 Freshen Kitchens and Baths: Kitchens and bathrooms will show better and appear larger if all items are cleared from the countertops, except for one or two decorative pieces.4 If your cabinets are dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to make them modern and bright. Purchase new bath mats and towels to complete the look.

#7 Set the Table: Buyers often imagine hosting family gatherings in their new home, and the dining room plays a large role in that vision. Be sure the table is centered underneath the chandelier and on the area rug if you’re using one. If your dining room is small, remove all other furniture and leave only four chairs.5 Dress up the table using nice tableware and cloth napkins or a table runner and centerpiece.

#8 Rearrange Your Furniture: In your living room, use a symmetrical seating arrangement to create a cozy conversation area. If the room is small, remove some of the furniture to make it feel larger. For small bedrooms, remove all the furniture except the bed, bedside tables and a dresser. If it’s a large room, add one or two chairs and a table to create a seating area.

#9 Lighten Up: Make sure windows are clean, and open curtains and blinds to let in the maximum amount of daylight. Each room should have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (such as a reading lamp or under-cabinet light), and accent (such as a floor or table lamp). If your mounted light fixtures are dated, replacing them with something more modern is an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can have a big impact.

#10 Highlight Your Backyard’s Best Features: Don’t forget about staging your home’s outdoor areas to help buyers imagine how they could utilize the space. Even a small patio can become a selling feature with the addition of a cafe table and chairs. Add a tray of plates and coffee cups to help buyers envision a peaceful breakfast on the back porch.

As local market experts, we are intimately familiar with buyer preferences in your area. We’ll run a comparative market analysis to find out how your home compares to others currently on the market, as well as those that have recently sold. Then we’ll tailor a custom plan to suit your particular property, budget and needs. Please call or email us today with questions or to schedule a free consultation. (813) 477-2090.