Home Staging, what will it cost? — Step 2: Cleaning

When you think of cleaning your home, you may have a list of items that get done daily, weekly and monthly (sweep, vacuum, clean the countertops, etc.).  While those items are still important during the listing period, this is not the sort of cleaning I’m referring to here.

Cleaning to prepare for showings involves things you might not normally even notice.  Baseboards might be scuffed or dingy, and need to be cleaned or even touched up with a small brush and a pint of white paint.  Check doorknobs and doors, light switch plates, stair rails, the kickplate at the bottom of the front door.  Take down light fixtures and clean them thoroughly.  Clean the oven and make sure the stovetop sparkles.  Make sure the fireplace, windows and windowsills are all clean and free of debris.  Go through every single room, closet, cupboard and drawer and ask yourself if it’s clean enough to be inviting.  Make sure the garage is clear of trash, insects and cobwebs.  Give the yard and front porch or stoop a good cleaning, too.  If your welcome mat is dingy or dismal, replace it!  Does your house say “this house is so organized, it practically cleans itself!”?  Or is your house giving buyers the message that storage space is insufficient here and this home is impossible to clean? Will it give buyers a sense that they will be overwhelmed if they live here?

It’s important to think in terms of making your buyers feel a sense of a calm, organized lifestyle in your home.  They are much more likely to feel an emotional connection if they walk into a home that is free of chaos.  Have you ever been to a nice spa?  For me, a sense of calm comes over me the minute I walk in the door.  It’s clean, inviting, quiet and gives me the feeling I can finally relax and enjoy a few moments of peace.  That feeling often stays with me the rest of the day.  That’s exactly what you need to relay to a potential buyer.  You are competing with every other home in your price range in your area and you need to give your house the chance to outshine all the others!

While this may seem like a lot of work, you can be sure it will pay off.  The goal for you is to present your house so well that you can quickly find a buyer and move on to settling into your next home!

Coming up!  Step 3:  Repairing

Home Staging – What will it cost?

Home Staging – What will it cost?

My first experience with “home staging” was more than 20 years ago.  We were selling a modest home, and at that time we didn’t have a lot of money to invest in dressing up our home for showings.  We also didn’t know what sort of changes to make.  That was when I came across a little book called “Dress your House for Success” by Martha Webb.  I still have a copy of that book — it’s fairly dated now, but the premise is still the same — if you’re on a budget, but are willing to roll up your sleeves and invest in some “elbow grease” you can achieve great results and help your house sell much faster and for a lot more money.

We are blessed to live in an area with a wealth of resources.  If your budget is large, we have some of the best home stagers in the nation, and let’s be honest — they do beautiful work and achieve fantastic results.  There may come a time when you will need their services, and I can certainly recommend someone that will not disappoint!  But, if you have something more modest in mind, you needn’t worry.  There is a simple-to-follow process and I’m happy to be your guide.

Basically, staging-to-sell comes down to a 5-step process:

  • Uncluttering
  • Cleaning
  • Repairing
  • Neutralizing
  • The “Wow” effect

Step 1:  Uncluttering

This is not just the first step, it’s also the most important.  I once listed a home owned by a couple who owned and operated a business that specialized in large artificial flower and plant arrangements.  Don’t get me wrong, they were beautiful!  But in their home they had more than 20 arrangements on tables, pedestals, countertops and in every architectural niche; and that just included three rooms!  From the moment I stepped in the door all I could see were flowers.  As gently as I could, I explained that buyers would be so distracted by these beautiful arrangements, they would never even notice the house.  Thankfully, they were willing to remove all but two and put them in storage.  The rest of the house was uncluttered and spotless, and they soon had a buyer and were able to move on to a home much closer to their business.

You may have toys, books, photos or any number of other items that are spilling out of baskets, shelves or even overtaking the walls.  The very best thing you can do is look at your home with the eyes of a buyer and start sorting, boxing, donating or storing any items that don’t remind you of a “model home”.   Your reward? You won’t have nearly as much to unpack at your next home, and you will have taken the first step toward a quick sale!

Coming up!  Step 2:  Cleaning