Wondering if your staging is acceptable? Visit a model home to see how they do it. For example, can you leave your high-end, designer toaster out on your kitchen counter? Nope! You won’t find a single toaster in the kitchens of model homes. Can you display an artsy topiary tree on your kitchen counter? Yes. Model homes do!
“Curb appeal.” They say you can only make one “first impression,” and people usually form their first impression within 30 seconds. What potential buyers see when they drive up to your house will be their first impression. This is a good place to spend a little extra time and money. Plant flowers, trim bushes, weed, pick up leaves, repaint your front door, replace tarnished house numbers or a dented mailbox, get a brand-new neutral doormat, park your old car somewhere else.
The entrance. The first glimpse inside your home should give potential buyers positive, uplifting feelings. Make your entryway as light and bright as possible. Leave all the lights in the house on. (Have you noticed that model homes do this?) Get rid of all area rugs. (Even authentic, high-quality carpets should normally be removed since they break up the expanse of floor space, making rooms look smaller.) Limit your cooking to very plain foods so odors don’t linger. (No cabbage, garlic, or onions!) On the other hand, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie smells are just fine! They evoke a homey feeling for almost everyone.
Kitchen. Kitchens sell homes, so the importance of making your kitchen appealing can’t be underestimated. Clean and declutter! Anything taking up counter or floor space must go (the only exception would be the types of designer touches seen in model homes). Anything displayed on the refrigerator must go. If your cabinets are old, consider resurfacing them. If your counter knobs are old or out-of date, replacing them can be a relatively inexpensive “facelift.” If your cabinets are wood, get a wood tone touchup stick from your home supply store and fill in any nicks and scratches. Shelves and pantries must appear orderly and very spacious. Potential buyers will be turned off by kitchens that seem to have inadequate storage space. Put those extra items in your newly rented storage unit or give them away!
Bathrooms. Again, clean and de-clutter! You absolutely must get rid of any mildew/mold. If you have a glass shower door, squeegee it after every shower. A mold-and-mildew remover and a soap scum remover can work wonders. Glass cleaning products do a good job of cleaning windows and mirrors (but be careful if you have brass fixtures since ammonia will cause these to pit). Do not display any personal toiletry items! Remove all deodorant, mouthwash, electric toothbrushes, etc. and put them in your cabinet. (Model homes never, ever display such items!) Pick up all bath mats and rugs. Keep your soap dishes pristine. If you have bars of hand soap, they should look new. Get a new set of high-quality, neutral, fluffy towels and display them. (Model homes always do this!)
Rest of the House. Clean, repair, de-clutter, and de-personalize! You’re going for that Executive but neutral look, since almost everyone can “see themselves” in a home like that.