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The Ultimate Staging Guide Checklist

1. Plan Ahead

  • Walk through each room and criticize the home from a buyer’s perspective.
  • Ask a few local real estate professionals for their advice.
  • Consider getting a professional home inspection to see if any repairs are needed.
  • Hire a contractor to handle any major projects.
  • Consider getting an appraisal to find out your current market value.
  • Hold a yard sale. Sell, donate or trash anything you don’t need.

2. Clean, Declutter and Depersonalize

  • Thoroughly clean the entire home.
  • Scrub tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Clean hardwood floors.
  • Steam clean carpets and drapes. Consider replacing carpet if stains are prominent.
  • Get rid of all dust bunnies.
  • Repair cracks and holes in the walls.
  • Paint interior walls with neutral colors, like beige, cream or light pastels. Pale blues and greens are good for bathrooms.
  • Remove excess and oversized furniture.
  • Rearrange furniture to maximize space.
  • Organize room closets and store out-of-season clothes.
  • Remove all small appliances, toys, magazines and pet items.
  • Remove family photos, personal collections and medications.
  • Remove items from the garage and store them off site.
  • Secure valuable items, including cash and jewelry.

3. Maximize Curb Appeal

  • Paint the home’s exterior, including trim, doors and shutters.
  • Check front door, doorbell, address number and welcome mat.
  • Power wash the siding and windows.
  • Inspect the roof and make repairs as needed.
  • Repair cracks in the driveway and sidewalks.
  • Sweep the entryway and walkways.
  • Mow, water and fertilize the lawn.
  • Trim shrubs and trees and rake the leaves.
  • Plant colorful flowers and shrubs.
  • Store any toys or equipment lying on the yard.
  • Clean up pet droppings.
  • Clean the gutters and downspouts.

4. Pay Attention to Kitchens and Bathrooms

  • Mop and wax/polish the floors.
  • Clear the countertops.
  • Replace outdated hardware.
  • Clean appliances and fixtures.
  • Clean and organize the pantry, cabinets and drawers.
  • Replace old caulking around sinks and bathtubs.
  • Remove stains from sinks, toilets and bathtubs.
  • Keep all toilet seat lids closed.
  • Hang fresh towels.

5. Appeal to the Senses

  • Bake cookies or burn scented candles.
  • Offer light refreshments.
  • Install higher wattage incandescent light bulbs to brighten rooms.
  • Turn on all the lights.
  • Open windows to let in fresh air.
  • Open curtains or blinds to let in natural light and show off views.
  • Turn off TVs.
  • Relocate pets on the day of the open house.
  • Refrain from smoking in the home.

6. Show Off Your Home’s Best Features

  • Remove rugs to show off hardwood floors.
  • Pull back drapes to showcase nice views.
  • Stage the front porch or deck with furniture and potted plants.
  • Make sure fireplaces are in working condition.
  • Clean the backyard and pool area.

7. Prepare for the Open House

  • Hold an exclusive brokers’ open house to let local agents know your home is on the market. Offer food and refreshments.
  • Inform family, friends and neighbors of the date and time of your open house.
  • Put ads in local newspapers, real estate publications and on free Web sites like Craigslist.com.
  • Put up “Open House” signs on the front lawn and at nearby intersections with directions to the house.
  • Create property description sheets and prepare important documents, such as homeowner’s association rules, inspection reports and purchase offer forms.

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