Setting the Stage for Selling your Home

Tips and Advice

I recently had a request to talk about how to make your home marketable when it’s time to sell.  Before talking to a realtor, it’s a good idea to take a really good look at your home, both inside and out.  As any realtor will tell you, curb appeal is important for encouraging someone to want to look inside your home. 

Ok, so let’s start outside.  Is your lawn neat and tidy?  Are your hedges or planting beds full and healthy, or overgrown and in need of some TLC?  What about the path to your front door and the entrance?  Is it welcoming, or does it look like the Munsters live there?  (I apologize to those of you who have no idea who the Munsters are.  Check out You Tube and enter Eddie Munster or the Munsters).  To make a welcoming entrance, you should have an attractive pathway to your door, and the door itself should be welcoming (i.e. no paint chipping or peeling, maybe a nice wreath on the door).  It’s also welcoming to have a pot of well-tended flowers outside the door.  The idea is to invite people to think about themselves living there.

Attractive robins-egg blue door surrounded by brick Roman arch, flowers on stairs
Welcoming front door

Next, open the door and take a good sniff.  What do you smell?  Last night’s cooking odors, your dog or cat (or kids?) Even worse, cigarettes or cigars?  These aren’t welcoming smells.  If you smoke in your home- and it’s your right to do so- understand that you’ll only appeal to fellow smokers.  Maybe.  I would say that you should spend a month not smoking in your house before putting it on the market, and have all of your window treatments, carpets and furniture professionally cleaned once you no longer smoke in the house.  Again, this is to help you entice someone to want your home.  There’s a lot of competition out there now, so creating the most appealing home is ultimately in YOUR best interest.

Now look around.  What do you see?  Are your rooms cluttered with furniture, or spacious, neat and clean?  Is your color palette neutral- inviting people to envision themselves living there- or are your colors very personalized?  Most people can’t see past your stuff.  If you need to call in a professional organizer to help you de-clutter, I know a few who can help you out, and paint is usually one of the least expensive ways to freshen up your place.  Soft neutrals are the least offensive colors.

Take a look at these pictures.  Which is more appealing?

Clutterend room with bright aqua paint
Exhibit A. Courtesy of
Attractive family room with white beadboard walls and white ceiling, off white furniture and floors
Exhibit B. Courtesy of

Obviously, not everyone is able to put together the beautiful room shown above just to sell their home.  The idea is to make it neat, tidy and appealing.  A few dollars spent on hiring a professional to help you will mean a faster sale, and a home that sells for more. 

What’s your favorite tip for staging your home?

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