house-for-sale-300x200It is not yet a sellers’ market out there, so if you are ready to put your home on the market, there are some important strategies for staging your home for sale. You may not want to put buckets of money into home improvements at this stage, but you should be willing to spend a bit to beat the competition.Let’s take a look at the exterior first. Remember that old wheel barrel sitting under your deck? Remember that small piece of soffit that has needed replacing for years? Now is the time to clean up, repair and spruce up, checking all of the following:

1. Walk around the exterior of your home, looking at the structure first. Is the siding dirty? Has paint begun to peel anywhere? How do the gutters and downspouts look – nice and straight or crooked and stained?  All of these things should be fixed. Power-wash, paint what is necessary, and replace any guttering or downspouts that look old or in disrepair.

2. Decks and patios are really important to impressions. You deck should have fresh paint or stain; your patio should be scrubbed. And if your furniture is old and ugly, get rid of it – better to have nothing than an eyesore! Put a few large pots out, with some artificial plants and flowers. The exterior must sparkle when you are staging your home for sale.

3. Landscaping: Nothing looks better than fresh mulch in gardens and around trees. Spend a few bucks and give your landscaping a face lift! If it’s spring, get some bedding plants that are already flowering; trim shrubs that have overtaken parts of your yard. Plant a few bushes in bare spots, and dig up those ugly plants that you once thought you liked!  Neat and clean is what you want for landscaping when staging your home for sale.

4. Mailbox and Front Door: Replace an old mailbox and put new numbers on it; give that front door a paint job, of, if you can afford it, get a new one. And if the storm door is damaged, take it off.

5. The Garage: Yes, you have to go into that awful place and clean it up! Potential buyers who see a tidy, neat garage assume that you have really cared for the rest of your house too. Power-wash the floor and scrub oil spots off; put in some shelves and get everything on them. Hang shovels, rakes, garden tools, trimmers, etc. on hooks. The only things on the floor should be your lawn mower, your trash cans, and your cars!

Now it’s time to take a really careful look at the interior. You probably know of those minor repairs that you should have completed long ago, but now that you are staging your home for sale, you have to get at them.

1. Repair or replace loose moldings, baseboards, stair rails, and do that touch-up painting you have been meaning to get to. Clean your carpets and polish those wood or laminate floors!

2. If you have wallpaper in a lot of areas, you are better off taking it down and painting. In fact, if your house has not been painted in 4 years, you should do it now. Paint is the cheapest and most effective means of giving a house a great look. Stick to neutral colors. You want lookers to believe they can move right in with the furniture they have.

3. Take out any furniture you are not using a lot. Sell it, donate it, or put it in storage (not in the garage!). The idea is to give the illusion of space. If your dining table has a leaf in it, take it out – more space added!

4. Clean out your closets and cupboards! People look in these, and if they are cluttered and messy, they think you are messy about other things to, like home maintenance. Staging your home for sale means you must be a “neat freak” if only temporarily.

5. Get stuff off of your kitchen counters; take all those pictures and coupons off of your refrigerator; and remove as much as possible from tabletops

6. Clean your windows! If you have ugly, bent blinds, go buy some really cheap new ones – you can getting them starting at about $7 at a discount store!

7. Put new towels in your bathrooms and replace shower curtains; if you have slow drains anywhere, get some drain cleaner. Staging your home for sale and being really competitive means you pay attention to all of the details.

You can probably think of a number of other things to do, because you know your home best. There are, however, two simple words to remember – clean and neat. These words should govern all that you do in staging your home for sale.