Our house sold twice, in under 5 showings. Not even kidding. Our realtor told us she expected our house to sell within 30-60 days because of how well we staged it. Ha! How about 48 hours instead?! We live in a really small town, and multiple offers aren’t super normal here. Even though it is currently a sellers market, most houses in our area sit for at least a couple months. We’ve even seen houses in our neighborhood sit for years. In fact, our house was unoccupied for 8 years before we purchased it in 2014.
Staging our house for showings is 100% what sold our house so fast & at top dollar. We put our house up on the market back in September knowing we won’t be moving out of the area until probably January, but we wanted to be safe and make sure to leave enough time for our house to sell. And it got 2 offers from 3 showings within the first 48 hours. The offer we accepted fell through due to an issue with the buyer, and we put the house back on the market and on got an offer on the first re-showing. We accepted and put that SOLD sign out front.
Below are my killer tips and tricks for staging our house. Using these methods, we were able to minimize the stress of tons of showings (which was a priority being a mommy of two, and 8 months pregnant with the third)
1. Kitchen Staging.
Remove any non-day to day items from your kitchen. This includes things in the cabinets. Think about HGTV home tours. They don’t show the sponge in the sink next to a rusty dish rack, dirty dishes, or a bulky coffee maker taking up space. You especially want to remove clutter from the counter tops. Any fruit we had went into the fridge. All dish washing tools went under the sink, which was wiped down to look brand new. We also had made some great upgrades to our kitchen, including subway tile, a gorgeous chalkboard wall, a new swoop neck sink faucet, and some new appliances. You want to show off the bones of the space, not your possessions.
2. Staging and Decor.
Make your beds, fluff your pillows, and straiten your rugs. If you do not already own pretty bedding and some cute throw pillows, look from some affordable neutral ones to make your space calming. Places like Homegoods and TJ Maxx are great places to look for inexpensive but pretty decor like baskets, rugs, and curtains to really make your house feel staged.
One of the offers we received wanted us to include a lot of our personal furniture and belongings with the house, which showed us that we had done everything right when it came to styling and staging the house.
3. De-gross Your Bathroom.
Remove everything expect pretty rugs and towels from your bathroom. I mean EVERYTHING. Each showing I put my makeup, hairbrush, any bath toys, shampoo, soap, razors, toothbrushes and such hidden away under the sink. No one wants to see your personal hygiene items in the bathroom. Toss any damp, used towels into the washer. Think of how grossed out you are when you go to a hotel and see used soap… or goodness forbid HAIR in the bathroom! Ewwww! So tuck that stuff away from sight & empty your waste baskets. Also, make sure the toilet paper roll isn’t on it’s last piece of tissue or something. Again, think 5 star hotel.
4. No Handprints Please!
Wash all mirrors and windows that may have finger prints on them. June’s favorite thing to do is to leave creepy toothpaste handprints on the bathroom mirror.
Mop, shampoo, clean any title grout, and spot clean your floors beforehand. No one wants to see ugly stains. Also make sure all floors are spotlessly swept and vacuumed before each showing.
We didn’t have any visible toys out during showings. Like Zero. We packed up 99% of their toys (especially the big items, think you kitchen, race car track, etc), only leaving a few of their favorites out. During showings, the remaining toys were all put into my stylish baskets, tucked nicely away into the kid’s closets. With two kids under 5 this wasn’t the easiest thing entertainment wise, but it made approving last minute showings a breeze since 9 month pregnant me had less to clean up. Plus, who wants to see overflowing buckets of toys… or a giant plastic “little tikes” car parked in the kitchen. Not me. Your buyers want to focus on the house, not clutter.
Light some subtle smelling candles while you are cleaning before showings (we were usually given a 2 hour notice before hand), then blow them out a half an hour or so before you leave. I would never leave a candle burning while I was away, but a nice calming smell (nothing too overwhelming to make them think you are covering up a bad smell) can be a great first impression to someone who walks into your house.
On the topic of smell- EMPTY your trash before you leave the house. You might not be able to smell that silent stinky diaper in the trashcan, but there’s a chance your potential buyer will. And on that note- make sure your kids flushed the toilets before you leave… you never know.
Make sure your yard is taken care of, fully weeded, and freshly mowed. New mulch, and recent power washing of your siding and any pavement are both great things to do too. For our house, power washing the sidewalk in front of the house made a huge difference.
9. Natural Light.
Open all windows to let in as much natural light as possible. And then turn on all the lights. Coming home to the lights turned off after a showing can be a great indicator that people actually came to see your house.
We don’t currently have any (if you don’t count the kid’s stuffed animals), but if you have any animals, please do not leave them in the house during showings. You could have the perfect buyer who just happens to be allergic to your dog, cat, potbelly pig or silverback gorilla.
11. Be Absent.
Do not be present during your showings. Having the seller there is always going to be uncomfortable for the buyer. Even if you are keeping to yourself and staying out of their way, you are less likely to allow the buyers from really wanting to stick around. Yes, it is hard, especially with little kids, but it is worth it! I do recommend removing all valuables from view though (for me it was my jewelry, hard drives, and any small electronics)
I joke that my house was HGTV ready each showing, but I think 3 offers out of 4 showings speaks for itself. And our real estate agent told us several times that our house was the best staged one she’d seen. Think about it, would you rather do nothing to help you ouse sell & have it sit on the market for months, depreciating in value? Or put some hard work into it upfront and get that baby sold for full price? I know which one I’d pick.
See my post on 14 Tips to Make Your House Sell Fast