Letting go of the emotional connections to the items inside the home will make you more objective about any necessary changes and more open to Realtor and buyer feedback. To ease the selling process, embrace the idea that your house is a commodity that needs to be sold, and transfer any emotional connections to your new destination, Churchill advises.
Don’t forget: Foyer tables, fireplace mantels and refrigerator doors are popular display spots for loads of personal items like holiday cards, children’s artwork, pictures and trophies. Pare down or clear off these spots for showings.
Straighten the bedspreads in all the rooms, put away loose shoes in hallways and tuck away pet beds and bowls, Buckley says.
For added visual appeal and a more spa-like vibe, switch to new, clean towels just before a showing, say Liz Larson and Jan Poulain of Perfectly Placed for You in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Don’t forget: Wipe down surfaces that people would naturally touch, such as stair banisters, hand rails and items that have inviting textures. “People love touching things. Textures change everything, as they propel people into various good spots in their memories. Candles. Shells. A leafy houseplant that says, ‘Touch me,’” says Mathieu Nakkach, CEO of Signature Stagers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Comforting smells, like baking bread or brewing coffee, can be appealing to most potential buyers. “I always recommend fresh flowers. Cider on the stove in the colder months is a nice touch,” says Travis Gray, an Annapolis, Maryland realty agent at Coldwell Banker.
But beware of strong spray scents, candles or other products. “Don’t leave plug-in air fresheners around your home. Some people are allergic to scents, and it only highlights that you have an odor problem,” says Monique Shaw, chief designer at Homes Sold Beautifully in Calgary, Alberta.
Don’t forget: Pet foods, toys, litter boxes and blankets may have distinct smells. Stow these items or take them out of the house during showings.
Though many rugs add warmth and color, consider rolling them up if they break up a room disjointedly or if they obscure attractive selling points like stunning hardwood floors or beautiful tilework. “Bathrooms, especially small ones, will look bigger without the rugs. If it’s a huge master spa bath with a coordinated rug, then it can stay if it warms up a big, cold space,” Tyler says.
Don’t forget: Store tablecloths and dish towels to accentuate a kitchen’s workspace and appliances. “Kitchens look bigger if your eye does not stop at the dishtowel on the oven, dishwasher and sink,” Tyler says.
Walk through each room and determine if the furniture arrangement contributes to a comfortable flow and use of space, or if it simply is that way because that’s how it has always been, Grindrod and Kibby advise.
Don’t forget: Too little furniture can be just as bad as too much. A tiny couch in a large family room might prompt buyers to worry they’ll never be able to furnish the whole space. If needed, repurpose pieces from spare rooms to comfortably fill out an area.
Whether it’s an invitation-only showing or a large opening for the masses, it’s important to safeguard valuables, personal information and sensitive items. Stow small items like electronics, jewelry and prescription medications, and protect financial statements and documents, recommends Pinsker-Brown.
Don’t forget: “Shut off and password-protect computers too,” Pinsker-Brown adds.
More: 10 Low-Cost Tweaks to Help Your Home Sell