Right up there with kitchens in terms of important rooms in the home for buyers are bathrooms. Every do-it-yourself magazine or television show, and every realtor I have spoken with confirms that kitchens and baths will help most in determining resale value.

A clean countertop is important

Clean and bright with up-to-date fixtures are the keys to staging a bathroom. Add luxurious and you’ll get an even better reaction form potential buyers. So…

  • If your bathroom fixtures (handles, spigots, etc.) are outdated, replace them with sleek and modern fixtures, but stay away from anything trendy.
  • You’ll want to have some high-quality plush towels on the towel rack. And they should be color-coordinated with the wall paint and rugs as well as any decorator items you have in there. 
  • Fresh flower arrangements are a must. They look and smell marvelous here.
  • Make sure the bathrooms look as if they belong in a model home. Any signs of use will be a big negative. Get the soap scum out of the shower and off the counter tops. Make sure the fixtures are freshly shined.
  • Shower doors need to be spotless. You can take them outside for cleaning with muriatic acid and water (1/10) if need be. Use a little steel wool and elbow grease and you’ll be good to go. 
  • Are the sinks in good shape? If not consider replacing them along with up to date fixtures. It will be money well spent.

It all boils down to this. If the bathrooms and kitchen are first rate, realtors will make a big deal of it. You’ll be half way to a sale already.

Kitchens have a lot to do with resale value because people spend a lot of time in their kitchens. Properly staged, the kitchen will help them see themselves in the home and that will help increase the likelihood of a sale, the whole point of home staging in the first place.

Here are some ways to stage your home’s kitchen in order to get the maximum positive reaction from buyers.

  • Kitchens are notorious for being full of clutter. When you stage this area of your home be ruthless about removing unnecessary items. Countertop appliances, utensils, the coffee pot, should all be put away, out of sight, as shown here.
  • Pay particular attention to cleaning the sink, counters, stove, etc. Everything needs to be extra special clean and sparkling.
  • Lights should be on and the curtains open to showcase the sparkle. If you have dark areas in the kitchen, consider adding some lighting there.
  • If you’re in a buyer’s market, it might be worth thinking about upgrading your cabinets, even the counters. With a budget in mind, an inexpensive way to make the cabinets stand out is to invest in some new hardware, or install hardware if it isn’t already there. You’ll be amazed at what a few knobs or handles can do.
  • If it doesn’t make sense to pour extra money into cabinetry, try staining or painting the cabinets. You’ll get a big improvement at a fraction of the cost. 
  • Changing out your kitchen faucets, lights and other fixtures is another relatively inexpensive way to update the entire space.
  • Don’t forget the effect of a fresh coat of paint. And the comments about painting the living/family rooms apply here as well. Also, if the kitchen is connected to the living/family room, use either the same color paint — or one shade lighter or darker. This will make the eye flow from one room to the next, making the entire place seem more spacious.
  • Finally, if you have an eat-in kitchen make sure buyers can envision that feature. Show it to them by setting a small table there complete with flatware, glassware, and every day dishes. A single silk flower in a small vase would be a nice touch too. 

As people spend a lot of time in their kitchens, devoting some extra time and/or money in staging the kitchen is a real good idea. Realtors will confirm that kitchens sell homes more than any other room in the house.

curb appeal - clean and tidy

A wonderfully simple, appealing curbside view

The home’s exterior is an equally important (but often overlooked) home staging priority.

Curb appeal is when potential buyers pull up to the curb in front of your home and see it for the first time. First impressions are lasting, and if buyers have a frown on their face as they leave their cars and walk to your front door, you have problems.

Here are some tips to stage the exterior for maximum curb appeal.

  • Go out to the curb in front of your house with a notepad and pen. Jot down anything that “leaps” out at you.
  • And here’s an idea. Get a friend to do the same thing. Others may see things you’ll miss for one reason or another. Then combine the lists and you’re off and running.
  • How does the paint look? How about the front door and shutters? Make sure everything looks as if it was recently done.
  • A mowed and trimmed lawn and garden beds are a must. Depending on where you live you may have to mow and trim every few days to keep things looking first rate. 
  • Mulch your garden beds and trim flowers and shrubs. Mulch is inexpensive and easily available.
  • Use potted plants to brighten up the entrance area. There is evidence that yellow should be the color of choice. Look at the picture here and notice the effect of the yellow flowers among the red. Psychologists suggest yellow makes people comfortable and at ease. Take advantage of it. And potted plants can be moved around to create different effects.
  • This next item falls into the “I don’t want to…” category for many people, but it is really a must-do. Make sure there are no weeds in the garden, and look several times a week because those pesky weeds can sprout overnight. Oh, and keep looking right up until the house sale closes.
  • In the fall, be sure to rake leaves from your lawn and also from flower beds. Do this every couple of days, or as needed to keep the lawn free of leaves. Trim bushes and trees as needed to give a tidy appearance. In particular, make sure they are not blocking windows or doors.
  • Make sure windows are spotless, and this means inside and out. Be sure the window frames and shutters are thoroughly cleaned as well. This adds a lot to your overall curb appeal.
  • If you have a porch with railings, make sure they’re clean.
  • Is the porch large enough for furniture? Does it look inviting as a place to sit and relax? If so, give careful consideration to putting some comfortable furniture there if you haven’t done so already.

Remember, the outside of your home is the first impression. Make it count!