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Selling a home for top dollar doesn’t happen by chance. Instead of hoping that the perfect buyer knocks on the door, it's important to present a clean, neutral, and inviting space in which the buyer can imagine spending time. Although the prospect of staging your home may seem time-consuming, the effort spent is often worth it; staged homes often end up getting a higher offer, as much as five percent higher, nearly 32 percent of the time. With a little work and by following these tips for cleaning and staging your property, you may find that your return on investment is higher than anticipated.

Cleaning Your Home

Aside from the obvious staging that must occur, homeowners also need to perform old-fashioned cleaning to make the surfaces shimmer. The floors need to gleam, the windows need to dazzle, and all dust and grime needs to be banished. Many homeowners have carpets, windows, and yards professionally cleaned. In fact, hiring a team of expert cleaners is one way to get the job of deep cleaning done right.

Indoor Staging Tips

After the deep cleaning, it’s time to quell the clutter inside the home. Think of this as the first round of packing for a move, because you will be packing away many of your knick-knacks and personal items from the main areas of your home. In every room, concentrate on depersonalizing the house by removing all of the memorabilia and special decor that a family tends to accumulate. The purpose of decluttering is to enable prospective buyers to enter the home and imagine themselves owning the house, so the absence of personal items in the rooms will make this easier for buyers. These tips for specific rooms may also help your home shine:

Living Room

  • Scale down the number of frames on walls and surfaces, especially frames containing family photos or artwork.
  • If the color of the room is unusual, opt for a fresh, neutral coat of paint or new wallpaper.
  • Use mirrors and smaller armchairs and furniture to add depth to the room and make it appear larger.
  • Let the sunlight in through your windows, but be careful to update any older window treatments. If the room is not well lit, use lamps to illuminate dark corners instead.
  • Add a splash of greenery from plants to liven up the area.


  • Clean the surfaces of all of your appliances. If some are outdated, consider upgrading them, as the ROI for large appliances can be high.
  • Organize the contents of your fridge, cabinets, and drawers. (Buyers will certainly open them!)
  • Place flowers, fruit, or a seasonal centerpiece on the countertop.
  • If you have time, consider baking cookies or sweets. Few things say "welcome home" like the smell of fresh baked goods!


  • Remove any prescriptions, toiletries, or personal items from cabinets.
  • Consider replacing worn rugs and bath mats with newer ones that match the color scheme of the room.
  • Give the room a fresh coat of paint or replace outdated or peeling wallpaper.
  • Buy new towels for your cabinets or place towels on towel holders.
  • Add bath products, candles, or small plants or flowers for a final touch.


  • Organize the remaining items in your dressers and closets.
  • Purchase crisp new bed linens and matching pillows to give the neutral, inviting look of a hotel bed.
  • If the color scheme of the room seems too bold or outdated, repaint the walls, change out older lamps, or remove patterned window treatments as needed.
  • Remove any furniture aside from the bed, dresser, and bedside tables to make the space seem as open and relaxing as possible.
  • A few decorative items, such as tasteful paintings, throw pillows, or a live potted plant, can go a long way in adding visual interest.

Outdoor Staging Tips

The outside of a residence is a buyer’s first glimpse of the property, so it’s wise to make this first impression positive with a beautiful, neat, and uncluttered front yard. As with the interior of the home, it's important to declutter and clean the front of your property. Consider pressure-washing the walkway, walls, and driveway, and clean the front windows thoroughly. Once the exterior is clean, these staging tips can help add an appealing touch:

Yard and Plants

  • Trim the lawn, trees, and shrubbery to give the appearance of a well-maintained property. Re-seed if necessary, and use fertilizer and weed control to care for any brown patches.
  • If your home's exterior looks bare, plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery for a splash of color, and put down fresh mulch and decorative edging to keep the area neat.

Front Porch

  • Make your front porch inviting by adding porch furniture such as a swing or a bench, allowing buyers to imagine spending time relaxing there.
  • Repaint the front porch and doorway if needed, and place a colorful doormat as well as one or two potted plants beside the door to add a welcoming touch to the area.
  • Keep lighting in mind, especially if you plan to show your property in the evening or during the winter months. Replace old light bulbs and put lights on timers to encourage buyers into the home during darker evenings.

For help selling your home, contact John Arquette Properties today!