Staging a home for sale, or even sprucing one up that’s not on the market, doesn’t mean money has to be spent.

 In Part I of this series, here are FIVE things that can be done at no cost:

  1. Curb Appeal Enhancement – first impressions are critical, and curb appeal, or lack thereof, is the key. Mow the lawn, weed, rake, trim edges and overgrown bushes and trees, clean windows, hose down (or power wash) the exterior, entry way area and walkways, remove cobwebs, clean the gutters, store garbage cans neatly, and remove children’s toys and bikes.
  2. Declutter – most people have too much “stuff”.  Whether you are moving or not, divide things into four piles: Keep, Discard, Donate and Store.  If you are selling, now is the time to begin packing because you will need to do it anyway. Also, this is the time to pack away family photos, artwork and trophies – buyers can’t imagine themselves living there when it seems like somebody else lives there! Do one room at a time if it feels overwhelming, and don’t forget closets, kitchen cabinets, garage, basement, shed and attic.
  3. Clean, clean, clean – no one wants to walk into a dirty home, not a buyer nor neighbors or family. Especially if the home is on the market, clean everywhere, not just the surfaces – windowsills, behind the toilet and sink, moldings, bookshelves. Bathrooms and kitchens are particularly important. 
  4. Lighten and Brighten – beginning with cleaning the windows, do all you can to let in as much natural light as possible.  Trim overgrown bushes and trees that are blocking the windows. If the home is for sale, one trick is to remove the screens.  Replace all burned out bulbs, and swap out lower wattage ones for higher wattage ones (of course, using compact fluorescent lighting where possible).
  5. Eliminate odors –  just as no one wants to walk into a dirty home, no one wants to walk into a smelly one either.  Asking a good friend to come over for a smell test is a good idea since our noses get used to odors.  Cleaning is a good start to eliminating odors, but if the home is for sale, refrain from smoking, minimize cooking and bring pets and their belongings to a friend or a kennel during showings. 

Stay tuned for FIVE more no cost ways to improve your home for sale.