Ruthie's tips to selling your home

As I drive around through neighborhoods in our area, I've noticed lots of homes for sale.  I know that in this economy houses are not selling as fast as people would like. 
2 years ago we had our house on the market and fortunately, it sold in about 4 hours. I know that it had a lot to do with the fact that it was DECORATED. People love to walk in a home that feels inviting and finished. Even though the furnishings will not be there when they move in, it still makes them want the home because they can imagine themselves there. They will choose your home over another they have looked at in the same neighborhood because yours was memorable.
I just heard from a client today that said that their house was on the market along with several other houses on their street.  She mentioned that she is sure that their house sold before anyone elses because it was decorated beautifully. 

I always love to hear great news like that from clients!

Decorating your home is an investment and you will get that money back.  You also get to take ALL your items with you for your next house!
You can hire a professional like me to help you with your staging but to start off, here are a few tips that you can do that involves your hard work.
Create an amazing First Impressions - Think of what people see first when entering your home - When potential home buyers step into your entry they form their opinion within a few minutes whether you like it or not. You want to grab them within those few minutes and have them wanting to see the rest of the house.  Have all your blinds OPEN, overhead lights and lamps ON.  If you have a beautiful backyard or pool that can be seen from the entry, make sure it is FRONT and center.  If the first thing buyers see is the outdoors, that's awesome.  Makes them anxious to see what it looks like outside and gets them excited right away!

Adding a piece of furniture that is to scale and placing nice tall buffet lamps creates a nice ambiance in any entry.  Doesn't the above entry looks so much better and less formal and dated?

Depersonalize - remove all items that are too specific to your family. You can have a few out but take away your family gallery that most people have.   If you have something like the below picture, replace the photo's with landscape or architectural black and white photo's.   It's not just your photo's, it's also items that you collect, or anything that you think someone else may not like.  If you question it, take it away.  You can't please everyone, but you can TRY.

Take a day out to CLEAN - Seems so basic but you MUST have everything clean!  Baseboards, finger prints on doors & windows.  Go in each room and look at the back of the doors.  So many times the rooms that are used the most (bathrooms) are overlooked.  Close the door and make sure there are no dirt stains around the handles.  LOOK UP - dust all ceiling fans & blinds, remove cobwebs, dust lampshades & light fixtures. 

Fix - spend a few Saturday's fixing things.  Replace any broken blinds, loose faucets, chips in trim/baseboards, touch up paint, squeeky doors, regrout bathtubs & change out dirty shower curtains.

Eliminate clutter - You want your home to look like a MODEL home.  Do you ever visit model homes and see clutter all over the counter's?   You do not want lots of clutter everywhere.  Especially in kitchens & master bathrooms.  Eliminate items from all your counter's.  I know it will be a pain while you sell but you want everything put away.  This will make everything look clean, fresh and updated.  Go to the following link and they actually will come out and remove your clutter

Clean out closets - Take out the clothing that you won't be using over the next few months.  Move it to storage while you are selling.  Clean out kitchen cabinets and your pantry.  Only have the items you will NEED.  Buyers look in kitchen cabinets for space.  If they see that it is full and items are falling out all over the place, they will assume that there isn't enough storage. 
Remove large pieces of furniture.  Anything large (Armories) that can be removed that creates extra floor space is best to take out.  Especially in the living room and kitchens.  If you need a storage cabinet in your kitchen, remove it while you are trying to sell.  It tells the buyer that you don't have enough storage.    So many times I see GREAT big china cabinets that take up the whole room.  Taking those out makes the room looks so much more spacious and allows for the buyers to imagine their furniture in the space.

Neutralize - Repaint walls that are too loud.  Try to keep neutral colors throughout your home.  I know you may love RED but not everyone does.  If you have a rugs that is a pink floral print, then remove them and put rugs in their place that are neutral.  They don't have to be real expensive rugs, just simple and classy.  The same goes with couches and chairs.  If the print is too strong and screams "outdated" I would suggest you remove it and rent one.  Sometimes neutral throw pillows can help in these cases but if it is really grubby and dirty and outdated then you need to move it out.

Think about your curb appeal -  This is really important because it's the first thing they see when they pull up.  Make sure you don't have dead plants or flowers, kids toys, or an overgrown yard.  Again, make sure things look clean and well kept.

Have a welcoming Entrance/Entry.  Sweep before you show the house and remove all cobwebs.  We often forget to see what our guests walk up to because often times we don't enter through the front door.

Get rid of any unusual odors - Clean carpets, make sure all moldy smells are eliminated.  Use plug-ins like Vanilla flavor (everyone loves vanilla) and make sure the fragrance isn't too overpowering like you are trying to hide a bad odor.  Even if you just  make a pot of coffee before your realtor comes, that is a good smell that says "come on in and stay a while."

Add special touches to your home - Purchase big fluffy towels for each bathroom in a nice neutral color and tie ribbon around them.  Make it feel like a hotel.  Put beautiful soaps out in the bathrooms, set your dining room table with nice place mats, dishes and napkins, have soft music playing, use lots of lamps, put a tray on the master bedroom bed with a cup and saucer with magazines, stack fluffy towels on the bathtub.  These are just a few touches you can add to your home.

All these tips can be applied to your everyday living! 
Whether you are staging or wanting to make your home comfortable for your guests, think about what a hotel would have and you will be doing something right.
Good luck!