When you are getting ready to sell your home, an important thing to do is successfully stage your home. We’ve created a list of 16 things you can do to increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers:

1) Clean up the exterior and manicure your landscaping.

For an immediate result, put down new mulch and add some bright perennials. If your garage door is in ill repair, it’s a good idea to either paint or replace it with a new one. Garage doors are focal points when judging a home’s exterior curb appeal, and if it’s noticeably distressed, it will turn off potential buyers.

2) Fixate on your entryway.

Spend some time by your front door; closely examine the entryway as if you were a potential buyer. This is important as your entry is where buyers will stand and wait for their REALTOR® to arrive. Updating your front door, making sure there are no visible signs of chipped paint and adding a few potted plants can go a long way.

3) Repair all minor issues.

All minor issues plaguing your house should be resolved prior to selling. If you have holes in window screens, faucets that leak, wires that are loose and not tacked down, take care of them! All of these “small” problems can wind up on a home inspection report. The smart thing to do is to repair all these things in advance as often it is inexpensive and will show potential buyers that your home is well maintained.

4) Get rid of extra “stuff”.

If you have children, make sure you remove all of their toys and paraphernalia; often times a small storage unit works best. This can be doubly efficient if you utilize the unit to store extra belongings from closets and the garage as well. When your home has too many things around it cramps the house and makes it appear smaller and lacking adequate storage space.

5) Subdue, subdue, subdue.

If your home has any “themed rooms” pack it up and paint over any of these themes. This is equally important for bright and boldly colored rooms. If your daughter has a pink princess room or if your son’s room is racecar driver’s dream, it can be less than appealing for other buyers. Often a neutral palette is more attractive to potential buyers as they can typically picture their own possessions in a room that isn’t distracting them with a theme or bold color.

6) Eliminate personal photos.

When your home is full of photos of your family it can distract potential buyers. Instead of focusing on your property they tend to look at your photos. Additionally by removing your personal photos it enables buyers to visualize their own family living in your house.

7) Clear out your fridge (Both inside and out)

A fridge that is clean and free from clutter is attractive to the eye.

8) Eliminate unnecessary furniture.

Eliminating bulky pieces, extra dining chairs, shelving or side tables will assist in creating the illusion of more space.

9) Arrange your furniture to maximize your space.

In addition to removing excess furniture, you can rearrange pieces to highlight the space. Move odd pieces that may protrude and might disrupt any natural walkways in your home. However, this doesn’t mean placing all of your furniture right up against the walls. Creating sporadic conversation areas with tables and chairs produces a warm and inviting atmosphere.

10) Clean!

Do a deep cleaning of your home to eliminate and odors or grime; paying close attention to any chrome, stainless or mirrored surfaces. If you have children or pets it’s also wise to get your carpets deep cleaned to remove any stains or odors.

11) Pay attention to under your kitchen sink.

Many potential buyers like to inspect under kitchen sinks. Be prepared for this by purchasing new shelf liner and organizing underneath your kitchen sink. Additionally, fix any leaks and repair and plumbing issues (aka garbage disposals, etc.).

12) Declutter your counters.

Many people accumulate odds and ends on their kitchen counter – appliances, containers, mail, spices, etc. When staging your home narrow it down to three to four major appliances/objects and store the rest. Less is more visually appealing when addressing counter space.

13) Create simple and easy centerpieces.

Creating a centerpiece doesn’t have to be expensive; both apples and lemons make great centerpieces that will last a few weeks. Creating seasonal centerpieces with spring flowers, summer blossoms or fall branches also work great!

14) Use scent.

Have you ever heard of real estate agents baking in a house to make it SMELL more inviting? Well, some do! Smell is important and while you may not be able to have the smell of lingering baked goods available, plugging in a scented oil warmer is a great alternative. Plug in the warmer 2-3 weeks in advance as many of these plug-ins can be overpowering initially and allowing them to sit for a few weeks gives them a chance to dissipate a bit.

15) Put a lid on it!

Make sure the lids on your toilet seats are down. Visually it looks more pleasant; especially when photographed.

16) Keep the lights on.

Get a timer for your outdoor lights so that your property looks its best when a potential buyer might drive by.