The promise of a "fresh start" makes spring an ideal time for buyers to hone in on a new home, and for sellers to step up their game and play Mr. and Ms. Monopoly. But before getting off to that seller's start, you need to make sure your place looks spick and span. Get your property ready to sell this spring with these professionally-endorsed seasonal staging tips.
START WITH SPRING CLEANING
Scrub your home until it's spotless -- and don't forget the windows, these may well be the most apparent part of the house, especially during daytime showings. Then, get out of the winter hibernation mode and declutter until your space is light, airy, and spacious. Don't stuff junk into closets, you want them to be neat and organized, or potential buyers will think your home doesn't have enough storage.
BUFF THE FLOORS AND WASH THE WALLS
Floors take a lot of abuse over the winter from wet boots, snow, salt, and dirt. Give your carpets a thorough cleaning, and buff worn spots on wood floors with a little polyurethane. A bucket of warm water with a few drops of mild soap and a sponge will clean off most wall marks; eliminate the tough ones with an eraser-style cleaning pad, which are available in most convenience stores.
SWAP DARK AND DREARY FOR BRIGHT AND CHEERY
Put away your snug winter blankets, throws, and dark-colored accessories, and bring in the spring with bright shawl throws, Plants-printed pillows and bright cloths for dark wood tables. We also recommend inexpensive staging items like towels and washcloths, throw pillows, candles and table settings in lavender, yellow, sage green and pale blue colors - as these brighten up a room and make it look fresher, increasing any area's appeal.
AC-SCENT WITH SPRING-LIKE AROMAS
Traditional real estate advice says to bake some cookies or spritz spiced scents around the house for a "homey" smell. In spring, try a scent that evokes fresh and clean feelings. Think cotton, sand and beach-scented candles or aromatherapy diffusers. Many establishments and even malls apply this nasal trick to connect with their clients, appealing to their senses with some aggressive detail. Don't overdo it though, or else you risk the chance that the trick backfires.
CLEAR OFF THE COUNTERS
You like the convenience of the toaster, mixer, spices and coffeemaker on the counter, but to a buyer, it just looks cluttered. If you have room in your cupboard, stash counter items in them; otherwise, set aside them inside a large box (one that you can take with you during showings) and decorate the counter simply with a bowl of fresh seasonal fruit. This trick keeps the counters clutter-free and leaves more room for prospective buyer's imagination.
DONT' FORGET THE FRONT DOOR
You may go in and out through the garage, but buyers will enter your home through the front door. Take down the circular wreath since it reminds buyers of the holidays and implies you're not on top of things. Instead, hang a spring-themed welcome sign and put down a cheery welcome mat and an umbrella stand for those April showers.
... OR THE BACK DOOR
Especially in the spring, when many backyards are still sporting bare branches and spotty grass, you want to give buyers the same cheery feeling when exiting your home as when they entered. Put containers of potted bulbs on a deck table or the back steps to add color to spaces that haven't fully grown in, a flower bulb and gardening expert.