To help show off a kitchen to potential buyers, clean and declutter the countertops and add a vase of fresh flowers to make the space feel welcoming.

To help show off a kitchen to potential buyers, clean and declutter the countertops and add a vase of fresh flowers to make the space feel welcoming.

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Set the stage to sell your home

Realtors share tips to get your home ready for sale

By: Terry Oparka | C&G Newspapers | Published October 17, 2018

 Sellers should put away personal items and perform a thorough cleaning of their home before putting it on the market.

Sellers should put away personal items and perform a thorough cleaning of their home before putting it on the market.

Shutterstock image

METRO DETROIT — Ditch that dish rack and put away the family photos before you show your home to sell, a number of local experts agree.

“Staging is important if the space or layout is unusual,” said Linda Solomon, a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services HWWB Realtors. “It’s hard to imagine what rooms are what.”

That said — visually, the less you have, the better, Solomon said.

“Clear off the kitchen counter. Make it look clean and minimal. Nobody wants a cluttered look. And empty the garbage,” she said.

“A good impression starts at the curb. Do your best to make it (your home) look inviting,” she added.

Dana Shook, a Realtor for Real Living/Kee Realty, advises home sellers to put picture frames, wall banners and personal belongings away or in a storage unit. “You want the buyer to envision their decorations in the home.”

She said she tells sellers to give each family member a storage bin.

“And fill that bin. They’re (buyers) going to try to envision their own style. Less is more,” she said.

Also, consider the lighting.

“Open curtains for lots of light. Make sure you have new lightbulbs. You want things to look bright, fresh and clean when showing a home,” Shook said.

“People really look at the kitchen. The kitchen is the network of the whole home,” she explained. “Put away the coffee pot and everything on the countertop. The mixer can go into a drawer. Clean the countertops. You want to see the countertop space.”

Shook recommends placing fresh-cut flowers in a vase in the middle of your kitchen island.

“It adds so much,” she said.

She said to consider putting out bottles of water, candies, mints and/or fresh-baked cookies for potential buyers to enjoy, and that will make them feel welcome.

Interior decorator and certified home stager Corie Conroy, president of First Impression Home Staging & Interior Design, said to declutter your home so it’s not a distraction to buyers.

“Take out the kids’ toys. No family photos. You want them to picture themselves living in the house. Put any pets in day care. Clean and clean some more,” Conroy said.

She advises sellers to eliminate any cooking or animal odors.

“Old carpet and padding absorbs odors. Replace or clean it properly,” she said.

Paint walls neutral, on-trend colors to bring light into the home, she added. Conroy said that many buyers don’t have a lot of money to invest in painting right away.

She said to pay attention to the scale of the furniture to the room and the way it’s arranged, with the aim to create an easy traffic pattern.

Clear out cobwebs and do other fall cleanup so the home has curb appeal, Conroy advised. She added that some believe buyers form their impression of a home within six minutes of walking up to the front door.

Julie Pawlak, a Realtor for Keller Williams Realty, said that in the current real estate market, buyers are more particular.

“They want turn-key homes,” she said.

She said sellers should consider installing new flooring and painting walls using a neutral palette.

“Nobody wants to come in and do the work,” Pawlak said.

She said that mistakes she’s seen sellers make are not taking their Realtor’s suggestions and starting with an asking price that’s too high “when they don’t have things done.”

“Make sure the home is neat and clean, if it’s not updated,” she said. “It needs a good, deep cleaning before you put it on the market. You want them to open the door and think, ‘It smells so nice — not like animals or smoke.’”