Staging/Home Improvement CheckList – Pre-Audit

Completing most of the checklist below along with the right marketing will position you to get the most money from the sale of your home. 

1. Curb Appeal – choose ideas that add elegance – 1st impressions are critical! 
  • Lawn and garden – fertilize, mow, trim, weed, water; re-sod any bare spots
  • Set a potted shrub or topiary tree with annuals on a stoop or flank the door with matching pots; fill window boxes
  • Walks, steps, driveways – clear away all items; remove weeds
  • Remove any bold decorations
  • Pet area – thoroughly pick up and organize
  • Decks, patios, and backyards – remove excess ornaments and furniture
  • Add new house numbers and a cushioned doormat
  • Polish or paint the door
  • Replace or paint the mailbox
Entryway – greet buyers with style and grace
  • Add a dramatic new lighting fixture
  • Showcase a unique piece of furniture or artwork
  • Brighten an entry with a mirror
  • Invite smiles with fresh flowers or a blooming plant
  • Add warmth and texture with an area rug
  • Kitchen – showcase the heart of the home
  • Open a colorful cookbook on a stand
  • Add a new throw rug
  • Fill a decorative serving bowl with fresh fruit
  • Add a blooming plant where it can catch the sunlight
  • Replace worn curtains with blinds or a valance
  • Paint worn or dated cabinets and add new hardware
After improving your curb appeal first and foremost, follow the checklist below:
2. Uncluttering – when in doubt, throw it out, sell it, store it or give it away! Clutter makes a house feel smaller.
  • Closets – remove and pack or store away extra items – Organize linens and group like clothing – Pack and store off-season clothing
  • Bookshelves – remove up to half of books and items; pack and organize
  • Kitchen – clear counters; put away appliances, accessories, etc. – Remove and pack extra dishes – Consolidate duplicate food items – Remove notes and magnets from the refrigerator – Organize flatware, utensil and “junk” drawers – Organize and consolidate items under the sink 
  • Bathroom Vanities, Medicine Cabinets – remove extra items; pack and organize – remove a stained or torn drawer and shelf liners
  • Living Areas – remove papers and excessive magazines from tables – remove extra furniture; arrange for openness – remove extra or unhealthy plants
  • Collections – pack and store
  • Children’s play areas – pack, store and organize toys and games
  • Tool, shop, and laundry areas – remove extra items; pack and organize
  • Garage – organize tools and gardening equipment; remove extra items
3. Cleaning – clean to sell means cleaner than ever before. And be sure every room smells as clean as it looks! Jump-start this step and give yourself some time off with a professional cleaning service.
  • Windows – clean to a sparkle
  • Walks, steps and driveways – sweep and remove stains; consider power washing
  • Siding, brick or stucco – hose off; use restoring product on vinyl and aluminum siding
  • Gutters and downspouts – hose out debris
  • Decks, patios and backyards – use a deck cleaner; hose off patios, wipe down lawn furniture, grills and pool equipment
  • Floors – remove old wax; scrub and wax to a shine; consider professional service
  • Carpet – clean; consider professional service
  • Walls – remove fingerprints, marks and cobwebs
  • Woodwork – clean and polish with a scratch cover
  • Window treatments – launder or dry clean
  • Windows, mirrors, glass cabinets – clean to a sparkle
  • Lighting Fixtures – clean and polish – wash or replace bulbs
  • Doorknob handles and pull – clean and polish
  • Closets – clean or paint interior
  • Kitchen – Clean and polish cupboards – inside and out. – Clean and deodorize vents and exhaust hoods – Clean appliances thoroughly – inside and out. – Polish and clean sinks; remove stains – Clean and deodorize garbage areas; use a garbage disposal freshener – Clean or paint flooring under sink
  • Bathrooms – Clean and polish vanities – inside and out. – Remove stains and mold from sinks, tubs and showers; clean grout – Polish mirrors and chrome to a sparkle
  • Garage, Attic – Sweep or vacuum floors and ceilings – Wipe down furnace, water heaters, washer and dryer
  • Pet areas – clean and deodorize
  • Odors – scrub all hard surfaces – Use an odor neutralizer on upholstery, carpeting and draperies
4. Repairing / Improvements
Making repairs now can save money and negotiation stress down the road. Look into a home warranty to provide protection for you and a buyer against a failure of mechanical systems. A seller-home inspection is also a proactive way to uncover any unforeseen defects so they do not come up later and inadvertently ruin a transaction.
  • Doors and windows – repair screens, glass and door hardware; lubricate hinges
  • Sidewalks, steps and driveways – repair cracks
  • Siding – repair, replace or paint as needed
  • Doorbells – make certain they are in working order
  • Plumbing – repair leaks and make all repairs
  • Mechanical systems – have inspected and certified
  • Appliances – check bulbs; replace broken parts
  • Walls and ceilings – patch cracks; paint as needed
  • Windows – replace cracked glass
  • Grout and caulking – patch or replace as needed
  • Hinges and knobs – tighten or replace as needed
  • Flooring – repair or replace as needed
  • Light fixtures – repair, replace if dated
  • Switchplates and outlet covers – replace cracked or mismatched plates 
5. Neutralizing
Create a home for any lifestyle and taste. Neutral paint, decor and carpeting help buyers mentally “move-in”, while highly personalized or dated decorating may make it difficult for a buyer to imagine their furnishings in your house. Choose warm, neutral colors.
  • Walls – remove dated wallpaper – Paint a warm, neutral color; avoid cold whites – Use the same color in rooms that flow together
  • Floors – replace worn or dated vinyl or carpeting
  • Artwork – remove distracting or bold posters and art
  • Family photos and collections – remove extensive displays
  • Garage – paint floors (grey) and walls (white) 
6. Dynamizing – build an emotional connection by helping buyers imagine daily life in your house.
Bedrooms – Convey privacy and comfort
  • Rollback a plush comforter to show layers of blankets and sheets; top with decorative pillows
  • Add curtains or valances to bare windows
  • Add artwork for elegance
  • Stack a few books on a nightstand
  • Arrange toys in children’s rooms to show a quiet place to play 
Living, family, and dining rooms – Suggest comfortable family time & entertaining
  • Drape an afghan over a chair or sofa
  • Add decorative pillows to sofas and chairs
  • Add fresh flowers to a coffee table
  • Add art pieces to a bookcase to suggest multiple uses
  • Showcase a fireplace – Place unscented candles on boughs, or pots of blooming plants on the grate – Add artwork or a mirror above the mantle – Place a basket of birch logs on the hearth
  • Dining rooms – Add a bouquet of fresh flowers – Display a serving piece or candles on the table
Bathrooms – Create a luxurious, relaxing feeling
  • Use plush new towels and rugs to soften hard surfaces
  • Tri-fold towels and hang in layers on towel bars
  • Stack guest or hand towels neatly on vanity
  • Add a new fabric shower curtain
  • Highlight tubs or vanities with colorful bath oils or salts
  • Use a new bar of unscented guest soap for showings 
Backyards, decks, and patios – suggest leisure activities
  • Arrange a grill and lawn furniture to suggest a barbeque
  • Set out lawn game
  • Group colorful pots of annuals on a deck or patio

We understand this is a very detailed list with lots of suggestions, it was set-up so that you ultimately get the most money when you sell. That said, please DO NOT let this list overwhelm you. Please just chip away at things and do the best you can. 

Thanks for reading this article, I hope you’ve learned some valuable new information! If you’re interested in learning more about the David I Hill group, or if we can help you in any way, please feel free to reach out to us!

Our Audit also looks at local trends and gives a detailed analysis of your home. 

If you’re interested in our audit we want to know that you are NOT obligated to do business with us, but, you will be a more educated seller. 

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