Before you put your home on the market in Norfolk, make sure your house is buyer-ready. Look at your home with a critical eye. Prospective buyers want to be able to envision themselves in your space, but if your home is dirty or cluttered, they won't want to live there. That is why staging a house is so important, and you can stage your home in a few easy steps.

Clean and De-Clutter

First, start with a bare canvas. In other words, remove all personal possessions, especially photos of you and your family. Personal photos make it harder for buyers to see themselves in your space.

Then, once the clutter is out of the way, give your home a good deep-clean. Sweep and mop the floors. Shampoo the carpets. Clean windows, mirrors, and stainless steel appliances until they sparkle.

Put fresh towels in the bathrooms and change the sheets on the beds. Make sure there are no dirty dishes in the kitchen sink or dirty towels on the bathroom floors.

Put away cosmetics and toiletries, too. If counters are free of clutter, prospective buyers are better able to imagine their own belongings there.

Remember to look down at the floors. If area rugs are worn or stained, invest in new ones, especially if you have pets and they've left their scent on the floor coverings.

Then walk around the living room. According to Trulia, the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom are the three spaces most important to prospective buyers. If it's difficult to walk through a space or if it feels cramped, move a chair or an ottoman into another room. 

Maximize Curb Appeal

Once the inside is fresh and clean, check your home's curb appeal. Does the landscaping need trimming? Is the grass mowed? Make sure the garden hose is out of sight along with the children's bicycles.

Norfolk is home to a large navy base, so consider hanging an American flag outside. It's a small touch that could make potential buyers want to look inside. If the house has a garage, clean and de-clutter it, too. Put tools in their proper places and hang brooms, mops, and snow shovels on the garage wall.

Make sure trash receptacles are hidden and not overflowing with smelly garbage.

Decorate and Illuminate

Last but not least, consider adding a few extra touches. U.S. Census data indicates a quarter of Norfolk's population is college-educated, so put a few books on the coffee table in the living room or on the night stands by the beds.

Open curtains and blinds and turn on table lamps so that spaces look light and bright. Place fresh flowers on the kitchen table and plug an electric air freshener into the socket near where the pet sleeps. Be sure to put pets in their kennels before buyers arrive, and make sure cat litter boxes are clean and out of sight.

Staging a home takes a bit of time, but research proves it's well worth the effort.

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