There is a big difference between decorating your home and staging your home to sell.
To start, stand at the street in front of your house and look. What do you see? Is your home inviting? Is the landscaping fresh and well groomed? Is there maintenance that needs to be done? I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at a house where the gutters were so crammed with dirt and leaves that plants were growing up out of them! This is definitely time to get your gutters cleaned!
As far as the shrubbery, the best age for shrubs and plants in landscaping is 2-3 years. Anything older starts looking bedraggled, so add some younger plants in front of older ones to give a tiered or layered effect. Lantana and Mexican Heather are good for this for this.
Keep the yard well trimmed and the hedges cut and manicured. The front of the house should invite you to come inside. Update the exterior paint if necessary. Neutral colors are really “in” right now like grey, black and brown. Pay attention to the neighbors around you and try to blend in. Don’t put bright yellow paint on a house where all the neighbors have grey and brown.
Once inside the house pay attention to smells and do not use heavy perfumed candles, potpourri or deodorizers. Febreze New linen is good and helps the air in your house smell like “nothing at all”, which is what you want. Pet bowls and cat boxes should be put away. Send the pets elsewhere during showings if possible.
De-clutter!!! There should be nothing out anywhere smaller than a cantelope. Too many small items confuse the eye and cause potential buyers to get distracted. Put away family photos unless they are 8×10 or larger in size AND hang ONLY in the master bedroom. Make sure for your children’s safety to keep names and any identifiable photos away from view.
Closets should have everything picked up off the floor and the shelves organized. Take out any non-clothing items from bedroom closets. Arrange clothing by color to make closets look bigger. I usually recommend getting rid of any wire hangers and stick to all one color plastic or wooden hangers. Space the hangers two finger widths apart and reduce the amount hanging to only those things you will be wearing in the next two weeks. Everything else should be boxed away. Do not have more than twelve pairs of shoes in the closet.
It is OK to allocate one side of the garage to boxes and extra furnishings. There is usually no need to rent a storage facility. Buyers understand you are moving. Boxes and things in the garage are expected.