Decluttering your house is important because if buyers see that you don’t have enough room for your own things, they may equate that to mean they won’t have enough room for their own things if they buy your house. Rent a storage space for a couple of months if you have to, the effect it will have on the sale of your home will be well worth the cost and effort. You’re going to have to pack things up to move anyway, so why not start packing the least used items before marketing your house? It will make your garage and closets look more spacious and organized. Have a garage sale if you want to make a little extra money. What’s left over should be thrown out or donated (save on taxes the following year!).
Cleaning your house is at least equally as important as decluttering it because buyers may equate a dirty house with one that has also not been well maintained and may need certain things repaired or replaced. In some buyers eyes a clean house is a well-maintained house that is not likely to require additional money out of their pocket any time soon. Try to spend at least 25% more time than you normally would just to keep your house in “showing condition”. Although I don’t typically recommend the following alternative, if you find this task too daunting, at least require a 2+ hour “heads up” before allowing your house to be shown. The more difficult you make it for agents to show your house (especially when inventory of similar homes is high), the less your home is likely to be shown, so avoid putting obstacles in the way of it being shown at a moment’s notice.
Staging your house is something that is worth the effort if you want buyers to have a lasting and good impression of your property. Although professional staging services have sprung up in recent years, the main idea to keep in mind is to have your home looking as much as possible like a “builder’s model”. Placement of furniture is important, but so is the general look throughout the home. Fresh flowers and setting the table with your best dishware and flatware (as though you’re expecting company) helps. Above all, avoid having unpleasant odors anywhere in your house, but if you must use a deodorizer please remember to go lightly with it as some people are allergic to strong scents.