Home Staging Victoria BC

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17 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your House

Originally published by Ryan Smith on Redfin

Selling your house can be both exciting and stressful, especially if it’s your first time. Regardless
of why you decided to sell your home, there are a number of pitfalls you can easily fall into,
making your home selling experience less than ideal. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the
most common home selling mistakes people make so you can sell your home knowing you
have your bases covered. 

1. Underestimating the cost of selling your house
While you should ultimately profit from the sale of your home, many home sellers forget about
the costs associated with selling a house. For starters, you should expect to use five to six
percent of the total sale price of your home to cover the commissions of both the seller and
buyer agents. For example, if you sell your home for $300,000 you could wind up paying
upwards of $18,000 in commission. 
Furthermore, this hefty cost doesn’t include possible concessions homebuyers might want you
to make during the negotiation phase, such as making repairs suggested by a home inspector.

2. Not budgeting for your move
When you consider the moving process, you have two options: hiring a moving company or
borrow your buddy’s truck and doing it yourself. 
By hiring a moving company, rather than doing it yourself, you’re getting someone who will
pack, move, and then unpack your belongings. This means that a full-service mover can be well
worth the investment when you’re preoccupied with all of the other tasks associated with selling
your home. Not to mention, when you hire movers your belongings are insured so you’re
covered if anything breaks.

3. Selling a house you owe more on than what it’s worth
If you still have a remaining balance on your mortgage, you’ll most likely use a portion of the
sale proceeds of your home to pay off the existing mortgage. Make sure you don’t owe more on
your mortgage than what your house is actually worth or you won’t make enough money on the
sale to pay off your mortgage. The best option is almost always to wait on selling your home so
that it can build more equity. This way you can sell your home and buy a new one without
having two mortgages at the same time.

4. Pricing your home incorrectly
If you price your home too high, your home may fall into the seller’s limbo, sitting on the market for
what feels like an eternity. On the other hand, if you price too low then you will likely sell your
home quickly but you risk missing out on a significant amount of money. 

The first step to understanding how much your home is worth is utilizing an online calculator.
Afterward, meet with your real estate agent to discuss a good pricing strategy for your home.
They will look at other comparable properties in your neighborhood that sold recently as well as
bring keen insights into what the housing market is currently doing. Together, you’ll determine a
good starting price as well as a pricing strategy that will incentivize buyers if your house begins
to sit on the market for too long.

5. Skipping a pre-listing home inspection
Selling a house is stressful enough, even when everything goes right. But if a homebuyer hires
an inspector who catches an issue like mold, pests, or a cracked foundation, then your stress
levels will multiply as you risk losing a potential sale entirely.
Given the affordability of home inspections, there’s not much reason to avoid them. Getting a
pre-listing home inspection will put your mind at ease as you’ll either know that your home is in
sound condition or you’ll be able to tackle problems before homebuyers have the chance to
bring them up during the negotiation phase. If an issue does arise, you can either fix it or you
can let buyers know and then make a concession during the negotiation phase by reducing the
price of your home accordingly. 

6. Not refinishing hardwood floors or cleaning your carpet
If you’re reading this at home, look down. How do your floors look? Even if they don’t look
terrible, there’s a pretty good chance they’re starting to show their age. Since potential buyers
are going to be inspecting every aspect of your home, you should start thinking of refinishing
your hardwood floors and cleaning your carpet.
The best time to have your carpet cleaned or hardwood floors refinished is right before you
stage your home. Since you’ll already be moving most (or all) of your furniture to either a new
home or a storage unit, this is a great time to get your floors done and make them a selling point
to potential homebuyers.

7. Not staging your home for a quick sale
The main point of staging your home is to allow potential homebuyers the chance to picture
themselves living in your space. They get to see a home with furniture and art that’s arranged in
a way that highlights key features of your home, rather than an empty house that echoes every
sound. Staging your home pays off too as 21 percent of agents told the National Association of
Realtors that staging a home increased its’ sale price by as much as 10 percent, making it a
worthwhile investment. 

8. Forgoing professional real estate photos
With the advent of cameras on smartphones, everyone likes to think of themselves as a
photographer these days. Even though that picture you took of your dinner last week looked like
it could be featured in advertisements, you’re still probably not ready to take your own real
estate photos. A real estate photographer will make sure that your home looks great when you
list it because not only do they have the equipment, they understand the angles that best sell a
home. 

If you have a large home, a stunning view you want to show off, or a large amount of land, you
may also want to consider having aerial photos taken of your home. The views that drones are
able to capture are impressive and can help show off your home in a way that will make sure it
stands out from other houses in your area that are on the market. Even better, drone technology
makes this option more affordable than ever before, allowing you to get a lot more bang for your
buck.

9. Trying to sell a poorly lit home
You want to show your home in the best light, so take the time to really gauge the quality of your
lighting by closing your curtains/blinds and looking at each room as though you’re a potential
homebuyer. Make a note of any rooms that are poorly lit or just seem dark and then call an
electrician so that you can have some additional lighting installed. 
Even worse than a poorly lit room, however, is when the lights don’t work at all. Sometimes the
light bulb is just burnt out, while other times the socket itself is in need of repair. Consider calling
an electrician before you begin showing your home to make sure it’s shining its brightest.
Potential buyers (and your bank account) will thank you for the investment.

10. Not making your home energy efficient
If you’d like to spend less on your utility bills, you aren’t alone. A study by the National
Association of Realtors found that 33 percent of homebuyers see high-efficiency HVAC systems
as an important factor when looking at a new home. If you have an older home, you should look
into either retrofitting or replacing your HVAC unit altogether as your current system might be
using a lot more energy than it needs to be. This will ensure that you have a system that is
meeting your home’s needs, while also lowering your utility bill.
If you’re committed to energy-efficiency then there are a few extra things you can do. These
options include making sure your home is properly insulated, ensuring that you don’t have any
leaky air ducts, and buying a smart thermostat. Whichever route you pursue, having an energy-
efficient HVAC system will make your house stand out from the competition. 

11. Not cleaning your house before trying to sell it
Most of us would probably be lying if we said our homes weren’t overdue for a good cleaning,
so don’t forget to check this box before listing your home for sale. There’s nothing more off-
putting during a home tour than realizing the house is dirty, and potential homebuyers may
wonder what else you’ve been neglecting. By hiring a professional cleaning company, you’ll
guarantee that not only is your home spotless but that you’re going to make a great impression
on homebuyers when they tour your house. 

12. Not addressing the exterior of your house
Over the years, your home’s exterior has taken a beating from the elements. With everything
mother nature throws at it every year, the paint on your home’s exterior and the stain on your
deck have likely lost a bit of their luster. So before listing, be sure to pressure wash your house first.

In addition to making sure your house looks its best in the listing photos, you will also
enhance the overall curb appeal when buyers eventually show up for a tour. 
In addition to pressure washing your house and deck, you can also take the time to pressure
wash your garage door, fence, patio, driveway, and any walkways you may have. 

13. You never got around to repainting
One of the first things a potential buyer will notice when they pull up to your home is the paint. If
you want to make a good first impression, then you’ll need to ensure that your home is painted
an inviting color and that the quality of your paint job is top-notch. While the job of repainting
your house might take a few days, the value of painting your house before selling will be well
worth the effort.  A recent study found that painting the exterior of your home has a 51 percent
return on investment. 
Don’t stop with the exterior though! We’ve all seen some pretty questionable color choices on
the walls of homes. If you happen to have lime green or bright purple wall, you’ll want to
repaint them to be a more buyer-friendly neutral color. Doing so will make it easier for buyers to
be able to picture themselves living in your home as it makes them think of your walls as a blank
canvas.

14. Selling a home with a yard in need of some TLC
The other way to make a great first impression is by wowing potential buyers with your yard.
Start by cleaning up anything that may be cluttering your yard, porch, or pathways (things like
gardening equipment or a child’s bicycle). Then you can move onto mowing the lawn, weeding
your garden, and planting some new flowers. If your yard has a damaged pathway, you may
also want to think about fixing or even replacing it as well. 
If these touch-ups seem like a lot to tackle while you’re trying to sell your home, don’t be afraid
to hire a landscaper as the cost is well worth it. A study by Turf Magazine found that a home’s
value tended to increase by as much as 10 to 12 percent after making upgrades to the
landscaping.

15. You have mismatched appliances
Maybe your black stove died a couple of years ago and you replaced it with a brand new
stainless steel one. Or maybe you swapped out that white kitchen faucet you always hated with
a copper one that caught your eye. Either way, the result is mismatched appliances. While it
won’t necessarily impact the overall sale price of your home, many homebuyers are going to
find the mismatched color scheme off-putting, so consider making some changes before you
sell. 
The best way to proceed is to decide which kitchen appliances are your favorite and base the
color scheme off of them. So if that fancy new stove you bought last year is stainless steel, then
make sure your other appliances are too. Luckily, many appliance manufacturers offer discounts
if you purchase multiple appliances with them at once.

16. Lingering during a home tour
Nobody likes a lingerer, especially when they also happen to be the owner of the home you’re
currently touring. If you don’t leave the home during a showing, then potential buyers feel
awkward as they attempt to discuss what they like and dislike about the house. You also
prevent your listing agent from being able to do their job to the best of their abilities as you’re
naturally going to want to answer any questions the buyers have rather than leaving those
questions to your agent. So instead of staying in your home during a showing, try taking the
opportunity to go shopping, run errands, or visit some friends instead. Your agent will thank you.

17. Taking a Lowball Offer Personally
Regardless of your reasons for moving, the fact that you’ve probably lived in your home for
years means that you have a lot of strong feelings attached to it. So when you receive a lowball
offer, it’s natural to be offended. 
Instead of walking away, send them back a counteroffer that you and your real estate agent
think is fair. If they really are interested, then you’ll be glad you didn’t let your emotions get the
better of you.

 

 

 


2020 Decor Trends

1. Colour-Pop Kitchens.
If you are tired of all-white kitchens, you are not alone. It looks like the era of them, which started in 2010, is coming to an end. The trend in 2020 is to choose one or several elements, like the kitchen island, kitchen wall cabinets, or base cabinets in daring colors, like dark red, bright yellow, green or navy blue.
 
2. More is More.
Scandi style that has been gathering fans for many years, is taking a back seat. In 2020 we are going to see the return of an over-decorated look, going all-out with layers of fabric, colourful artwork, and mixing patterns and prints. More rugs, more pillows, more everything. Go ahead and go crazy – maximalism is back!
 
3. Olive Trees.
If 2019 was the year of the dramatic fiddle leaf fig, 2020 will be the year of the much subtler olive tree. Instead of blooming bright green, these trees are a more sophisticated sage. Although this ancient species is typically an outdoor plant, they are becoming a popular choice for indoor gardeners, especially in modern country homes. With its delicate, soft green leaves and thin grey branches, an olive tree will make an elegant statement.
 
4. Florals
The thought of flower-power wallpaper make many people flinch, but 2020 might be the year they want to revisit florals with a new approach. Floral wallpaper has been around for years but this year it is becoming much more modern. Larger scale, bolder colours, metallics – all are a particularly good choice in bathrooms and foyers.
 
5. Pantone 2020: Classic Blue.
The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year is Classic Blue (a navy shade), which means you can expect to see a lot of the color in the new year. It’s very versatile and sophisticated. “Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era,” says Pantone. This colour is intended to inspire a clear, peaceful mind.

 


Prevent Holiday Stress with Houseplants

We hear and say “Happy Holidays!” in December many times a day, but we all know that for many of us this time of the year is very stressful. And if you have your home for sale at the same time, it only adds more stress to your plate. There are a lot of recommendations one can find online about how to reduce stress and make the holidays a happy and joyful time of receiving and expressing love, spending quality time with kids and spouses, being outdoors, while minimizing consumption and the rat race of gift shopping.
These’s one more tip I would like to offer : get a little help from houseplants. I can never say enough about how important it is to incorporate plants in your decor when you have your home on the market. Here’s why:
  • they clean the air, add negative ions, and make your spaces feel happy
  • they bring the outdoors inside, so it doesn’t matter if the weather is gloomy, your home can be still be in bloom
  • they fill empty corners to create a balanced look, give a sense of scale, and can function as focal points
  • they make the space look cozy, inviting, and colourful
  • they can minimize imperfections and draw attention to the important features of your home
And this is how houseplants can help you to deal with the stress of the holidays and keeping your house showings-ready:
  • You can meditate while looking at the plants and noticing their shapes, textures, and colours, and inhale their aroma if you have planted herbs
  • Speaking of the colours, green is the colour of the heart chakra, so by focusing on it you can feel more gratitude, love, and appreciation for everything you have in your life: your loved ones, your home, your opportunities, your gifts. Just like your plants – they show appreciation of your care by growing and blooming.
  • Taking care of plants will remind you to take care of yourself. What will be the activities you can do to mimic watering, dusting, trimming, getting plenty of sunlight, etc?
  • Accept imperfections. Nothing is perfect, including the space you live in. But you do love it, and you can feel positive that somebody else will love it as their new home. It may take some time, but learn patience from your plants, as they grow beautifully without being perfect.
Happy staging and decorating!

 


“Do I Have to Stage My Closets Too???”

When I do a staging consultations for my clients, I sometimes see the following situation: when sellers start to declutter their homes, they take piles of their stuff lying around on the surfaces and jam them in the closets. That way they think that the decluttering problem has been solved and the house or the condo will show well.
However, I always explain that this is not the case! During the showings, 99.9% of the time the buyers will open closets, cupboards, crawl spaces, etc, just to see if their stuff will fit there. And these days, as we all know, everyone has a lot of stuff.
Here is a trick about storage spaces. When they are full, they look smaller than they are, and when they have breathing room, even small closets look decently spacious.
So, what to do? Start preparing for the move. It will benefit your home during showings and you will be well on your way to be ready to move into your new home because a lot of your stuff will be packed up. Collect everything you do not need on a daily basis, or can live without, etc. Seasonal items are a good example. It also a good time to take a closer look and make a decision on what you actually do not want to take to your new place. It’s easier to get rid of it now (sell, donate, throw out) than unpack in your new home and realize: why on earth did I pack and take it with me?
 
A few more tips for preparing your closets for showings:
  1. Remove everything from the floor, including shoes. If you have a shoe rack, only keep the shoes you wear often.
  2. Get decorative baskets or boxes (not see-through) for the shelves and keep all the “loose” items inside. This way you will have an easy access but the look will be tidy and organized.
  3. Invest in good quality hangers (wooden are the best) and keep the consistent look in all closets. No wire dry cleaner’s hangers please! Make sure there is a lot of room to hang more clothes. The rule of thumb: keep them at least 1/3 empty.
  4. Keep the closets clean and take care of the walls inside just as you will for the outside. Clean the scuffs with a Magic Eraser, or paint if necessary.
  5. Adequate lighting is important. Use bulbs with maximum wattage, clean light fixtures and make sure they are not obstructed by bins and totes.
  6. Keep in mind the function of every closet. If the buyers see pots and pans in your linen closet, they will think there is not enough room in the kitchen cupboards.

Happy Staging and Decorating!

 


Warm up the buyers for fall showings

Whether you are getting your house ready to sell, or it has been on the market for some time, fall is the perfect time to warm up the buyers, making them feel cozy and at home. We all know how important feelings are when it comes to making a buying decision, no matter what we are buying. Creating these feelings is easy!
  1. Put together a reading nook in the master bedroom with a comfy chair, a soft throw, a book and a tea set.
  2. As days are getting shorter, make sure to add extra lamps with warm-toned bulbs and highlight the focal points of the rooms.
  3. Set a dining table centerpiece with colourful candles and a large bouquet of fall flowers.
  4. Display vases of fall foliage and bowls of seasonal fruit throughout your home.
  5. Now is the time to turn up your fireplace for showings.
  6. Add luxurious touches to the beds with layers of plush throws and oversized pillows.
Happy staging and decorating!
 

 


Creating Beautiful Vignettes

Creating vignettes is probably the most fun part of my home staging work. If furniture and artwork is the dress for the room, then vignettes is the jewelry. They create visual appeal and draw attention to the most important parts of the room I want to highlight and emphasize their charm. For example, a beautiful countertop, a stained glass window with a great view, a fireplace with vintage tiles, a newly renovated relaxing bathroom. Or take attention away from the elements that are not very desirable to be seen: an unattractive view, a low ceiling area, old fixtures, etc.
 
Vignettes are one of the most important parts of staging design.
 
Vignettes are seemingly easy to create by following the rules. Some of the rules are: collect items in odd numbers with various heights and textures; match some parts of the vignette to the colours present in the room and the house; make sure the scale of the vignette works with the scale of the surrounding pieces of furniture and artwork.
 
However, in real life I found that the best vignettes come out by breaking those rules and just going with intuition, with a gut feeling of what looks right.
 
Furniture and artwork also can become a part of a vignette, and they are great to fill empty spaces to show the scale and suggest a function of an awkward layout. Outdoor vignettes work well when there is a lack of landscape design.
 
Using unexpected or quirky items in a vignette creates a memorable experience and makes a lasting impression of a home without overpowering its main features, and especially when a home does not have a lot of features to remember.
Vignettes are a fantastic staging tool, the possibilities are endless, and if you are preparing your house for sale, do not forget to incorporate them in your decor.
 
When you are just starting, follow the rules I mentioned above. Use 3 items of different heights and create asymmetrical groupings. Even though symmetrical vignettes seem to be easies to create, they are tricky ones to make properly, and you may end up with static compositions. Try a painting or a framed photograph as one of the elements and draw the colour from it.
 
Inexpensive items work just as good as pricey ones, so do not invest in decor items from Chintz right away, but start with items purchased on a garage sale or an antique store. I included a few photos of my vignettes for you to get the ideas. Perhaps you can make even better ones.
 
The main thing, have fun with it – good luck! And feel free to contact me if you need help.
 

 


La Biennale di Venezia: a Dream Comes True

A trip to Venice is always such a treat but this year it was very special for me.
La Biennale di Venezia is one of the most famous and prestigious art exhibitions in the world, founded in 1895. I first heard about it when I was in school and I put it on my bucket list back then. And this year (it’s the 58th Biennale) I am lucky to check it off and my dream came true!
 
The title of the exhibition this year is “May you live in interesting times”.
«The title of this Exhibition could be interpreted as a sort of curse – stated President Paolo Baratta – where the expression “interesting times” evokes the idea of challenging or even “menacing” times, but it could also simply be an invitation to always see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation, thus, that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear. And I believe that an exhibition of art is worth our attention, first and foremost, if it intends to present us with art and artists as a decisive challenge to all oversimplifying attitudes.»
 
We do indeed live in challenging times and I saw it reflected in the artworks presented at the exhibition. Some of it I saw as apocalyptic, dark, and desperate, and some as happy, hopeful, and full of light. There are 89 countries who presented their art this year and it was impossible to see it all in one day. But almost everything we saw was thought provoking, challenging the traditions and fashions, and overall, extremely entertaining. I definitely recommend attending this special event if you are in Venice and even making a special stop on your travels.

 


Creating mood with focal points

When I do home staging consultations, I often see beautiful rooms where the best features are hidden or obstructed. That means, they do not fulfill their function as a focal point. Focal points are necessary for every room to draw buyers’ attention, guide them along the house, and distract from negative elements. Focal points is one of the main marketing elements that sellers have in their arsenal of home staging tools. Positioned and emphasized correctly, focal points create positive emotions, enhance balance, and help define functions of the rooms. Which in turn helps buyers feel good about the property even though they may not fully understand why.
Every room should have at least one focal point, no matter how small. Some rooms have more than one. It is usually when one of the elements is a natural feature, like a gorgeous view, and the other is added, like a painting.
Common focal points include fireplaces, kitchen islands, chandeliers, and vignettes.
Some already exist in the house, and some need to be created. If a room lacks character, the easiest way to add it is to hang a beautiful bright picture, add a large vase with fresh flowers, or replace the light fixture. A beautifully styled bookcase will make a great focal point in a family room, an office, or a den.
Vignettes made of decor items like vases, sculptures, and books, make wonderful focal points. Make sure you use large items, with various heights and textures. Groups of three items are classic, but it’s OK to break this rule and experiment with different number of objects.
What does not make a great focal point? Huge TV screen is just a black rectangle with heavy visual weight and does not add any pizzaz. It’s best to position it in a way that it is not the first thing buyers see when they enter the room.
If you have an unpleasant view from a window just opposite the entrance to the door, it is best to create an alternative focal point with dramatic artwork or vignette to draw the attention away from the window.
Make sure that the focal point is not obstructed. On the photos below you can see how buyers walk into this room and face the back of the sofa. It takes away from the focal point and creates a subconscious message “stop here, you are not welcomed to this room”. By adding a large piece of art to the fireplace, removing the sofa and opening up the room, a welcoming feeling was created and an invitation to the buyers to envision themselves enjoying a conversation around the fireplace. A feeling like that will stay with the buyers and will help them make a decision about buying the house.
After the sellers made the changes, the house sold fast. Thank you, focal points!

 


How to live comfortably in your staged home

When I do my staging consultations, I sometimes hear: “but we need to live in this house while it is on the market!” The funny thing is that the sellers often say it even before I made any staging recommendations. For some reason, many sellers think that staging their house will cause major inconveniences. But in reality, it is rarely so.
 
Here are some points that will help you understand how the process of living in your staged home can be stress free.
 
Relax.
You did everything that you possibly could to prepare your property for sale and now it is in the hands of your trusted Realtor. And the Universe! Think positive and know that your perfect buyer is on the way.
Most likely, during the staging process you had to remove and pack up a lot of items and it now looks and feels more spacious and harmonious. Enjoy these feelings, and take a mental note that this is how you want to feel in your new place too.
 
Take photos.
After the house is staged by a professional stager, many things may not be in those places where you originally put them. Because they were moved and placed for a specific reason, it is important that they stay there. Of course, you may need to move something to accommodate your lifestyle. Don’t stress about it. If you take photos of all areas where changes were made, it is easy to put things back as soon as you know that you have a showing coming up.
 
Exercise good habits.
Or start developing them. Put things back as soon as you finished using them, don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, fold away your clothes, etc. It’s also a good time to teach your kids to clean after themselves. If you have young kids, get a basket for the toys and ask them to put the toys in the basket as soon as they finished playing. And remember to remove the paperwork from your desk. Before you know it, everyone in the family has a habit of keeping their stuff neat and organized.
 
Have your checklist ready.
I always give sellers an open house and showings checklist. It is a very handy way to get your house ready when you are planning for an open house or if you have a showing coming up on a short notice. Chances are, after a couple of times of going through the list and performing the tasks, you will feel confident and will be ready to show off your house in just a few minutes.
 
 

 


Give Your Kitchen Some Love

Spring is traditionally the season when we love to clean, declutter, purge, organize, and detox. When I think about where to start, the kitchen comes to mind as it’s truly the heart of the home and everything starts here: lovingly preparing meals for our families, interacting with friends while getting ready to entertain. Lately, it has also become popular to use the islands and nooks to set up a place to put your laptop and enjoy a cup of coffee while checking email. As a result, it can become very busy, cluttered and even dysfunctional.
If you decided that you had enough and are ready to enjoy a nice place to cook, entertain, and relax, then use these guidelines. And if you are thinking of selling your house this spring or this year, it’s never too early to start. You will enjoy your beautiful kitchen and be ready when the time comes to put your house up for sale.
 
Sort by function.
Nothing is more stressful than trying to locate things when we need them. Especially when we’re searching through the things we don’t need! Start by going through your cupboards and eliminating duplicates, things that don’t belong, or are hardly ever used. Make sure you have a designated spot for things you use daily and toss or give away the rest. Do the same with the food items. Remember, even small cupboards will look large when they are 1/3 empty. The buyers will definitely open each and every one of them to see if their stuff will fit!
 
Choose what to display.
A wonderful thing about kitchens is that you can choose what to keep inside the cupboards, and what to display. A lot of kitchen and food items are very pretty and can serve as decor items and become part of the design. Use open shelves to showcase the pottery you bought at a local market, and fill a wooden bowl with root vegetables or colourful tropical fruit. If you have designers’ pots and pans, they can be displayed on hanging hardware. However I do not recommend it when you have the house on the market as it may distract the buyers from seeing the best features of your kitchen.
 
Create a flow.
It is very important how easy it is to use the kitchen and navigate between its functional parts. It is important in order to minimize the daily stress but also to show your potential buyers how they can enjoy using the kitchen. If you have some free standing furniture, it may interfere with the flow and give your buyers an impression of not enough storage or prep space. After you declutter your cupboards, it it it probably possible that you can get rid of extra furniture. Also, if you have a breakfast area, make sure that it is set up in a way that allows easy access in and out. Nothing makes people more uncomfortable than bumping into chairs or corners.
 
Bring freshness from the outside.
I said it before and I will say it again: one of the easiest ways to make people happy (and that includes your family members and your potential buyers) is bringing nature inside. Put a large vase with fresh cut flowers on the kitchen table and a couple of pretty potted plants on the window sill. They will bring a smile to your face every time you enter the kitchen and it will make it more welcoming for the buyers.
 
Happy staging and decorating!