The Las Vegas real estate market is holding strong, but realtors say selling could become trickier in 2016. Last year, there was more demand for homes than there were homes for sale, but this year that demand has cooled down a bit, meaning that buyers are more picky about their options. But don’t get discouraged. If you’re contemplating selling, now could still be a great time to get the price you want–as long as you know how to make your home stand out.

We asked Jennifer Paxson (Intuitive Solutions Home Staging), an expert on home staging in Las Vegas, for her top home staging tips. It turns out the key to making your home attractive to potential buyers is not what you add or update, but what you lose.

Why You Must Lose to Win

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The goal of home staging is to make it as easy as possible for buyers to envision themselves living in your space. Your objective should be to turn your home into a blank slate that others can project their own style onto. And that doesn’t just mean looks. Potential buyers need to be able to imagine living out their dream lifestyle in your space.

So when it comes to home staging in Las Vegas, it’s all about getting rid of the items that will keep buyers from seeing your home as their home. You probably already know to clear out family photos and personal knick-knacks, but according to Jennifer there’s a lot more you could—and should—be getting rid of. Here are the top things to lose to win that sale.

Home Staging in Las Vegas: Expert Tips On What to Lose

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Lawn

Make sure your lawn is uncluttered with decorations or too much furniture. If a buyer’s first impression of your home is a cluttery riot of “stuff,” they will immediately form a negative opinion of the house as a whole. Jennifer has seen from years of experience that it’s extremely difficult to reverse a bad initial impression. If the buyer isn’t impressed when they’re walking up to the door, they likely won’t be impressed with what’s on the other side, no matter how beautifully staged.

 

Doors

Your front door is another area where a bad first impression may cause a buyer to decide they shouldn’t bother seeing the rest of your home. If your front door is scuffed, dented, or weathered, replace it with a new one. Even if the door itself looks good, replace any hardware that is worn or otherwise unattractive. Do the same for any and all doors the buyers will encounter.

Porch Lights

A little-known trick, but one that makes a big difference: front porch sconces or other light sources are easily overlooked when people remodel/update their home. As a result, they are often quite weathered and out of style. Simply removing old sconces and replacing them with updated versions will make your porch instantly feel fresher, more modern, and more attractive to potential buyers.

 

Closets and Cabinets

Storage space is one of a buyer’s main considerations when shopping for a new home. Expect your  closets and cabinets to be closely examined. If the doors are scuffed, dented, or otherwise damaged, buyers will notice—and be turned off. Doubly so if the doors don’t open and close properly or are hanging askew. Get rid of closet and cabinet doors that have seen better days.

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If you must still store your own things in your closets and cabinets while showing to buyers, it’s important to declutter your home as much as humanly possible. It’s time to get serious about purging your home of all the junk you don’t want to take with you. Pull everything out of your closets, throw away whatever is no longer usable, and bag up any items you plan to donate. Place the remaining items neatly back into your closet—and make sure they stay neat so that buyers can easily see the closet’s size. Bonus: a neat closet will make buyers subconsciously feel that their own things will look neat if they move into this house.

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Furniture

While it’s true that buyers will have trouble picturing themselves in a room that’s full of your stuff, they’ll have an equally hard time picturing themselves in a completely empty room. To pull off really effective home staging in Las Vegas, you’ll want to leave a few pieces of furniture, arranged in a simple, inviting way. But make sure you’re leaving the right furniture. Remove any pieces that are scuffed, scratched, torn, dented, faded or otherwise past their prime. You probably aren’t planning to transfer these pieces to your new home, so now is the time to go ahead and get rid of them.

Lighting

As Jennifer alluded to above, good lighting is something that nearly every buyer says they’re looking for in a home. Take advantage of this by getting rid of heavy drapes or blinds that block natural sunlight. If there is no overhead lighting in a particular room, make sure that you leave a simple lamp or two in the room to avoid leaving buyers in the dark.

Floors

Sleek, clean flooring will make the entire room feel sleek and clean: key selling points for buyers. If your current flooring in a particular room (whether tile, linoleum, carpet or anything else) is scuffed, stained, torn or out of style, tear it up and replace it with new flooring. This is especially important for kitchens and living rooms, where people tend to spend most of their time in any home.

Countertops

Counter space is a big deal to buyers. Your counters will likely be the first thing they focus on in your kitchen and bathroom—so they better be worth looking at. If your countertops (including bathroom vanities!) are scratched, discolored, or in an outdated color/style, remove them and replace with something simple and modern. In general, sellers who replace their old countertops will more than make that money back when the home sells.

Appliances

Once you have new countertops installed, Jennifer stresses that they should be kept clear. The more surface area buyers can see, the better. This is the perfect time to clear your kitchen of those one-trick appliances you never use.

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Home staging in Las Vegas can require a fair bit of elbow grease, but it will pay off in the long run. Getting rid of the clutter you’ve accumulated over your years in your current home will enable buyers to imagine their own future there–which will in turn enable you to earn a better price! Once you’ve determined all the things you’ll be getting rid of, keep in mind that you don’t want a huge pile of junk sitting out on your curb where it will make a bad impression on potential buyers driving past your property. You’ll need a reliable way to get rid of everything quickly and easily. Because you’ll likely have plenty to get rid of, a Las Vegas dumpster rental might fit the bill. If you decide that’s the best route for you, Budget Dumpster can help you find the right size for your needs at the right price.

Jennifer Paxson has years of experience staging homes in the Las Vegas real estate market. She will work with you and your realtor to stage, photograph, and market your home for a quick and profitable sale.