The number one tip for making your home show it’s best is deep cleaning. This includes clean windows, shower doors or a fresh shower curtain, floors from wall to wall, the trim, doors, and appliances inside and out. Check for damaged window shades or curtains may need to be replaced. 

  Rooms will look larger without rugs, but you should have one in the entry way, which should be replaced if old or dirty. Check the rest of the flooring for damage or maintenance. Wood floors may need to be refinished, or other flooring replaced. Tile grout should be clean and old caulk replaced.

  Organize your closets, cabinets, drawers, and laundry room. Buyers will be looking at your available storage, so find a hidden spot for your detergents and cleaners. Pack away everything you can live without, including personal photos and books you aren’t reading. Boxes stacked in the basement or garage are better than clutter around the house. 

  Make sure your light bulbs work and add table lamps if a room seems dark. It is best to have bright rooms for showings. Changing out light fixtures or globes is an inexpensive way to update a room.

 If your walls are painted a dark color, consider painting them a light tan or light gray, depending on your décor. If painting is too difficult, hang large, light colored art work or a mirror to brighten the room. The mirror should be positioned to reflect sunlight into the room.

  Find a focal point like a fireplace, or outdoor view and position your furniture so if a buyer sits on your sofa, they can appreciate the view. Replace throw pillows and remove excess furniture.

  Remove all personal items from your bathroom for showings. Candles or potpourri can add a touch of color and a pleasant scent. Large white towels, a full roll of toilet paper, shiny faucets, fixtures, and mirrors will give it a spa feel. Don’t forget to close the toilet seat and empty the trash can.

  If the kitchen cabinets are older, you can clean, paint or touch up the wood. Changing out the cabinet hardware can help the kitchen look more modern. If the countertops are worn, replacing them with a standard granite may help your home sell faster. Clear the countertops of food and appliances. You can set the table or simply place a colorful vase with fresh or dried flowers on the table. Find a place to hide the trash and recycling cans.

  Declutter bedrooms, make the beds neatly, add throw pillows and open the shades to let the light in. Pack up as many toys as you can live without, put clothes away, clear dressers and night stands of excess clutter.

  If you have pets, it is important to empty the kitty litter and put it out of site. A subtle plug in air-freshener may help if it is not overpowering, or try potpourri or boiling cinnamon sticks. 

  An experienced real estate agent can provide you staging tips for your home within a budget you can afford.

 Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.