So, you know that friend you met your first year of college who really seemed like they had it all figured out. They probably declared their major when they were like 6 years old and really committed to it for the rest of their life? Allow me introduce you to my good friend and former college roommate, Alexis Limb. She’s that friend. Alexis and I met at Florida State University and had an instant connection. Alexis is stylish, kind and organized (even in college 🙄 ). After graduating from Florida State with a degree in interior design, she has gained national recognition for her talents and has over 13 years of experience in the industry- of that, 4.5 of those years have been operating her own design firm, Alexis Marie Interiors.

Alexis is literally my go to on anything home decor and design related. When my husband and I sold our home a year ago, we hired Alexis to help us do a small renovation and update the furniture in our home. The whole process was entirely too fun and I could see personally, why clients come to her from all over for her design advice and expertise.

As any good friend would do (even when they have over 10 projects they’re currently working on!), Alexis indulged me in a little one on one session to help answer some of the biggest questions that clients ask when putting their home on the market. Read on for more of her pro tips that won’t leave you guessing – “What do I do as I prepare my home to sell?”.

One of the first questions most home sellers ask when they decide to sell their home is how long do you think it will take before our home sells?

There are a lot of different determining factors that can affect that answer. Beginning with things that are out of our control such as market demand being one of the first (we just happen to be in a hot market right now!), other outstanding factors include taxes (or an additional CDD tax which is common in LWR), property size, lot size, and views (Southern vs. Northern, Eastern vs. Western). Once we get past the factors beyond our control, you can really begin to focus on the aesthetics that are within your control. This begins with exterior finishes – curb appeal (maintained and fresh landscaping), pressure washing (never under estimate the importance of cleaning the exterior of your home and driveway), and so on.  So while many of the aforementioned details can’t be controlled once you own your home –  ie, you can’t exactly pick up your home and change the direction it faces because a buyer wants a sunset view or a sunrise view. You can control your curb appeal with things like a fresh coat of paint –  even if it’s just the front door, pressure washing and fresh landscaping. Buyers know immediately upon driving up to a home if they get “the feeling” and want to continue with their showing.

We believe if you can control their first impression, and initial experience on the outside, you’re already off to a great start! But what happens when they turn the knob and open the door to your home. What steps can be taken to continue their intrigue and have them falling in love with your property? Here is what Alexis has to say…

What is the first thing you would suggest to a client who is getting their home ready to put on the market?

DE-CLUTTER!!! Clutter is one of the biggest turn-offs for potential buyers. They want to feel as if they are walking into something new and fresh. Take away as many little knick-knacks and items that you can. Most personal items, while they may mean the world to you could be distracting to potential buyers.

Is it true that buyers are looking for more neutral walls and décor todayie/ white or gray walls? Are there a few color suggestions that you always recommend to your clients that modernize their space and give it a broader appeal to most?

YES! Neutral is often times best. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a home or room. Two of our big go-to’s is Accessible Beige or Agreeable Grey by Sherwin Williams. They have a very transformative tone and can go warmer or cooler based on the furnishings, accessories and backgrounds of the space. We have also been incorporating bright white walls lately so it gives the appearance of a more open feel.

What do you telyour clients when they ask what they should do with all of their family photos? Can they keep them up – I mean theystill live here, right?

As a designer most people still want to feel “at home” and welcome in a space. While I would urge you to de-clutter as much as you can I would say you wouldn’t need to do away with every single photo in the home. You also don’t want the buyer feeling like they are “in someone else’s home” as they walk through. You want them to be able to envision themselves living there and adding their own personal touches. So, my advice on this would be…less is more 😉 .

What about a young family – do you think they should put away any toys or games that they usually have out? Is there a general rule of thumb about this that can apply to more than just families?

YES! Again, with the de-cluttering theme…I would put everything away that you possibly can. Make them feel like they can envision their own pieces of furniture or possibly buy the ones you are selling with the home but you don’t want them to be tripping over toys, playpens, kid kitchens, etc.

Should we plan to invest money into selling our home? If so, how much do you think is enough? AKA – Should we get rid of any outdated furniture and replace it with something new? As an example: Should we replace said outdated furniture witha new set of white couches like we see in all of the home magazines? It’s not like they are buying our furniture but model homes definitely have that “new” look and feeling that we love…

I would say yes, it is almost always necessary to invest a little in order to be up there with the competition in your area. Where you invest is heavily dependent on what you are selling….can you get away with fresh paint, and some new throw pillows? DO IT! If your sofas or chairs look like your great grandmother gifted them to you then there are plenty of places that you can find affordable “fresh” looking pieces these days! Keeping in mind that your taste may not be your potential buyers you want to think in more broad terms and appeal to the masses. Keep the big things (i.e. sofa, chairs, etc) neutral. Accent with some pops in the throw pillows and accessories. Sometimes a bedroom just needs a brighter paint color and a new duvet cover to freshen up the space. Clear off countertops and really allow peoples eye to travel around a room and not get stuck on any overly cluttered areas.

Fresh flowers or fresh cookies? Or both? What do you think makes a sweeter impression?

I LOVE fresh flowers! I believe they can do wonders for a space and almost always bring a smile to someone walking through. Again, keep it neutral, keep it simple and keep it classy! White anything is always a plus!

Cookies are also a great idea as well and who doesn’t love a fresh baked cookie?!?! You could always set up a small beverage area on a tray in the kitchen if you felt compelled with little waters, tea or even little champagne splits!  We think that adding a personalized touch like that can really be endearing to a potential buyer and encourages them to “feel at home”.

Are you currently working on any projects in our area?

We are! We are currently nearing completion on a semi-custom build with Stock in Lake Club. We have had an amazing time working with our clients from the initial lot selection, making floor plan modifications, jazzing up the architectural detailing, selecting background materials for the home and now working on the furnishings and interior of the home getting ready to close and install in November! We love the opportunity to work on a project from the very beginning and being able to convey the clients wants/needs to the builder. This is often times integral and produces the most seamless results.  We love the area  – it has a very similar feel to Naples!

Any exciting projects you’re working on that you want to share with us?

We have about 10 projects at various stages right now and are so excited to keep sharing progress on them all. Visit our social media pages to keep up! We are so excited for one of our big renovation projects to complete within the next month as we touched every corner of the home inside and out and really made it a space that was VERY dated into an oasis this family has come to gather, and make memories in. It is one of the biggest, most drastic transformations I’ve worked on in a while.

Anything else you’d like to share with us today that you feel is important that you would like to share with us as a Must Do or your own personal motto that you follow when helping stage a home?

For staging and prepping to sell….Less is More! Keep it Light, Keep it Bright, Keep it tight!

Lastly – This seems like a lot of work, should we hire a professional like yourself to help us stage? I would say it may be necessary if you are feeling too overwhelmed by it all. If you have no idea where to start or no idea how to “declutter” because everything seems important to you then it would be wise to bring in professional. You can hire someone to come in to consult and tell you what to do or come in to do it for you. Designers can offer this service as well as professional organizers or actual home staging companies.

Alexis Marie Interiors can be reached and followed with the links below!


Phone: 239.231.3955