PREPARING TO SELL YOUR HOME? Professional Staging used to be an option years ago, now it is a necessity! Serious Sellers must carve an edge in today’s competitive marketplace. The entire process of Staging is fun and exciting for home owners to experience. If you’ve always dreamt of your home looking as if it was lifted from the pages of Style at Home, but never knew how to achieve the look, be prepared… Barbara and her Professional Staging Team will schedule a walk-through and discuss how to make your home look it’s most appealing to potential Buyers. A staged home is likely to sell faster and often at a higher asking price than a non-staged home. Imagine the pride you will feel knowing that your home is picture perfect providing a captivating backdrop for professional photography.

We often hear the following from our Sellers; “WOW I can’t believe this is my house”; “I’d buy this gorgeous home”; “ I wish we had done this years ago”; “ I never thought of using that old table in that way”; “Will you please, please, please come and decorate my new home?”.

In many cities across Canada, housing prices are at an all-time high and still climbing. If you want your house to look like it is worth every penny of you’re asking price, putting your home’s best foot forward (and then some!) is a must. Here are some tried-and-true “HOME STAGING TIPS”.

1. MAKE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION LAST! You’ve all seen them… Buyers parked in front of your house or doing drive-bys before deciding whether to request a showing or attend an open house. Make these potential Buyers fall in love with your home from the street by adding; a large urn with a creative arrangement, power washing patios and walkways, weeding the garden and mowing the lawn. It’s your first chance to make a good impression, so you have to make it count!

2. DEPERSONALIZE. Excessive personal items like electronics, personal awards etc. will make it difficult for Buyers to see past your personal style and may hamper your sale. Taking yourself out of the picture makes it easier for Buyers to imagine themselves and their belongings in your space. Quirky decorating or pictures of the kids hurt this illusion.

3. DECLUTTER, DECLUTTER, DECLUTTER…THEN DECLUTTER SOME MORE! Few things deter Buyers more than a cluttered home. It makes it so much easier to stage a home to sell when Grandma’s fine china has already been packed away, school bags are in the closet and mail is tucked in a drawer for safe keeping. Buyers open closet and pantry doors so consider spring cleaning no matter what the season. If it’s tacky and older than you, consider donating it to local charities. P.S. Voilà…half packing will be organized, completed and ready for moving day!

4. MAKE SURE EVERY INCH OF YOUR HOUSE IS IN TOP CONDITION. No torn screens burnt out light bulbs or dirty windows. You may have grown accustomed to overlooking these flaws but potential Buyers will not. Tour your house with a critical eye (or ask a friend to) repair any issues that need to be remedied. Buyers feel a sense of relief, and have confidence in their purchase, knowing that the sellers have maintained their new home properly. Remember that a fresh coat of paint does wonders! This could make all the difference to Buyers who require a quick possession or may not have the means to hire a professional painter. Don’t forget a coat of crisp, white semi-gloss on the trim.

5. CREATE A BALANCED SPACE. You may love hot pink in the Living Room, but too-bright a colour may turn people off. Neutralize strong colors for the broadest appeal. To make your home appear cohesive while creating an illusion of more space, paint walls with the same colour scheme throughout each level. Tip: Choose draperies that are close to the colour palette of the walls achieving a seamless, sophisticated look.

6. CHANDELIERS. According to home staging expert Alyssa Tavazoie of Alyssa Interiors, one of the best, low-cost/high-return investments is lighting…chandeliers in particular. Most Sellers are of the opinion that you must spend a fortune on lighting but you DON’T. All big box stores carry a wide variety of unique lighting for, at most, a hundred and fifty dollars. Chic up to date lighting makes a difference in your glam factor. Even inexpensive lighting can look high end when captured properly in professional photography.

7. BE AWARE OF SCALE IN THE HOUSE WHEN IT COMES TO FURNISHINGS. You may have a giant sofa that you love, however if it makes the room look small, it simply has to go! Aim for small groupings of furniture (ideally more than one in a room, especially a large room), with plenty of space surrounding the vignette. During the listing process, dependent on the timeframe, we will discuss which furniture pieces should be utilized to enhance the design and space of your home. You may be surprised with the interesting design ideas you learn on placing your furniture and decorating in your new home. Items not being used to stage can be stored carefully and neatly in your garage until moving day.

8. STAGE ROOMS WITH A PURPOSE SO BUYERS KNOW WHAT IT IS. Potential Buyers are confused by extra rooms that don’t have a clear function or have a myriad of different uses. Your Stager will help determine what type of room can be created to increase the functionality and value of your home…perhaps an executive home office. Once its purpose has been determined, clear away clutter and excess furniture that is not useable. Painting the walls with a neutral tone, adding eclectic art and furnishing the room with a desk and accessories will create an innovative space in which Buyers will want to get down to business.

9. MAKE IT SPARKLE. Pretend your mother in law is coming for a visit, think “Hotel Clean”. Hire a professional cleaner or role up your sleeves! Remember Buyers will look in all the little nooks and crannies. This rule, incidentally, should apply to the entire house both inside and out. Also pay particular attention to odours. Consider a neutral nose by having your best friend drop by for a smell test. You might be very SURPRISED at the outcome!

10. A WELCOMING SMELL MAKES A HOUSE MEMORABLE. Baking cookies or boiling cinnamon sticks has become a cliché, however a clean soft lavender spa fragrance does wonders for your ambience… use sparingly before each showing. Pet odours can make a negative first impression. Be sure to remove old carpets that can trap offensive smells, kitty litter and pet food from the home. You want the first impression of your home to be: “I wish my home smelled this fresh!”

11. LET THE SUN SHINE IN. Buyers love the feeling of natural light and fresh airy space, however dark and dingy isn’t on their wish list. Open up your blinds and draperies to make sure to optimize natural light throughout the home. Remember, natural light is the simplest element of Feng Shui, creating positive energy and enlightenment. Light is the #1 nutrient and has been called “the medicine of the future”!

12. A SPARKLING KITCHEN. “The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home”, many Buyers believe this is true. Newer homes were designed with kitchens as living spaces in mind and so these rooms became larger to better accommodate family and friends as an additional space for entertaining. They are rooms filled with energy, aroma and texture. Whether small or large, the kitchen is the hub of the home and needs to be sparkling and look as spacious as possible. Kitchen counters should be clear and clutter-free. Store small appliances in cupboards and remember to tuck away waste and recycle bins neatly under a cabinet or in the garage.

13. KITCHEN DECOR. If your kitchen requires a backsplash, this is a weekend job that a reasonably handy person can tackle for less than you may think. Invest in some gorgeous, inexpensive tiles…since you’re doing such a small area, it shouldn’t cost too much. Paint dated kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Dated kitchen cabinets can be a big turnoff to potential Buyers. Instead of paying big bucks to replace them, just paint them. First, apply a great primer, allow to dry fully before applying a fresh, neutral top coat. Replace boring or worn cabinet hardware with a modern, up-to-date look. Consider brushed steel, which looks great with most finishes.Granite or Quartz countertops are a huge selling feature, but they can be expensive. You will save on this investment by searching out wholesale vendors which always have better pricing and may have large remnants from previous jobs. Remember, any money you spend will definitely be returned in the value these upgrades add to your kitchen.

14. DON’T NEGLECT THE BATHROOM. The average person will spend about 1.5 years of his or her lifetime in the bathroom. This isn’t the place to take any décor shortcuts…it sets the tone for the rest of your home. Clients entering your home are certainly going to scrutinize your bathroom. They picture themselves decompressing in a hot shower or taking a long bath by candlelight. Builder’s mirror lacks pizazz and can easily be replaced with an attractive framed mirror for under $100. Switch out the lighting for a glammy chandelier or perhaps attractive new sconces. Update towel bars and toilet paper holders.

15. GRIMY BATHROOM WALLS AND SHOWER DOORS ARE A MAJOR RED FLAG TO BUYERS. Here is an easy way to get rid of surface mold and scum: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Tip: get your glass shower doors sparkling by dipping a wet cloth in powdered laundry detergent and wipe clean.

16. FRESHEN UP THE MASTER BEDROOM. Prospective Buyers are looking for more than a bedroom…they are looking for a retreat. They want to close the doors on the world and escape into luxury. Effortlessly achieve a chic, “Hotel Inspired” new look in the Master Bedroom with the addition of: Inexpensive, crisp white linens; an assortment of decorative throw pillows (these can be purchased for very little money at stores like HomeSense and Bouclair); and sheathy, dreamy draperies. Keep end tables uncluttered, with matching lamps and nothing else except, perhaps, a tiny vase of flowers. Remember, a Master Bedroom should appeal to both sexes!

17. WHAT ABOUT THAT OVERPOWERING BRICK FIREPLACE THAT STICKS OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB? Prospective Clients love a home with a fireplace! It is almost always a box checked off in search criteria. Most Clients feel there is nothing like curling up with a good book in front of an elegant fireplace. In addition, it offers an inviting decor to the overall ambiance of a room along with being an inviting focal point. If you are fortunate enough to have one, it can be a great selling feature…so make the most of it. If your fireplace is an eyesore rather than a focal piece consider painting it for a fresh updated look. If you use a color that matches the walls, your fireplace will go from sticking out to standing out.

18. A SHABBY WOOD-PANEL WALL IS NOT A STRONG SELLING POINT. Just a thought…instead of ripping out the panelling, simply cover it up! As an easy fix use wood filler to carefully fill all cracks and the grooves in-between the panels. Use a sponge to wipe away excess filler, and make sure it is completely dry prior to painting. To create a fresh décor, apply primer and two coats of “Sharky Grey” and you will see an unattractive room be transformed into an elegant, sought-after retreat.

19. A NICE OUTDOOR DECK CAN BE A BIG SELLING FEATURE, BUT AN UNSIGHTLY ONE IS A MAJOR LIABILITY. In today’s society, a deck is perceived as a 3-season extension to the living space of your home. Breathe new life into an old deck simply power wash, sand and re-finish. To make your weathered old deck look like new you can easily find a video on YouTube that will demonstrate how to restore a wood deck, ultimately adding value to your home. Add funky furnishings, an all-weather carpet and colourful planters to dress it up…watch your open house turn into a party!