Search

Top Ten Tips for Staging Your Home



The Spring Market (and in recent years, I might call it the Late-Winter Market) is approaching. Time, more than anything, will allow homeowners and real estate agents to effectively prepare properties for listing. Don’t leave presentation until the last minute. Take advantage of these tips and start thinking about the best way to approach your listing.

1. Repairs


2. Curb Appeal and the Exterior


3. First Impressions


4. Neutralizing


5. Creating Focal Points


6. Bringing Life Into Rooms


7. Defining Rooms


8. Clean


9. Rental Furniture and Accessories


10. Time


Staging is essentially a process, which is now widely accepted in most cities in North America, to engage prospective buyers and create a connection to a property. A stager will deliver valuable creative solutions helping home-sellers find new ways prepare their properties for the real estate market, enabling them to reach broader markets and maximize asset value.

The key here is to reach broader markets. Basically, sending lots of eyeballs to the property. If your property has very specific elements that are highly personal and curated to a particular taste, you should consider how you can appeal to a larger, broader audience by neutralizing spaces through colour, styling and accessories. When prospective buyers see your home they want to see themselves living there. The best way to do this is to create a canvas that is easy for buyers to appreciate. They shouldn’t have to work hard at eliminating the distractions in front of them in order to see how they can insert their own lifestyles into the picture.

Here are 10 ways you can improve the presentation of your home before listing. It is always beneficial, if you feel uncertain, to get the advice of your real estate professional and a staging consultant to make sure no stone has been left unturned!

1. Repairs


This may not seem to be a typical element of the staging process. When considering your budget for preparing your home for sale, repairs should always come first. If you have broken light fixtures, wall damage, a wobbly hand rail, a broken window, mechanicals that need to be looked at like HVAC, plumbing or ventilation, these all need to take priority. When you have got your home fully functioning then you can move on to the cosmetic phase.

2. Curb Appeal and the Exterior


If you are in a situation where you have control over the presentation of the exterior of your home, take control. Curb appeal is enormous. It will take less than 30 seconds for a prospective buyer to drive by and make assumptions about your property based on what they see on the outside. If they don’t like what they see you could be eliminating potential buyers from seeing the rest of your home, which they may like! Even small details like a rusty mailbox, changing the exterior lights, replacing hard-to-see old house numbers with something modern and appealing will make a difference. For every season, you have the opportunity to add a pretty container with flowers, fall mums, winter greenery and more. A fresh new modern doormat also helps. Keeping the exterior of the home clean, free of debris, shoveled or swept if necessary, is a given. Creating a neat and attractive setting in the backyard where a buyer can envision relaxing in the outdoors or having a BBQ is always a huge bonus as shown here in this photo (a more extreme example :) !


3. First Impressions


Smell. Temperature. Colour. What does a prospect see and feel when they first enter your home. Again, it takes less than 30 seconds for a prospect to make assumptions about the condition of the entire home at the front door. Keep a few windows open to allow fresh air to flow through and keep the temperature at a comfortable 68 degrees. Use AC on very hot and humid days. Avoid chemical room deodorizing sprays and heavy scents which may come across as a “cover up”. Take your pets to a friend or family member while you list your home to keep pet smells at bay. Keep spaces clean and tidy and avoid any kind of situation where the entry will feel crowded or cluttered. Keep the words “bright, light, and airy” in mind – this is how you want prospective buyers to describe your space.

4. Neutralizing 


A neutral environment will appeal to a larger pool of buyers. Wall colour is one of the easiest ways to change a room. Dark, deep, very specific colours should be re-evaluated. Personal items, family photos, as well as anything that may come across as controversial through art, books or other household items that could put off more conservative, prospective buyers should be considered for storage. By changing the wall colour, removing a bright piece of art, rearranging the furniture and keeping only a few generic accessories, this living room became a much more neutral and appealing space. 


5. Creating Focal Points


Prospective buyers often travel through homes quickly. They may see a number of homes in one day. Make spaces memorable by creating a single focal point in each space. It could be a fireplace or a collection of art in a living room, a beautiful island in a kitchen, or a nicely presented bed with end tables and lighting in a bedroom.  Lots of little things on a smaller scale in each room (little tables, lots of collectibles, numerous small chairs, overly furnished spaces) force the eye to start and stop, and a prospect can get easily distracted. You want them to focus on the property itself not the things in it.

6. Bringing Life into Rooms


Take a look in any design magazine. Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, House and Home etc. Their features always have rooms with flowers, plants, even a hint of life somewhere in the picture. Now eliminate that floral arrangement or plant and try to imagine the room without it. Plants and flowers make a huge difference in rooms no matter how small or simple. They add a certain level of freshness and life. Make an investment in them before taking your listing photos and your open house, and it will add an extra level of wow factor. Scale and colour are important here – using a staging professional or florist always helps. For something longer lasting, consider artificial florals – they have come a long way. Pier One is a good source if you have a robust budget. Crate and Barrel often have spectacular florals.  In this staging project you can see artificial florals on the dining table and credenza along with silver pennies. Natural elements are a great way to complete an eye-catching vignette.






7. Defining Rooms

When prospectives buyer travel through a home, they should know what the function of each room is. If you have a yoga/sewing/ironing room this is not going to help a buyer see the usefulness of this square footage. If it was once a bedroom, bring it back to a bedroom for showcasing your home. For other spaces in the home try to keep it to one use – the dining room should be shown as a dining room, not a place to do homework or as a drop off zone for miscellaneous items. Here in this photo, an unused space in the basement became another bedroom.






8. Clean


This costs you nothing other than a lot of elbow grease. Clean your home like you have never cleaned before with extra emphasis on spaces that really need to come across as sanitary like the kitchen and bathrooms. I like the idea of using non-toxic cleaners – one of which smells great if you wipe surfaces with it before a showing – Mrs. Myers Clean Day Lavender Countertop spray. 

9. Rental Furniture and Accessories


If you have a few gaps here and there throughout your home, or if you are a developer ready to list a vacant home, rental furniture options are numerous. When budgeting for rental furniture in a very general estimate you can expect to pay about $500/room per month for a fully furnished room. Typical drop off and pick up fees are about $200 for the Toronto area. The rental companies usually discount the rental fee after the first month as well. If there are no focal points within each room, buyers will have difficulty envisioning the intended use of the space or seeing their own furniture in the room and how they would use the space within the property. Creating an environment with rental furniture and carefully selected accessories will also promote emotional connection to a space.


10. Time

Don’t wait until the last minute to stage your home. Giving yourself a week to prepare your home for sale is not enough time. You may want to take time to declutter your home and donate or give away items to friends and family. Pre-pack and store items you want to keep but you don’t need now. If you have to paint some areas, do some landscaping or need repairs done, book trades well in advance. I cannot emphasize this point enough. When spring rolls around this is when they are busiest. It will also relieve a lot of stress knowing that you have created a plan in advance and paced yourself without you or your family feeling harried and stressed!

0 views