Mary Pinelli

Your home has only one chance to make that important first impression. Any experienced listing agent will tell you that staging really does work when selling your property. I'm always amazed by the effect it has on buyers. No matter who the buyer is or where they come from, everyone chooses the property that is clean, bright and well laid out. If staging didn't work, model homes would be empty. The good news is that it doesn't need to be expensive.

Here are some of my own tips that I share with my sellers to ensure a successful sale:

1) De-clutter. When a buyer walks into a room that is full of too much "stuff", they perceive the space as being too small and they often can't see beyond the clutter. You'll need to pack when you move anyway so clear it out now!

2) Remove personal photos and religious items from walls. The goal is for buyers to envision themselves living in the space which is hard to do with family portraits around the home or condo.

3) To prepare for photos, remove magnets from the fridge and clear the kitchen counters of any appliances, even the toaster and coffee maker. Although a nice coffee maker looks nice in person, it appears as clutter in a picture. Freeing up the counter space makes the kitchen look larger. You can see this for yourself by taking your own before and after pictures. What a difference!

4) Clean. Ensure your home or condo is clean, neat and free of all odours before each showing. Some buyers might even open your fridge, oven and closets so clean everything. If it's too much for you to do yourself, hire a cleaning lady. The one-time cost is well worth it.

5) If you need to paint, choose neutral colours only. My personal favourite is Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray. It seems to work well with any lighting and furniture.

6) Replace carpeting with hardwood or laminate flooring if you can afford it, especially in the main living areas. I have never in my career met a buyer who was relieved to see carpeting instead of wood flooring. So why not make your space appeal to buyers?

7) Hang more artwork. I have found that most home owners do not have enough artwork. Borrow or buy some inexpensive larger prints. You can even find some great ones at Goodwill. Hang a large print about 8 inches above the top of the sofa. A home looks more modern and inviting with well placed artwork.

8) Ensure your bedding is simple and up to date. The bedroom is a place of rest so it should look serene and peaceful. Often all that is needed is an inexpensive bed in the bag set.

9) Let in light. Keep curtains open for showings so that your home or condo feels bright and airy.

10) If a lightbulb is burned out, replace it. It's a shame to find buyers and their agents who believe there is an electrical problem when the light fixture just needs a new bulb.

11) If you're selling a vacant home or condo, it needs some furniture especially in the bedrooms. Empty bedrooms look much smaller without a bed in it and buyers have a hard time envisioning whether their queen size bed would fit. On a tight budget? Raise an inflatable bed over 4 crates and add your bed in a bag to create a beautiful bed.

12) Don't forget curb appeal if you're selling a house. The exterior is the first thing buyers see so mow the lawn or shovel the driveway.

Are you thinking of selling your home or condo and need staging tips? Contact me today for a free no obligation evaluation.