Image Courtesy of The House Hippo

No matter how volatile the market, there is one constant – people selling their homes want to get the most money possible for their property.  Sometimes this means household repairs, or even a more significant renovation to help move the property in the next price bracket.

Today houses are listed online and need sleek photos that will make people want to view the property in person.  The tricks of a professional stager and a fantastic photographer can help give your space that added zip to whet a potential buyer’s appetite.

In addition to the items recommended by your real estate agent, there is also immense value that can be provided by a professional stager.  Don’t have the budget for a stager or the rental furniture recommendations?  No problem, we’ve compiled 6 effective staging tips that will make potential buyers go gaga for your home.

Light It Up
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Image Courtesy of Yustusa

Something as simple as light, or the illusion of light, can make even the smallest space feel and appear larger.  A big complaint of professional stagers is that most homes aren’t properly lit.  A good rule of thumb is to aim for 100 watts of light for every 50 square feet.  This can be a combination of ceiling, ambient, or accented lighting.

Rooms with minimal natural light, like basements and long hallways, will need to be amped up the most.  Leave no fixture without an appropriate finish.  Budget strapped?  No problem, as many hardware stores offer simple discount lines that can make a huge difference for a nominal price. No overhead lighting in a darker space?  Purchase some table and floor lamps to add some warmth.

Most people think of mirrors as a way to increase the appearance of a small space.  What they don’t realize is that mirrors can add even more light to a room, particularly when positioned across from a window, to bring in more natural light.  Large mirrors can be pricey, so consider placing a smaller collage of mirrors to create a similar impact for less coin.

Choose Your Colour Palette Wisely
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Image Courtesy of Stage My Own Home

A study completed in March 2015 by the International Journal of Marketing Studies revealed that, “cleanliness, scent, and colour” all act as strong influencers in customer perception and attitude. Keep this in mind when painting your space for sale.  It’s best to stick to light and neutral palettes. This means that just because your son loves his Kermit the Frog Green walls doesn’t mean that a potential buyer will.

A good rule of thumb is that if the walls haven’t been painted in more than two years, then it’s time to pull out the rollers and the tarps.  When selecting a palette avoid dark colours, particularly in smaller rooms, like bathrooms.  Painting the ceilings white will add the illusion of height to your walls.   Things feel too beige?  Add a pop of colour with some bright pillows or some dynamic artwork.

Remove Your Family’s Footprint From The Home
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Image Courtesy of Cool Mom Tech

Family photos are important mementos to you, but they mean nothing to those who are viewing the property.  Again you want people to envision themselves, not your family, in the home.  Remove the family portraits and put up artwork instead. Professional Home Stager Melissa Barronton says, “I love to use travel prints to display a lifestyle to the buyer—without getting too personal.”  Don’t have anything appropriate? Ask friends and family to lend you some, or connect with a local gallery to rent some pieces that will work well with your space and its colour scheme.

Cleanliness Is Next To…A Much Larger Price Tag
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Image Courtesy of This Lady’s House

Authors of the International Journal of Marketing Studies report Riaz Hussain and Mazhar Ali say, “Cleanliness has a significant impact on purchase intention of consumers.” Clutter and dirt is a distraction to potential buyers.  It may also leave them wondering what else, in terms of home maintenance and repair, has been neglected.  Simple steps can be taken to reduce the clutter to make kitchens and bathrooms appear more spacious, and with greater storage capacities.  In the kitchen put all of the toasters, coffee makers, and utensils away to highlight the ample counter space.  Keep the appliances clean and clear of clutter – this means minimal fridge magnets and knickknacks.

One of the main items that real estate agents and home stagers complain about is when sellers decide to cut corners and costs on cleaning.  When you hire a professional cleaning service you can request that they pay particular attention to appliances, baseboards, the insides and outsides of cupboards, and all of the windows.  Research on staging by MoneySense found that many maid services have “seller’s packages” that start around $200, a worthwhile investment.  These services will clean items that you won’t think to, and will save you the time to get other areas of your home ready for sale.

All that cleaning stressing you out?  Consider staying with relatives, friends, or at a nearby AirBnB for the time period around open houses to ensure that the freshly cleaned space remains pristine.

A First Impression Is A Lasting One
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Image Courtesy of Houzz

Many people spend so much time focusing on the inside of their home that they neglect their front yard, walkway and driveway which are the first things people see when visiting the home.  Make sure the front of the home makes people want to cross the welcome mat.  Particular attention to weeding, a manicured lawn, a new coat of paint on the front door, and quality house numbers are what agents are talking about when they mention curb appeal.  So get out that power wash accessory for your hose, or rent one from your neighbourhood big box hardware store, and power wash your driveway, walkways, patio, and deck.

A Smaller Investment
While splurging on furniture rentals and other staging necessities may be outside of the seller’s budget, hiring a professional stager for a one-hour consultation is a lot lighter on the pocketbook.  These consults generally last for about an hour, and start at around $250.  Just be sure to take notes so you can implement their ideas and recommendations yourself.  Contact your selling agent for recommendations.