How your home is presented to qualified and motivated buyers can make all the difference. But people often think staging is a daunting and expensive process. In our experience, it doesn’t have to be. Small interventions can go a long way, depending, of course, on the condition your property is in.

Before investing in accessories, attention should be focused on repairing what is broken that could signal the existence of a problem with the structure or the envelope of the building. Only after you make these repairs, should you invest in minimal décor items that will make your house look like a clean and put together home.

At this point we have already discussed the condition of your property in detail to make sure your declarations are bulletproof to avoid surprises at inspection. Our purpose here is to outline the smaller details to prepare your home to show at its best.

Making a great first impression:

The tone is set by your neighbourhood and your street. You have little control over how your neighbours maintain their properties, but you should project the impression of having been diligently caring for yours.

Here is a checklist of big impact items to spruce up before putting your home on the market:

  • Fix cracked pathways, driveways and front steps
  • Clean up entrance porch
  • Fix broken handrails
  • Make sure the doors (including the garage door) are clean and in good condition (does it need a coat of paint? Is the handle fixed properly? Do any glass panels need to be replaced?)
  • Make sure exterior lighting is sufficient and working properly
  • Clear away cobwebs
  • Make sure the house numbers are clean and well installed
  • If painting is not an option, power wash and paint only the trim around windows. This is another high impact small intervention
  • Clear all debris from the front yard (old furniture, broken planters, etc.)
  • Trim bushes (ideally below the windowsill to let a maximum of light in the house)
  • Make sure garbage bins are concealed and organized
  • Adding two potted plants on either side of the door adds a touch of grandeur
  • Work with a broker that uses professional photography to showcase your home

Staging the interior:

Step 1: Prepare:

Much like mentioned above, the priority should be repairing anything that could create the impression of the existence of a defect or a problem:

  • Invest in a cleaning professional to remove accumulated grime from all surfaces (clean windows inside-out, don’t forget the kitchen hood, the oven, etc.)
  • Fix cracks and humidity traces of old resolved issues
  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles and patch any holes in the walls
  • Fix leaky faucets and doors that don't close properly, as well as kitchen drawers that jam
  • Tighten lose handles
  • Replace caulking around tubs, showers and sinks
  • Replace broken glass panels
  • Make sure all lightbulbs work and are of a uniform warm light (avoid cold white LED lightbulbs)
  • Make sure blinds and curtains are operational and properly installed
  • A slightly more invasive intervention that could yield massive impact is painting walls in neutral colours if your colours are dark or particular

 Step 2: Depersonalizing:

We want to allow potential buyers to see themselves in the home and make them forget that someone else lives there in the meantime. We want to remove distractions and too much evidence of your lifestyle as it may not be theirs.

A well-crafted gallery wall can stay, but we could work together to cover super personal photos with more generic ones for the time the house will be on the market.

Staging Advice

Natural tones work best for a neutral canvas while still conveying a lived-in feeling.

Step 3: Decluttering:  

We want to show the purpose of each room and we want to show that each use or activity a buyer is looking for in a home has a dedicated space in your property. We want to convey this message with minimal distractions. We want buyers looking at the house, not the belongings. They need to be able to visualize themselves and their stuff in your home.

We also want to provide the impression that there is no shortage of storage in the home, so make sure your counter tops are bare, your closets and cabinets are tidy and keeping the minimum necessary for everyday life.

Products, sponges and rags should be put away as well in the bathrooms and the kitchen.

Make sure you put your valuables and important documents away from sight in a safe place. A member of our team will always be present at visits, but it is best to be extra safe.

*Consider renting a storage unit. The return on investment of decluttering can be significant.

How to prepare your home for sale

Removing products from counter-tops and showers for a clean, spacious look.

Step 4: Time to put your Pinterest boards to use!

Now that you have a neutral base, it is time to warm it up to bring in that lived-in feeling. We believe a couple of strategically located touches will go a long way:

  • Plants add a romantic lived-in vibe and convey a healthy, bright environment
  • A throw and tone-on-tone pillows add texture and warmth. Keep it neutral and natural-looking.
  • A few books, a candle, a vase, a frame are perfect ways to dress up a shelf — positioning books horizontally provides breathing room
  • An elegant soap bottle, a candle, a small plant and fluffy spa towels are sufficient to spruce up the bathroom (We like to remove floor carpets and keep the towels to a minimum depending on the space)
  • Avoid strong air fresheners as they could give the impression that you are trying to mask a smell. Opt for a diffuser with a mild essential oil instead

Step 5: Showtime!

  • Avoid cooking smelly foods prior to showings
  • Make sure garbage is taken out and bathrooms are clean
  • Put away dirty laundry and dishes
  • Air out musty areas if necessary

You can count on our expertise through every step of the process, our services include as many walk-throughs as necessary to ensure all the steps above are optimized.

All our resources are at your disposal. From cleaning crews to repair-people and contractors, to furniture rentals, storage services and more, we have prequalified our resources so you can hire them with total peace of mind.

By Ana Duque