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By Dana J. Smithers

Getting to "Open House Ready"
By Dana J. Smithers

Preparing your house for selling can be a daunting and overwhelming task whether you have lived in your home a few years or many. The longer you have lived in your home the more things you will have acquired. The intent of this Top 10 Tips for Successful Home Staging is to help you save TIME, MONEY & ENERGY.

In preparing your house for selling you need to take a step back and have the mind set that this is no longer your home but your investment for your future. You want your home to have broad buyer appeal to your target market. Following these 10 Tips for Successful Home Staging will help you sell your house sooner and possibly for more money than if you did not prepare it for selling! Remember most people want to move into their new home without having to make updates to it.

  1. Curb Appeal – stand back and view your home as if you were seeing it for the first time. This is the 'first impression' stage. Depending on the season you may want to have pots of colourful and attractive flowers to greet buyers; a clean and inviting door mat; new and shiny door handles and/or knockers; a freshly painted door – black is my favourite colour!

  2. Declutter – start your pre-pack as soon as possible. You need to decide what you are going to keep, give away, sell or throw away/recycle. Many clients will rent storage lockers or have pods delivered so they can start to clear out what is not going to make the house look good.

  3. Clean – you would think this one is common sense but let me assure you, I wish it was so! A clean home translates into 'They must have really cared for their home.” Use environmentally friendly cleaners where you can, for hard cleaning areas tsp is a good product. Bathrooms and kitchens must be sparkling clean at the very least.

  4. Depersonalize – we know you love your family photos and your personal treasures and for living they are perfect. For selling pack them up carefully so you can showcase them in your new home. For selling you want buyers to focus on the best features of your home and not your personal things or collections. 

  5. A neutral colour scheme is the way to go for selling. Choose only 3 colours or less to paint your house for selling. If you have an open floor plan then paint the main floor all the same colour. Bedrooms look good in light sage greens or warm blues like the new aqua.

  6. Highlight your home's best architectural features – place your furniture in each room so that you have very obvious focal points that show off the home's best selling features. For example, if you have a beautiful fireplace then place the furniture in a parallel grouping so that the eye is drawn to the fireplace.

  7. Decide on the function in each room – if you were using your guest bedroom as your den for living, for selling turn it back into a bedroom with bedroom furniture in it. If you do not have the right furniture for each room consider renting it. There are more and more rental furnishing companies opening up every day. If you don't want to rent then borrow.

  8. Lighting your home to its best advantage – spend money on new  light fixtures in brushed nickel or stainless steel. Brass is out so don't fight it. There are many low-cost lighting stores to select from so no excuses for having dated light fixtures.

  9. Window treatments that sell your home – the most popular on the market are the 2” faux woods in a white tone to go with your trim. Decorative side panels will do the trick if you need to add warmth and colour.

  10. Flooring needs special attention and is a good investment for updating the look of your home – tile or linoleum is great for entranceways, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms; a good quality laminate or hardwood is perfect for living rooms and family rooms; bedrooms are attractive in a neutral carpet.

By planning and budgeting you can get yourself to the "OPEN HOUSE READY" stage.

Remember that over 79% of prospective buyers have already checked you out through the MLS listings. Will they like what they see?

Happy Selling!

About the Author

Dana J. Smithers, President of the PRES Staging Resource Centre is the author of Start & Run a Home Staging Business, and has written several eBooks for the DIY Home Seller. She appears regularly on television, international radio, podcasts and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences. She left a successful 20 year corporate job to pursue her passion of decorating and teaching and fell in love with the results one-day home makeovers could bring. She launched her first solopreneur business, Sun On My Back Redesigns over a decade ago and now thrives on teaching her certified professional PRES® staging training courses on-line and off-line. She offers business support through coaching and mentoring home stagers worldwide; professional development courses, teleseminars and webinars so graduates are supported and the learning is on-going. In 2002 she was a founding member of the Canadian ReDesigners Association and several years ago launched her own PRES® Staging Resource Centre. She is passionately committed to the success of women entrepreneurs in the home staging industry and is expanding her reach to other countries around the world where home staging is just becoming known.

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