Home Staging Guide


When listing your home for sale on the open market first impressions are everything. The bigger the WOW factor for a buyer when they view your home be better your chances are of:

a. Getting the most amount for your home possible

b. Increase the chance of multiple offers, as a result likely receiving more than ask price.

c. Potentially receiving an offer with fewer conditions

To make a great first impression it is absolutely essential that you stage your home for sale. By thinking "how would my home be presented if it were a show home?" you will get a better understanding of the objectivity that comes into play.

Where do we begin?

Question: When you sell your home, will you then buy another? If so, what will you be looking for in your next home? Go to open houses and note how the condition of the home makes you "feel". What were your first impressions?

Now remember, this is how a potential buyer will view YOUR house!


Buyers' eyes

If you visit SHOW HOMES, you will feel a sense that "there is no work to be done" once you move in. You are not selling a "new" home but it should be your mission to create that same sense among the buyers that will visit you home. Failure to do so could most certainly result in a lower sales price because buyers will now be adding up "all that needs to be done" and that equates to time AND money.




Excellent features and benefits your home possesses are great, however, often times it only takes ONE negative to turn off a buyer. Once a buyer's attention is directed to a negative in the home, it is difficult for them to see beyond that negative. Examples of such negatives are:

How do you turn these negatives into positives? You make every effort to fix them BEFORE the first buyer and/or agent sees your home. If an agent sees them and shows the house, there is a good possibility that same agent will not show the home again knowing it is in need of repairs (reducing your pool of buyers)


BUYER RULE: because a buyer's eyes are often drawn to negatives first, they begin to exaggerate those negatives in their mind. Worst still, after reviewing several homes, they tend to name the home after the negative, example, "the home that smells like cigarettes"

SELLER MYTH: "If it looks good enough, it probably is".

REALITY: The home buying decision happens very quickly in the mind. This decision may not be communicated but it happens very quickly nonetheless. That decision could be a "no" or a "yes" but again, it will happen quickly. People will often times buy on emotions and then justify their decision later.

Uncluttering - Cleaning - Repairing - Neutralizing

Absolute Musts!




Simply the process of making your house appear spacious and organized. It is the removing of unnecessary or even distracting elements of your home. It is also the relocation of furniture to enable a buyer to visually experience the spaciousness of your house.


Send us a request for our complete checklist free of charge with no obligation!

Short form checklist with considerations to make when uncluttering:


a) Stand where the buyer would as they approach each room. What can you do to make it look uncluttered, spacious, and bright! This may mean:

- Moving furniture                              - storing away unnecessary items of clothing

- Increasing wattage in light fixtures   - putting away knick - knacks etc.

- Cleaning both sides of windows


b) Ask yourself what is important in THIS room? What could I do to make it stand out more than it already does?

- Put away magazines / reduce number of books (items of personal taste)

- Place something like a flower or neutral ornament along side books on shelves

- Create a "reading invitation", clear an area where you may sit and read, clear it up and turn a light on beside it for showings. Open a book and place it on a table near the chair, perhaps even draping an afghan over the chair. (Create an inviting feeling)


c) You are NOT selling your collectibles or valuables; people tend to leave these items out in the open. Store them away except for a few, and DO NOT place more than three of anything on a shelf, table or counter top.


d) Avoid displaying stuffed animals and/or taxidermy; a buyer may have strong feelings toward animals and hunting. Remember you are selling your home not creating a museum of fine art.


e) Kitchen and bathrooms are the most crucial areas from a clutter point of view as well as cleanliness. Remove just about everything from kitchen and bathroom counters; in addition organize items by size and labels facing forward. You want to display an organized way of living and allow the buyers to envision themselves preparing a meal on the spacious counter tops.


f) Plants can work for and against you, if you are not planning on taking plants with you when you move, discard the ones that may be dying or look distressed. Take down hanging plants as most times they reduce light entering a room. It has been discovered that plants look better (for sales purposes) when someone looks down on them.


g) Pets, you love them, they are part of your family. There are some things to remember:

1. Not all people love animals or at least in their homes

2. Some are allergic to animals (this could prevent them from even viewing the interior)

3. Some find pet odors offensive

4. Often times a pet objects to strangers and risking a bite, scratch or even incessant barking or noise is certainly NOT in your best interest

5. Before placing your home on the market, consider professional cleaning and deodorizing an absolute MUST DO! You are NOT going to get rid of your pets, so get rid of the appearance of pets and their odors.

Make sure your pet is NOT in the house when it is shown


h) Children’s toys, intentionally displaying a FEW toys is a good staging technique as it shows children are welcome. However a lot of toys create a storage problem in the buyers' mind, so box up all but a few.


i) Laundry, put away all the cleaning supplies in one location, neatly stacked or stored.


j) Garage. How do you make a garage look good? Really it’s not that difficult. Find a place for everything and when you can box it up and remove it from your house. Try and arrange things to present a spacious place in which a car COULD be parked as well as providing storage for tools. *Tip* Use degreaser for surface stains visible on the garage floor.




When a buyer can see dirt, it is hard to stay positive. Most people professionally detail their car when they are ready to sell it. We do this for an asset that typically decreases in value from the day we purchase it but do not pay the same attention to ours homes that historically go up in value. If you want to bring "top dollar" for your home, consider having it professionally cleaned, it may be the best $200-$400 you ever spend.



The sun is a great ally in selling your home. Make it easy for sunlight to enter your home from every window. Windows should be cleaned on both sides and maintained this way as best you can while your home is on the market.

Curtains and Drapes

Have them dry cleaned or laundered. If they are old or in need of replacement, consider installing mini-blinds, which are inexpensive, and provide for a more spacious look and feel. *Tip* If you have custom blinds or blinds you wish to take with you, remove them BEFORE the first buyer sees the home. This will avoid a "sticking point" in the transaction if the buyer wants them included.

Light fixtures

Oftentimes overlooked, make sure you have bright lights. This may mean upping the wattage in the bulbs you select. Wash light fixtures both inside and outside the house eliminating bugs and dust. Clean faceplates for outlets and light switches, if they are "yellowish" in colour, replace them.


Wash and wax vinyl, linoleum, and wood floors; look at your carpet from a buyer's eyes, do they need replacing? Have the carpets cleaned before listing, and if you’re a smoker refrain from smoking in the house after carpets have been cleaned.

Woodwork and Doors

Clean and polish, paint or refinish if necessary. If you own an older home, consider replacing doorknobs and hinges to brighten up the rooms without spending much money to do so. The front door is the most crucial spot in your house as it is the first indication of what is inside. Clean or refinish the door and ensure the front entrance is clean and organized, replace doorknob if there is trouble with a sticky key. *TIP* consider a door wreath or potted plant by the front door.





Soon after you sell your home you will be in the position of a buyer, think of the homes you will look at, what effect would a broken doorknob or a missing tile in the washroom have on you? Repair, Replace or paint should be top of mind when listing, ask your Realtor® for sound advise on what looks in distress in your home. This is another instance when your Realtor's knowledge helps, being critical of problem areas should be taken constructively and applied to ensure the best transaction possible.


ATTACK: Look at it this way; your real estate consultant has a lot of initial work to do preparing to promote your home to the general public and to other real estate agents. Develop a timeline of activities on your part and the part of your consultant. For example, while you are making your repairs, your Realtor can gather information, and prepare notification to other agents that you're home is on the market. The day and minute that YOU say your house is ready to be shown, the sign goes up, your home is applied to the MLS, all on the same day. You want to hit the market running, there is no need to be apprehensive, your home is READY and so are YOU!


Home Inspections: It is very common that a buyers get home inspections on properties they are interested in purchasing. By completing repairs BEFORE showing your home, you will avoid these repairs being pointed out to a buyer by an inspector. This could potentially drive them away as extra work is needed, avoid this scenario and complete repairs before listing.



Examples of repairs typically needed before listing

  1. Painting or refinishing the front door (think first impression)
  2. Replacing broken or cracked glass
  3. Replacing torn screens
  4. Removing stains from the floor
  5. Repairing holes in the wall
  6. Repainting walls and woodwork as necessary
  7. Fixing leaking faucets
  8. Painting the bottom shelf of cabinets beneath faucets (they all tend to leak at one time or another)
  9. Replace plumbing fixtures that have become pitted or rusted
  10. Deodorizing carpets and drapes
  11. Repairing damaged tile grout
  12. Clean and/or replace deck boards
  13. Replace broken fence boards




Creating a NEUTRAL environment is essential to removing obstacles in a buyer's mind. You want to create the feeling with the buyer that they are "coming home".



Personal family photos and great when you are living in your home, but you are now selling your house. You want a buyer to envision making memories in the house not spending time looking at yours. By creating an environment with the least distractions you allow the buyer/s to focus on the home itself.

Political Material

Political and other opinionated material should be out of sight when showing your home. People have varying beliefs and morals, by displaying these items you are potentially reducing your buyer pool by igniting emotions in certain buyers. Do you really care who purchases your home? Remove these "road blocks" for better showings.


Another very sensitive subject that should not enter into the sale of your home; Again, we must eliminate distractions, especially deep personal affects like shrines and other religious material. The less opinion you display the larger the un-offended buyer pool remains.


Collectibles and displaying personal hobbies or interests are other examples of items you should put away for showings. The presence of hobbies can be overwhelming in a house, also consider the fact that if a buyer has interest in one of your collectables, they might want it included in the purchase.

Paint Colours/ Schemes

Neutral, warm, and inviting colours are a good idea when staging your home. Avoid bright and loud colours; neutral colours are easier to paint over than bright colours. Keep things current; don’t choose colours or patterns that are old or dated.


We hope you found this guide helpful and insightful. If you would like a detailed Checklist on staging drop us a line by phone or email.


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