Easy steps to help you enhance your home – and increase your chances of a faster sale

Even the most well-decorated home may need help with staging – or organizing a home attractively – to sell. Why? Because what works in your home may not actually highlight the best selling features of your home – which is exactly what buyers are looking for.

Real estate staging helps to create a "wow" factor and to downplay any negatives. Done well, staging may help you:

-Reduce the number of days your home is on the market
-Sell faster in a slower market
-Create a bidding war in a hot market
-Develop a home experience for buyers that sticks with them long after they leave

Bev O'Shea-Thomas works with a local staging expert. Read these tips for staging to sell – and then call Bev at (780) 445-8267 to discuss the value of creating impact with staging.

Stage your kitchen

If your kitchenhas all the upgrades, great – you should be in good shape to sell. If you have older appliances, laminate countertops or other items that are not considered upgrades for buyers, try to:

-Showcase how clean the kitchen is by scrubbing everything and polishing wood & steel
-Organize cupboards and the fridge meticulously – you can never look too organized
-Take down wall hangings, fridge magnets and decorative plateware
-Hang fresh tea towels and put out fresh placemats
-Place a few drops of vanilla extract on a pie plate and place in a hot oven for a few minutes (but don't burn it!)

Investing in new appliances, new handles/knobs for cupboards and simple subway tile for your backsplash can also help to give your kitchen a bit more appeal.

Stage the master bedroom

For best results, your master bedroom should feel like a retreat. Buyers today are extremely busy juggling work lives and family, so do not underestimate the value in creating a hotel-like experience in your bedroom. Here's how:

-Invest in luxurious bed linens, which you can take with you when you go
-Create a modern headboard by covering a large piece of plywood with padding and fabric in a muted pattern and attaching this to the wall
-Place toss-cushions on your bed and drape a wool blanket at the foot of the bed
-Replace all personal photos & other items on your side tables with a simple lamp & a stack of older books
-Pull back curtains for a bright room, or drape dramatic window treatments to disguise views of roadways or neighbours' homes

Stage your bathrooms

Cleanliness is most important in bathrooms. Start staging with a full scrub-down of the bathroom – including grout, around the drains and at the base of the toilet. Then, make the bathroom as bare as you can – basically, a clean slate. From this point:

-Purchase fresh white towels – the fluffier, the better – and place them around the room, rolling hand-towels & putting them in baskets and hanging bath towels
-Throw away old shower liners and clean or replace your shower curtain
-To make the space feel larger, place mirrors on countertops & hang a mirror on a blank wall
-Throw away worn-out bath mats and either leave bare or replace with a fresh, thick mat
-For a fresher feel, add a vase of tall flowers & a few white pillar candles

Stage children's & guest rooms

The person who buys your home may or may not have children, so, if you have children, don't depend on every buyer wanting to see all the toys & other items you think are so cute. Make these rooms inviting but impersonal by:

-Taking down posters and storing CDs, TVs, DVDs and other 'noisy' electronics
-Replacing queen-sized beds with double beds in smaller rooms
-Organizing closets and removing all clutter
-Washing the walls & windows thoroughly
-Spraying a room freshener lightly before any viewings

Window treatments & wallpaper

You may love your floral window coverings and your Elvis Lives border in the den… but only 1 in 100 buyers may like either. Don't take your chances.

-Remove loud wallpaper – including heavy prints & borders – if possible
-Replace plaid, floral & other print window treatments with an inexpensive Roman blind
-Paint over wallpaper & basement paneling with a simple, light colour
-Disguise old stonework around a fireplace with bright green plants in simple pots

Carpeting & flooring

If your carpet is old or dirty, replace it room-by-room with a contemporary Berber. This may cost you a few hundred dollars or so per room, but it will be critical to the sale of your home for your listing price. (If a buyer believes she will need to replace flooring, she will factor that into her offer price.)
For hardwood, tile & laminate flooring, buff out any scuffs and place small ornamental rugs in areas that feel cold.