Home Staging & Other Home Improvements Tips from Real Estate & Home Staging Experts

What’s the secret to getting my home sold in today’s real estate market? With more homes on the real estate market, you need to make yours stand out.

Properly prepared homes will sell quicker and for a better price.   Consider the following checklists before listing your home to get the best return on your biggest investment.

Air Quality

   Air quality, odour, pets and holiday decorations can determine whether or not buyers will make

  an offer on your home. Most people do not think about these but they are an important part of

  preparing your home for sale. Buyers want to envision themselves living in the house, and if the

  home is not presented in a manner that will allow them to do that easily, most buyers will move
    Air Quality

       __  Check for mold, mildew or water damage and have it repaired.

       __  Depending on what year your house was built, have your house checked for asbestos
             and lead paint.

       __  Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace if needed.


       __  Avoid cooking with strong seasonings and foods that have a lingering smell.


      __  Remove your pets while the house is being shown.

      __  Remove any signs of the pets (e.g. food and water bowls, toys, litter box, leashes).

      __  If your pets must stay in the house, hide any sign of the pet during showings.

      __  Keep the litter box out of sight and clean daily.

            If your home is for sale during a holiday, decorate using items that are simple and

            Any holiday specific decorations need to be removed immediately after the celebrations.


Curb Appeal

     Your exterior says a lot about how your home is maintained both inside and out. When buyers drive

     by your home or view photos online this will create a lasting impression, so show them that your

     property is well cared for. When buyers see an attractive exterior they will be eager to stop and

     excited to view the interior as well.
     __  Make a list of major repairs that are needed such as roofing, siding and lighting. Make as
           many of these repairs as possible.
     __  Make a list of minor repairs needed such as painting, or minor landscaping. Make as many
           of these repairs as possible.

      __  Sweep or shovel walkways, driveways, patio/deck (salt in the winter).

     __  Maintain front, back and side yard. Ensure lawns are mowed, shrubs are pruned and flower
           beds are weeded.

     __  Add flowers or winter arrangements on your front porch and/or in front of the garage.

     __  Remove all festive lights and decorations.



   Depersonalizing is an important step when it comes to selling your home. It means that you

   need to let go emotionally and this can be a tough process. Now that you have made the

   decision to move, you need to commit and remove your identity from the house. Focus on

   turning your home into a ”model home”. Disconnecting yourself from your house will allow

   buyers to emotionally connect and envision themselves living there, not feeling that they are

   guests in your home.

     __  Remove all personal and family photos.

     __  Remove all memorabilia.

     __  Pre-pack books and music that do not appeal to a wide range of buyers.

     __  Pre-pack your collections.

     __  Remove and pre-pack any items that could be potentially offensive or disagreeable.

     __  Store away and organize children’s toys, games and books.


   Flooring is a very important part of preparing your home for sale. Buyers want a home that is

   move-in ready and the flooring will reveal to them how well the home has been maintained.

   Up-to-date flooring is one of the top selling features buyers are looking for.

     __  If the carpets look worn out or dirty, have them professionally cleaned.

     __  If the carpets are old, damaged or significantly out of date, consider replacement flooring.

     __  Take into consideration the rooms that you are putting carpet in, as this will help to
           determine what style you select (e.g. bedroom vs. rec room).
     __  If you need to replace the carpet, select something that will work with the existing flooring
           in the house.
     __  If you have vinyl flooring, consider what condition it is in and if it needs to be replaced.
           Keep in mind that different looks can be created with vinyl, including ceramic, slate and
           stone without the added expense.
     __  If you have hardwood flooring, even if it is underneath carpet, consider what condition
           it is in. Refinish the flooring if possible.

Furniture Placement & Lighting

   Proper furniture placement will display the room to its full potential. Keep in mind the traffic flow

   and how the buyers will walk through each room. Lighting is also a key factor when it comes to

   preparing your home for sale. Make sure to have all lights on for pictures and showings. When

   your furniture and lighting are properly placed, you will be able to show off the prime features

   and allow buyers to see the specific function of each room.


     __  Consider how much furniture is in each room – too much furniture can make a room look


     __  Arrange furniture to ensure proper traffic flow from room to room.

     __  If furniture is oversized, remove some pieces to make the room look more spacious.

     __  If furniture is worn, old or outdated, consider buying new pieces or renting furniture for

           while your home is on the market.

     __  Ensure there is lots of light in each room, including corners.

     __  Consider replacing light switches with dimmer switches.

     __  If permanent light fixtures are dated or in poor condition, replace them.


Home Inspection

   Consider having your home inspected before it is listed. By having this done you will learn if

   there are any major repairs needed and can address them before the house goes on the

   market. This will also show buyers and their agents that you have been proactive. When it

   comes to finding the right home inspector, your RE/MAX agent is your best source for

   recommending someone. Once the inspection is completed you will be able to determine

   what the next steps are in preparing your home for sale.


Things to think about...



     __  Do your lights flicker, breakers or fuses blow?

     __  Do you have a fuse box or electrical panel?

     __  Do you have aluminum wiring or knob and tube?



     __  What condition is your plumbing in?


     Furnace / Hot Water Tank

     __  How old is your furnace?

     __  How often do you replace your furnace filters?

     __  Do you have a water softener?



     __  Is your roof in good condition?

     __  What condition is your foundation in?

     __  If you have a deck or patio; what condition are they in?

Main Selling Rooms

   The overall impression of your entire home is important, but most buyers will focus on your

   main selling rooms first, so you need to make sure that these rooms have an exceptional

   first impression.

     Front Entrance

     __  Other rooms should look presentable when standing in the front entrance.

     __  Create a spacious feeling in the entrance.

     __  Put away all clutter, shoes, jackets and keys behind closet doors.


     __  The kitchen should look and feel clean and crisp when you walk into it.

     __  Determine what needs to be done if your kitchen needs some updating.

     __  Paint cupboards or update hardware if necessary.

     Living Room

     __  Make the room feel inviting to show buyers that they can comfortably entertain here.

     __  Be sure the room has a focal point.

     __  Position the furniture to highlight the focal point.

     __  Assess if any repairs or upgrades are needed.

     Dining Room

     __  Ensure the room shows its function.

     __  Ensure the furniture is positioned for dining and entertaining.

     __  Assess if any repairs or upgrades are needed.

     Main Floor Family Room / Great Room

     __  Ensure the room has a clear function.

     __  Ensure the furniture is positioned for proper traffic flow and comfort.

     __  Assess if any repairs or upgrades are needed.

     Master Bedroom

     __  Create a feeling of calm in the room.

     __  Position furniture to create space.

     __  Ensure bedding is well displayed.

     __  Assess if any repairs or upgrades are needed.


     __  Clear clutter and personal grooming products from surfaces.

     __  Replace old linens.

     __  Assess if any repairs or upgrades are needed.


   Buyers want to purchase a home that is move-in ready and this includes the paint colour.
   If your house is painted in very bright or unusual colours, then potential buyers may be
   turned off or feel that they can negotiate on your asking price. Neutral colours are restful
   to the eye and most buyers want to live in the home for awhile before deciding if they want
   to change the paint colour.
     __  Consider painting if it has been more than five years since the room was last painted.
     __  Determine whether or not your home has a warm tone or cool tone before selecting a
           paint colour.

     __  Paint in neutral tones that appeal to the widest range of buyers.

     __  Select colours that are restful on the eyes and create the right mood.

     __  Remove wallpaper.

     __  Freshen up doors and trim with a coat of paint.

     __  Repair any holes or cracks in the walls and ceilings.

     __  Paint the ceilings for a completely refreshed clean look.

Pre-packing, Clutter & Editing

   Preparing your home for sale is not just about pre-packing, clutter and editing, but this is
   a big part of it. Your house needs to be neat, clean and orderly. Organizing and
   pre-packing items that are not regularly used will create a spacious feeling. Storage is
   one of the top items on a buyer’s list; therefore it is necessary to show them that your
   home has the space they want and need.
     __  Create a spacious feeling in each room.

     __  Be sure your house sparkles from top to bottom.

     __  Avoid powerful smelling cleaning products.

     __  Pre-pack all items that you do not need while your house is for sale.

     __  Pre-pack off season clothing and items.

     __  Decide where you can store your boxes and extra items.

     __  Clear clutter out of the garage to show buyers their vehicle will fit.

     __  If your basement is used for storage, be sure it is organized and tidy.

Updates & Repairs

   Take an objective look at your house to determine what updates and repairs are necessary.
   Based on your timeline and budget you will be able to determine what needs to be completed
   to improve the overall presentation of your home. Buyers today are looking to purchase a home
   that does not require work. They are also willing to pay more for a house that has been well
   looked after, so show them that your home is in turn key condition.

     __  Create a list of repairs that are needed.

     __  Create a budget and timeline for these repairs.

     __  Think of updates that you have been putting off that need to be completed.

     __  Repair or replace even the smallest items.

     __  Consider the condition of your windows.

     __  Consider the condition of your permanent light fixtures.

     __  Consider the condition of your doors and trim.

     __  Repair any holes or cracks in the walls.

     __  Keep in mind that if significant updates are needed, kitchens and bathroom updates
           will provide the greatest return on investment.
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