Staging your home

 With so many homes up for sales these days in Edmonton it is hard to not only make the sale but get the price you want or need to get.  Often those selling their homes feel that it’s perfect just the way it is and if they’re comfortable living in it then everyone else will be too.  This just isn’t always true.  When people are searching for a new home they want to buy a place they can picture themselves living in.  If they walk through the door and can’t see themselves living there they won’t buy, just ask my wife if you don’t believe me.  Sellers need to make the house look and feel comfortable to as many people as possible.  One of the best ways to do this and keep the value of the house up is to stage it.  

Staging can be done in a variety of ways, some a little more expensive and time consuming than others.  Many newly built homes require everything but the kitchen sink.  Designers like Joanna Starko of Jostar Interiors tell me they often take the empty house and fill it with drapes, furniture, pictures, place settings etc.  Not only does the house now look family ready and lived in, but it helps the new home buyers to imagine themselves living there.  For older, lived in family homes, Val Reid from Remax Elite says that not everything in the house needs to be changed.  Of course, the house may need more than a touch up here and there to make it saleable, it may requires some paint, maybe a new door, a cabinet or perhaps a new countertop to make look a little better, but sometimes it’s as simple as de-cluttering a room or two or placing a few silk plants around the house to green things up.

Once the house looks good, sellers tend to think they’ve done enough, but usually they haven’t.  Here are a few things left to consider when staging or getting ready to sell.

One thing everyone will notice as soon as they walk through the door is the cleanliness of the place.  One of the great assets of a newly built home is that it is always neat and clean.  The pristine kitchens, the waxed and shining floor, the blindingly white carpets all catch the buyer’s eye.  Not all occupied, older homes look like a show home. They are lived in and they tend to look like it.  Having a clean fresh smelling home will sell itself.  Some homes have a distinctive smell to them.  A smell that the homeowner may not even be aware of.  Pets, cigarettes, air fresheners, perfume, food and a myriad of other things all lend a distinctive odor to a home.  Even though the homeowner doesn’t notice it, buyers walking through the front door certainly will.  Cleaning the home from top to bottom will help remove any lingering odors and make it look and feel clean.

– start with dusting.  Once you have de-cluttered, painted etc, start dusting.  Dust everything, picture frames, lamps, books, shelves; fridge tops, every surface you can think of.  Once you’ve dusted everything you want to keep the dust to a minimum.  To do this change your furnace filter and install filters in your floor vents.  Most home renovation stores carry filters for your vents, or if you want put a couple of dryer sheets in them to help trap the dust.

– Along with dust comes pet hair.  A great many people are allergic to pet hairs, and too much hair or dander in the house may generate an allergic reaction.  People snuffling and sneezing as they tour the house are unlikely to feel comfortable.  If you have a cat or a dog you need to remove as much pet hair as possible.  Vacuum floors and furniture, and if that doesn’t work, try running a damp rag over the furniture to help pick up hairs.  The filters will help keep some of the pet hair and dander out of the air, but you will have to vacuum and clean on a regular basis.

– Remove any area rugs.  You are having a lot of people walking through your home.  This is a good time to have your Persian carpets and area rugs cleaned.  Have them picked up and cleaned off site and if possible have the carpet cleaning company hold on to them until you need them for your new home.  If not, leave them stored someplace out of the way.

-Once everything else has been done, you need to have your carpets cleaned professionally, and you want to use an environmentally friendly cleaning company like EKO, to get the work done.  You want green not only to have your carpets looking their best but you want to remove any chemicals and odors left in the carpet.

-Along with having the carpets cleaned, you need to have stains removed.  Those crayon marks from the grandkids, red wine stains from one of your wild parties, or perhaps wax from your Christmas candles.  All of those need to come out.  People won’t remember the colors of the walls, but they will remember the red wine stain in the middle of the living room floor. 

– If you have pets, invest in a black light.  Pet urine fluoresces under black light and you will be able to tell exactly where Fido has had an accident, and you will be able to mark it for your carpet cleaner.  Being able to find the exact spot where your pet has peed will help our technician not only eliminate the stain, but the smell as well.

– This is also a good time to get your upholstery cleaned.  Again, if you have pets, you will want to have the pet hair removed from the furniture and any odors, nicotine, coffee etc that have impregnated the fabric cleaned up and removed.  Once the furniture has been cleaned, spread a blanket or sheet on it if the pet sleeps or sits there, that way you can remove the sheet, and the hair, when there is a showing.


( Nicotine stains off a sofabed from a house with two smokers.)





-Last but not least when staging and getting ready for tours of the house, you should consider having your mattresses cleaned.  Not only is it a good, healthy idea for your family to have the mattress cleaned but it will help keep the room smelling clean and fresh.

Carpets and upholstery are not the only place you should be using green, environmentally friendly cleaning solutions.  As a green company we recommend using natural cleaning solutions whenever possible. You should use a natural cleaner on any surface you clean.  Not only is it healthier, but natural cleaners don’t leave harsh chemicals and odors behind.  Although you can find green cleaners in most of the big box stores I always tell my customers to head out to Home Depot to get their cleaning products.  Every Home Depot store carries a large selection of cleaners, they are always easy to find and the prices are usually pretty good.

Remember not to take offence if the realtor asks you to de-clutter, repair or replace items, or wants you to clean your carpets and upholstery.  The more appealing your home is to others, the quicker it will sell.

Thanks for listening

R and M

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