Sellers’ Series: Stage Your Home to Sell it for Top Dollar

Think of the home stage as a production that leads to a debut performance – the showing, says Vancouver real estate agent Alyssa Dotson

Alyssa Dotson Real Estate Team
May 4, 2015

Don't be afraid to use (sparingly) a super-bright pop of colour to give life to a neutral living room - notice here how the pillow echoes the vase colour perfectly  — 
An inviting fireplace with statement piece of art that enhances the colour scheme above it is an ideal focal point for any living room  — 
This living room is beautiful because it embraces both the blue of the walls and the dark wood flooring, using those colours as a kick-off point for carefully chosen art and accessories  — 

We all know a stage to be a raised platform that undergoes a production in order to showcase a performance, with a creative designer looking after the styling. So think of the home stage as a production that leads to a debut performance – the showing. When selling, it is imperative to showcase your home at its best while creating universal appeal.

From the runways to your formal living room, stylists are becoming more mainstream and more appealing to the general public than ever before.  As sellers continue to become more business savvy, the importance of home staging is increasing. Historically thought to be afforded by a specific type of seller, home staging is now attracting sellers of all budgets. Many home stylists primarily focus on making the most of furniture and décor that already exists within the home, which helps keep the cost of the stage to a minimum.

Statistics state that on average homes that are staged sell much quicker and for top dollar.  In my own experience, every home that my sellers and I have decided to stage has proven to support these stats. It’s an initial investment that pays off tenfold.

When looking for a home stylist, rely on a referral from your real estate agent or do your own research if you prefer. Certain stylists charge an initial consultation fee while some do not. There can be an advantage to those that do.  The consult fee is non-refundable and usually includes staging tips and recommendations for decluttering, art décor, focal point enhancement and furniture rearrangement.  In many cases, this may be all that is needed. 

If a full home stage is necessary, the stylist will arrange to bring in furniture, artwork and various accessories. A rental fee is then charged on a month to month basis and in some cases can be charged weekly after the first month. 

If you have a creative eye and would like to be your own home stylist, here are’s DIY tips:

Keep it clean and clear: Buyers want to walk into a property that they can imagine coming home to and relaxing in, so it’s essential to clear away all your mess and clutter and keep the place immaculately clean while you’re showing it.The kitchen and bathrooms are key areas, so add a bowl of fruit in the kitchen, white towels in the bathrooms and ensure both rooms are spotless.

De-personalize: It may sound harsh, but homeowners should remove all personal pictures and art containing people, animals and religious content. You still want to keep things that give it a homey touch.

Keep the accessorizing to a minimum: You should introduce accessories that make your décor shine – but over-decorating your house should be avoided. Too many pillows, artwork, vases and flowers end up creating new clutter.

Repair any obvious problems: As a potential buyer walks through a house and notices little things that are wrong, such as a dripping tap or a door that won't shut, they become emotionally detached. Also, a fresh coat of paint will really improve the look of your rooms and pay dividends.

Use proper lighting: Light is very important, so keep on all lights during showings and turn blinds to the half-open position. A dark and dreary home will be extremely hard to sell at any price.

Get some curb appeal: Think a planted urn or a welcome mat. You need to get rid of any junk that's sitting in front of the house. Make sure walkways are swept, the grass is cut and the garden is pruned and neat.

Pay attention to furniture placement: A common example of improper furniture placement can be found in the bedroom. People might put a high dresser on a wall that you're facing as you walk in, and that makes the room feel very closed in. Try to arrange furniture so that the room seems airy and spacious.

An initial investment in home staging is much more affordable than reducing your selling price so if you are considering selling your home be sure to consider this option. 

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