The term “Staging” is often used loosely when talking about listing your home for sale.

I say it’s used loosely because it often has different meanings for different people.

In fact I have a video and blog post specifically called “what’s the point of staging your home for sale” that explains exactly what staging means in different situations.

It explains the various meanings and values the professional Stager can offer depending on your situation.

Today I’m going to share 10 things that every homeowner can do themselves to save time and money in preparation of listing their home for sale so that the home will show in the best possible way.

#1. Curb Appeal.
People do judge a book by its cover.

The same thing goes for real estate. If someone is prepared to pay six or seven figures on a home then they can probably cut the grass or take out the weeds.

But grass that is un-kept, weeds, and shutters that are rotting, or bad curb appeal isn’t about cost for a buyer.

It sends a message to potential buyers that if this is how the sellers take care of the property then they can only imagine what problems might exist inside the property or behind the walls and in the attic, that you might’ve possibly neglected or not taken care of.

#2. DE-Personalization.
Artwork and DECOR on the walls and on the mantle’s can be great for staging decor.

But personal photos and personal awards or degrees or even diplomas are a big no-no.

For many people it can be very awkward to go through someone else’s house. They are in unfamiliar territory and an unfamiliar home and they have not been invited personally. You weren’t even there to make them feel welcome.

In my blog post called “top 10 mistakes when selling your home” one of the 10 things I say is that sellers should not be home during showings. This can make buyers feel uncomfortable when they look around.

So even if you aren’t home at the time of showings if buyers see personalized items of the sellers then they feel that they are out of place or invading someone else’s home.

Because they might feel uncomfortable they will rush through the showing and leave very quickly without giving proper consideration.

It’s always a good idea to pack up or put away personal items like photos, awards, degrees, and things like that.

#3. Lighten up and Brighten Spaces.
Dreary dark rooms and spaces don’t sell.

Dark room is not only create an uninspiring mood for some people but they make rooms look and feel smaller than they actually are.

This might require painting with a brighter or more modern colour. Sometimes it can be as simple as opening window coverings when there are scheduled showings to allow the natural light into the room and of course leaving on all light fixtures.

Also be aware of the different light-bulbs throughout your home. Sometimes people have different wattage, different light tones and different colour bulbs throughout the home. If your staging your home make sure you get all light-bulbs that are the same brightness, same wattage, and same colour tones.

#4. Repairs and Maintenance.
If you had a leak in the ceiling a few years ago and it is fixed now but the paint is discoloured, or perhaps a light switch doesn’t work, or a window keeps on sticking whenever you try to open or close it, then you should get it fixed before listing your home for sale.

Some buyers might fear that you’ve let the house go into neglect and they will be faced with huge repair bills after they buy it.

#5. Remove Odours.
Often I’ve taken buyers to see homes and when we’ve entered a new home there was an obvious sent or odour.

Sometimes it can be dissent from their pets. Or smoking. Or even from their cooking.

Some people might not consider it a problem but you don’t wanna risk deterring the one buyer who might pay top dollar.

It doesn’t mean that your house stinks. It just means that the scent is something that buyers don’t relate to. And often because pets and cooking our way of life for sellers they don’t notice.

As a seller you must remove emotions and not take it personally and remember that you aren’t trying to make new friends or win fans. You are marketing a product to entice buyers to want it really badly.

Often odours are absorbed in the paint or the broadloom and area rugs. So some fresh paint or steam cleaning carpets can often make a huge difference.

#6. Painting.
Sometimes sellers think if they put in a hot tub or some other large improvements it will add value. It’s important to remember that you don’t know who is going to buy the home.

Maybe they won’t like hot tub‘s or swimming pools. Maybe they’re going to redo the kitchen or the floors anyways to their own liking.

Sometimes spending $10,000 to do something that you think is an improvement might not add $10,000 to the sale amount of the home. And for that matter, spending $10,000 just to make $10,000 isn’t beneficial. In fact it’s risky because there’s no gain but what if you end up not getting the full value in return.

You should only invest money to update things that are sure to get you a huge return on your investment. And the number one investment anywhere in the world is painting when you’re trying to sell a house.

#7. Cleaning the obvious and the not so obvious.
I’ve seen homes where people didn’t vacuum or dust the shelves and furniture. Obviously this shows a potential buyer that you don’t take care of the property.

They can also distract them from seeing the potential of the property and getting excited about it.

While cleaning the hardwood floors, vacuuming the carpets, and wiping the mirrors should seem obvious here are a few things that aren’t so obvious that I’ll also share with you.

Having the removable screens on the windows removed from bedroom windows or kitchen windows or even the living room. Most showings occur in daytime so people look through the windows to see outside.

And when they are looking out they want a clear view. Specifically when you look at the screens and the sunshine on the outside you’ll often notice dust or dirt and grime on the screens which takes peoples attention away from the beautiful view or the beautiful backyard.

Also check all your light fixtures. Turn them on to see if there are dead bugs in the light. I know you think it’s disgusting but often those lights fill up with bugs and when people come into your home to see it and turn on the light you don’t want it to look dirty and un-cared for.

#8. Show a room with its proper function.
Have you ever seen a spare bedroom used as a home office? Or a living and dining room used as a toddler‘s playroom?

Sellers often assume or hope that a buyer will know what the room is actually meant for. Or they assume a buyer is smart enough to envision their own usage for the room.

If that were true then retail stores wouldn’t spend so much money on professionals to dress manikins or stage their front window displays to entice people to come in and shop.

#9. Removing counter clutter and knives.
On most kitchen counters there can be spice racks, and a mix-master, and a knife block, and a microwave if it isn’t built-in or a toaster, and other decor items.

Less is more. Removing all clutter except one or two main items will help your kitchen seem bigger and brighter.

Spice racks, kettles, old coffee makers, air fryers, should all go in a cupboard or be packed away.

#10. Remove plants or decor items on top of kitchen cabinets.
Some kitchen have plants or decor items on top of the cabinets.

Perhaps some homeowners think it looks pretty or they’ve created a certain type of mood.

When it comes to staging, marketing and presenting the home to buyers what this can also do is make the ceiling look lower than it really is. And that of course makes the room feel smaller.

If you are thinking of selling in the near or distant future and want to talk about market timing and timing the sale of your home or when would be the best time for you to start preparing your home or list it for sale, I’d be happy to expand on my answers here and talk about specific details and market statistics for you and your area.