There was a time not so long ago when a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint was all that was needed to prepare your home for the real estate market. Most realtors nowadays advise their clients to stage their homes as well, a task that can be difficult, particularly if you’ve been in the home for many years. Facts show that staged homes receive more potential buyers than unstaged homes. These properties sell for more money in a hot market and faster in a slow one.

You’ve de-cluttered, repaired and updated your house in preparation for sale.  The final step is to stage. The hardest part for homeowners is attempting to rearrange or remove items that they love. When it comes to Aunt Hilda’s antique china cabinet or the chintz drapes you love so much, objectivity is compromised. After all, if you love them, everyone else will too, right? Not necessarily.

Professional home stagers are trained to see things most homeowners don’t notice, and have a background understanding of what buyers are looking for.  They are skilled at transforming your very personally decorated house into a place that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. Stagers often bring in accessories to add colour, cohesion and enhance the décor. In vacant homes, stagers often bring in rental furniture and create “vignettes,” like a table setting in the dining room.

They may also suggest:

• Clearing out all closets and storage areas to create the illusion of more space.

• Bringing in fresh flowers or live plants.

• Removing large pieces of furniture, like dining room sets and sectional couches.

• Replacing an old, clunky vanity in the powder room with a sleek pedestal sink.

• Updating outdated lighting fixtures, especially in front foyer, dining room and the kitchen.

Your realtor should be able to recommend a reputable home stager if staging is not a service they offer. Or, a simple online search should produce numerous professionally trained individuals in your area.  Should you choose a stager from an independent source or staging business, always ask for references and follow up on them. Most professional home stagers are willing to do as much or as little of your home staging as you want. They will work within your budget and help you determine what parts of your home are assets and which areas need to be minimized.