-For-Sale So you are about to put your home on the market but are not too sure where to start when preparing it for sale?

Let us get you started with some of the first things you should be thinking of when getting ready to stage your home.

With some simple preparation, you can give your home that show home look and feel. There are certain techniques we home stagers use when preparing a home ahead of presenting it to the public, and we will be sharing some of these with you here today.

1-Prevent Home Buyers Turning Into Museum-Goers

When our home is so full of our own personal taste and belongings, you essentially are creating distractions for the home buyer, by putting more emphasis on your stuff, and not enough effort on what they can actually buy, i.e. your actual physical home. Personal pictures, diplomas, calendars, large collections of art, china pieces, nik-naks etc should all be put away; buyers are there to fall in love with your home, not to get to know you better. The home buyer does not need to know where you went to school, where you went on holiday, your best wedding poses, or see all of your child’s school pictures. Same goes for vast amounts of collector items.

2- Setting The Tone

I once went into a home for a home staging consultation, and while at the seller’s home, noticed large amounts of ladies undergarments all hung up all over the bedroom and bathroom, and hundreds of items of makeup and perfume collections on display. Huge no-no. Another young lady had pictures of herself on vacation in a bikini all around her home, which inadvertently reveals that a single woman lives there. Some homes I have seen have religious shrines in multiple parts of the house. Another home I went to had vintage calendars of undressed women all over the garage. One particular property I consulted at had mounted heads of various hunted animals all over the home, with several gun safes and boxes of bullets in the basement–which could have been off-putting to a person who does not eat meat or hunt, and the bullets and guns could have put off a couple with small children. Since we want to make our home safe and comfortable looking to everyone who may walk through the door, we therefore need to think hard about the image we are projecting. We do not know in advance a home buyer’s religion (or non-religion), how old they are, whether they are male of female, young or old, or what type of background or society they originate from. A home seller has the right to anonymity when showing their property; our faith, interests, holiday destinations, education and marital or family status are not for sale, only our home is, and the rest is to be respected as private.

3-Focus on the Big Ticket Rooms

The kitchen, master bedroom and living room are the three rooms you need to focus on the most; make sure the kitchen is pristine and the counters free of appliances and clutter, and that the master bedroom and living room really advertise comfort, function and look beautiful. Invest in great bedding and cushions for the bed (bed in a bag sets are great in a pinch) and your living room should also be clutter free, having only essential furniture and accessories on display, not full of remotes, cords and game controls/games. Put cushions on the couch that liven it up, and are either from the same colour family, or otherwise mix it up with some contrasting cushions. Add a throw or a rug if need be. Bedrooms should only have bedroom furniture within them, so time to put away the hampers, exercise equipment or home office items if these are lurking in your master bedroom.

4-Safety

Do not leave knives in the kitchen, calendars displayed with appointments on them showing when you will be out, money, jewellery, ipods, cameras, ipads, handheld gaming devices, or keys hanging on hooks around the home. Put away credit card statements, bank statements, bills or other bits of paperwork that have your name on them. Keep your identity safe at all times. Depending on what you do for a living, try and not put too much of your job on display–again, buyers are there to view your property, and should not be able to ‘snoop’ on what you do for a living. It is human nature for people to be curious, especially when viewing a stranger’s home. Have a good look all around your home at what could be knocked over, or tripped on during a viewing. Keep objects to a minimum, so that no one is bumping into items around your home; there should not be items in your home that a home buyer ends up brushing against, giving the impression that your home is too small.

5-Repair, Patch, Paint, Clean

Don’t skimp on maintaining paintwork, trim, old nail marks in walls, chips, scratches or dents. Shampoo those rugs. Clean and organise your closets and pantry. Deep clean your appliances (even the dishwasher and microwave!). Remember, people buy clean, not the other way around. Unless you are selling your home as a ‘fixer-upper’, do not leave these jobs to a potential home buyer to take on. Be aware of any odors–from pets, diaper pails, food or trash. Be proud of your home. Think of it as YOUR show home. Make it sparkle.

6- Curb Appeal

Never neglect to go and stand out front of your home and take a really long look at it. Does it need to be painted? Mailbox or light fixtures updated? Weeds pulled? Shrubs trimmed or old leaves removed? Think about adding pots of flowers, repainting your front door, or adding a new welcome mat.

I hope these tips have helped spark some ideas of where to get started in your home, before putting it on the market. A bit of effort is never wasted when selling your home. Look at your property through fresh eyes, imagine how the property appears to potential buyers. Give your home the best chance at wowing the buyers. It will pay off in the end.

Monique Shaw, Homes Sold Beautifully Lead Designer and Home Stager