Prepping your home for Winter sale

It’s been a brutal winter so far in my part of the world. Snowbanks are growing higher by the day and it’s hard just to get in and out of the house, let alone starting to think about preparing for selling. But the truth is, now is an ideal time to get a jump start on the competition. While many sellers are waiting for the first well awaited days of spring to list their home, you could be well on your way to sold.


By using the winter as a time to improve your home’s interior appeal, it’s possible to command a higher price when serious buyers are out and about (and lets face it, you have to be serious about buying a home to slop around in this weather ) Put your snow days to good use and start the dreaded chore of de cluttering. I know, you’re cringing at the thought of mountains of books, movies, unworn clothing and the 27 travel mugs in the kitchen cupboards. We’ve all been there, (myself included having moved recently) You need a plan of action, someone to cheer you on when what you really want to do is to be curled up with the remote and Netflix. A staging consult can be a great motivator to get you started.


When I first visit for a home consult one of the things I always hear is “I know we have to de clutter” but many times sellers underestimate how much time this really takes. You can’t just sort through 10, 20 or in some cases 50 years or more of belongings in a couple of weeks. Not if you want to minimize stress and wine consumption ūüôā Plus you may be removing some things that could be used as props for staging the home, while other things you think can stay, will not help your sale.¬†Start by doing one closet, one drawer, put everything into a laundry basket and sort while watching t.v. if that helps get you get started. Starting is the hardest part so the sooner the better.


Winter is also an excellent time to get a hold of trades, to do any repairs or renovations that will maximize selling appeal. During a consult a stager can recommend where to spend $$$ for best bang for your buck and where to save, by not doing renovations that will not bring a solid ROI. I read a report today that indicated both male and female buyers rate master baths and walk in closets as top of their wish list when purchasing a home, so upgrades in these areas are sure to be a worthwhile investment. Come Springtime when all the other sellers are scrambling to find a painter, plumber etc. you are already ahead of the pack.


Selling a house requires you to make a potential buyer think that the home is already their own. Nothing gets in the way of this feeling more than another person’s¬†clutter. Often, the things that buyers interpret as clutter are a homeowner’s¬†prized heirlooms. Rather than purging your house of personal photos and accessories all at once, it can be less jarring to pack up your personal items slowly and move them into storage. These few weeks left of winter represent a perfect opportunity to start this process.

A little Prep

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Staging : It’s so much more than cleaning & de cluttering

When I visit a client for a staging consult one of the first things they say to me is “I know I have to de clutter and clean”, but that is only the start in the staging process. Staging is¬†the last¬†step in property prep, after rooms are de cluttered, furniture rearranged or rented, all repairs and upgrades are completed and the house has been deep¬†cleaned, then a stager can begin.¬†It’s the icing on the cake that will¬†entice a buyer¬†when surfing though thousands of online images. You only have a few seconds for your home to wow, so you have to make the most of it and use all resources available.


Home Staging
Purchasing or renting furnishings to appeal to your demographic is a worthwhile investment


Staging for your buyer demographic is crucial.¬†The average seller has lived in their home for quite¬†a few years and if the property hasn’t been upgraded or d√©cor is stuck¬†in the last decade or three it raises a red flag to a younger buyer. One thing most¬†buyers object to is wallpaper. It’s one of those d√©cor choices that is very personal. Yes, you may love the bold floral pattern, that’s why you choose it, but¬†that’s the problem, you choose it. The time and money a buyer will have to invest in removing it¬†is often enough to put them off buying a home, so remove their objections, do it before selling. Trust me on this¬†I’ve seen it time after time.


Most buyers object to the work of removing wallpaper when buying a home
Most buyers object to the work of removing wallpaper when buying a home


Fresh paint is money in a can. Certain colours photograph better than others, I always advise to change bold colour choices.¬†Deep colours in certain rooms don’t show off their true potential. I recently consulted with a Realtor on a home that has been lingering on the market for almost a year. The main areas of the home were clean, bright and well presented but the basement was dark with dreary wood paneling and buyers were not impressed. It was letting the rest of the home down. I advised the Realtor i consulted with to repaint the whole basement in a creamy white and it looked fabulous once it was complete. Bright, clean and much more inviting, the difference was amazing. All for a few cans of paint. The listing has since sold.¬†


Colours that dominate a room are bad choices for staging
Colours that dominate a room are bad choices for staging


With window treatments, less is more. If in doubt remove it, especially in the Summer months. Bright rooms entice buyers so ban the nets, heavy drapes and valances. Show off those moldings, that view, a beautiful garden, those are your selling features, not the drapes from 1985. Again stage for your buyer demographic, not your tastes.¬†Simple, plain fabrics work best on an updated rod. When I say simple, not a sheet, flag or my personal pet peeve, knotted in the middle (excuse me while I rock in a corner) Show buyers you take pride in your home and don’t distract them with bad decor choices.


Where do I start !!!
Where do I start !!!


The same principal applies to furniture. Less is more. Often staging requires removing items rather than adding, so if you have an abundance of¬†seating¬†or too many dressers in the bedroom, some has to go. You are selling square footage and buyers¬†want to see it. Furniture layout¬†can be tricky in some homes¬†and this is where your stager can advise the best layout for traffic flow, picture taking and to show buyers the potential use of a room. Often a few simple adjustments to layout will make¬†a world of difference. I’ve seen sofas blocking fireplaces, doorways and windows that have fabulous views, all selling features you want to highlight not hide. The eye needs somewhere to rest. There is no eye resting in the room below, every wall plastered with something and a strange furniture layout makes the room look strange Did you even notice the fireplace in the room ? See what I mean about furniture layout hiding the best features.¬†


Remove some furniture pieces so a layout isn't confusing to buyers
Remove some furniture pieces so a layout isn’t confusing to buyers


So, after many other issues are addressed¬†a stager can work their magic. It’s a multi step process and giving yourself lots of time to prepare is key.¬†Investing in at least a Staging Consult can save you time, money and frustration. We deal with all¬†these issues and more every day so we can help¬†make your property¬†stand out and attract a buyer, when the competition is turning them away with lackluster presentation.

Staging just makes sense in this economy.


PicMonkey Collage 31

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Wow buyers at the front door

Organize your entry way and tackle the clutter in your home’s drop spot



The first thing your prospective buyers see is your entry way, so it has to set the scene for the rest of the home. Your family is busy, but when selling a home you have to find storage solutions for the usual collection of seasonal outerwear, sports equipment, pet toys, shoes and boots and all the other clutter that seems to accumulate at the front door. A cluttered and unorganized front entrance suggests to buyers that the home lacks storage, not a great first impression. De clutter by packing and storing seasonal outerwear and footwear and keep items to a minimum to make closets appear as spacious as possible. Never leave shoes and boots at the front door when showing your home. On an agent showing there are going to be at least 2 to 3 pairs of shoes or boots that need space, no need for more clutter. A boot tray inside your closet, or a basket or bench with a lid  and keep your footwear out of sight.




I have been in many clients homes where there is not a designated coat closet, especially in older homes. Adding a bench, some hooks and storage baskets gets around the idea of “no closet”. Attractive lined baskets are an inexpensive way to store hats, gloves and scarves and you can colour code one for each member of the family or attach name tags to simplify storage. A small console or table will act as a focal point and a place to drop keys in an attractive bowl or plate so they are easily found. A mirror above the console is a good idea to bring in some extra light and a good place to check hair and make up on the way out. If your space is tight and you don‚Äôt have room for a table use a narrow wall mounted shelf and hang an attractive piece of artwork above.




If space allows a bench or chair is a good idea for buyers to sit while removing or putting on shoes. If you have a rug at the front door that is starting to show its age replace it with a bound sisal or something in a neutral palette that will appeal to most buyers. If muddy boots and pets are an issue, keep your new rug for pictures and showings so it always looks fresh for buyers or use an indoor, outdoor rug. These are available in so many great colours and patterns now and a great solution for heavy traffic areas.



Create a stunning entryway for a memorable first impression!

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Home Staging : Small changes reap large rewards

The mention of home staging often conjures up $$$$ signs in a homeowner’s mind but actually¬†it’s the small inexpensive changes that often make the most impact¬†when listing a home for sale. The trick is to merchandise for your market. Your home, once on the market, is a product and needs to be presented to attract attention. The right kind of attention. Staging can ensure your listing doesn’t get lost in the virtual marketplace. You only have seconds to impress so make that first look at your home count.

#1 Update Decor

If the last time your home had a spruce up was 1985, don’t be fooled into thinking just because you are ok with your d√©cor, buyers will be too. Cosmetic¬†upgrades are always a good idea. Even a simple and inexpensive bedding update can make a world of difference¬†to online images.¬†In the¬†bedroom shown we¬†used the homeowner’s existing furniture. Changing the overpowering, outdated¬†floral bedding and removing the drapes made a huge difference and brightened¬†the room immediately. Quick, easy and an instant update.

Before bedroom Portland


Bedroom after Portland


The Bathroom was a similar easy fix, Remove rugs to expand floor space, de clutter counter, add colour and art and new, fresh towels. Online images need to be visually appealing, especially for bathrooms which are big selling features for buyers.

Main bath before Portland


Bathroom after Portland

Dining rooms are where a buyer will entertain family and friends so they need to be shown as an inviting, functional space. If you are selling a home with a formal dining area, as this older home had, de cluttering is key. Remove any small collectibles, wall plates, small pieces of art, dried flowers etc. Also remove overfilled curio cabinets and dining hutches if possible. Not every piece of china needs to be on display. Pack up items to give an illusion of space. Keep it simple. Removing tablecloths is an instant update and makes a room seem more spacious too. Take down heavy drapes to let more light in to brighten the room.

Dated dining

Dining after Portland

Even if you don’t use a room in your home,¬†it is so important to show it as useable square footage. A buyer needs to see how the room can function for them. Many buyers are unable to envision how they will use a room so make it easy for them to see themselves in your home.

Guest bed before

Bedroom 2 after Portland

The home shown was an estate sale. First I visited the home to do a staging report with recommendations for removing some furnishings, de cluttering, what to pack up etc. and on the day of staging all it needed to make it market ready were some cosmetic changes, furniture rearrangement, updated accessories and colours.
SOLD ūüôā¬†by Mary Stickings Remax Nova

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