Home Staging

So you’ve hired a Real Estate professional to sell your home and you insist on your favorite Vase remaining on the Dining Table and the Club Chair remaining where you left it.   Well, that would be ok if you were in the market to buy your own home, but you are not, in fact, you trying to sell your home.  So let your professional do his or her job.

Listing your home may involve hiring a professional Home Stager or doing some cosmetic changes yourself upon the recommendation of your hired Real Estate professional.

“Home Staging is the practice of making the right cosmetic changes to a property at a relatively low cost so your home will show well and generate high offers. In general, buyers prefer to see a finish room as oppose to an empty space as this helps them to imagine their own furniture in the space.”

When staging a home it’s important to de-clutter and add a neutral colour palette to the home.  After this your home will typically need a good cleaning.  To maintain a low cost, some natural products in and around the home can make a big different in your cleaning:

The Bathroom
Want to bring out a natural shine to your sinks, toilets, and tubs? Create a gentle scouring paste by mixing 4 tbsp baking soda with 1 tbsp water. Generously sprinkle either table salt or baking soda into the sink or tub and use the cut end of half a fresh lemon as a scrubby-pad. Rinse with hot water and your ceramics will be gleaming! Undiluted lemon juice can also be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits.

The Kitchen
Vinegar, a natural antibacterial, has a high acid content which makes it an effective alternative to caustic cleaners for the kitchen. Mix together 1 part water to 1 part vinegar in a new spray bottle and you have a natural solution that will clean stovetops, appliances, countertops (except marble), and floors. For troublesome stains, add a touch of baking soda to the mix.  To help remove finger marks from stainless steel appliances use a micro-fibre cloth or try a dab of baby oil on a clean cloth. For microwaves, put a few slices of fresh lemon in an uncovered bowl of water and cook on high for about three minutes. Grease and dirt should wipe away easily.

Windows
Let the sunshine in by washing away winter’s grime. Fill a bucket with 25 per cent vinegar and 75 per cent warm water. Put on rubber gloves and soak an old cotton towel in the solution. Rub on windows, and then scrunch up some old newspaper to buff up a shine. If there are any streaks, simply finish off with a dry cloth.

Fabrics and Carpets
Have a stubborn fabric stain? Dab white vinegar onto the stain followed by a mild soap solution such as all natural dishwashing liquid and water. Rinse with a clean damp cloth and blot with a dry towel. Salt can also be used to soak up fresh carpet stains such as red wine, coffee or ink. Simply pour salt on the wet stain, let dry, and then vacuum. Natural ingredients can not only get rid of stains, they’ll help eliminate odours from fabrics too!  One caution, for luxury fabric read labels and tags or research before adding household products.

Smoking
In addition to damages such as staining walls and carpets, smoking leaves a smell that is very hard to eliminate(Survey sponsored by Pfizer Canada), as such smoking could lower the value of your property significantly.  In cases where the smoke scent is not extreme, the steam from boiling Vinegar and Water (about 6 parts Vinegar and 4 parts water) can eliminate the odour from window curtains, bed linen and clothes.  Otherwise, you may have to hire a professional who specializes in this type of work and this coud be very costly.

Identify Theft
“It’s important that the Realtor and home stager work together in educating the homeowner on the importance of protecting their privacy before any showings occur, and prior to any open houses.
Most of us are generally trusting in nature, and that’s a good character trait. It’s important to see the goodness in all people. However, the reality is that we live in an age where identity theft is on the rise, and personal protection is imperative.

Once the for sale sign goes up on the front lawn, your seller is at risk.  De-personalizing a home means more than simply taking down Uncle Buck’s photo from the fireplace and removing the finger-painting artwork from the fridge door. Identity theft can occur when private information is left in sight during showings and open houses. How many times have you walked into a house and noticed utility bills on the kitchen counter or cheque books, voter registration cards, pay stubs, and so on? These items are an open invitation to thieves.

De-personalizing the home means moving all of these items from sight and keeping them in a safe, secure location. A locked desk drawer would be good place to house these items until after a firm Agreement of Purchase and Sale is in place.

Sellers, below is a list you can use to help to protect yourself:

1. Remove all private or personal photos, diplomas, awards and trophies.
2. Remove all calendars. These often contain a great deal of private information, often noting when you’re not going to be home.
3. Store all valuables.
4. Remove all bills, letters, magazines and library books. Shred papers with personal information that are no longer needed.
5. Password protect your computer to block access to your private files.
6. Turn off your printer and fax machine before each showing. Printers and fax machines often have the capability of printing the last numbers dialed or received.
7. Turn off answering machines. This avoids personal messages being left while strangers are in your home.
8. Unplug phones with caller ID features.
9. Remove or conceal digital devices that contain information about you or your family (cell phones, iPods, USB drives).”