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With the rise of cable television and all of these “sell this home!” television shows, everyone has heard of the importance of de-cluttering. Though you love your decorating style, your knickknacks, your family pictures and your collectibles and they are what make the house truly yours; when you go to sell your home, the goal is not to show off your style and personality.  The goal is to help someone else picture themselves living there.  The place that you now call home is potentially going to be their home and not yours anymore.  As soon as you put your house up for sale it ceases to be a home and it become a product that people will buy or not buy.

Buyers can have a hard time seeing past your personal possessions and picturing themselves at home.  Packing up the clutter and stuff of your daily life does not make the house featureless and bland.  It will actually allow the house itself to shine.  The rooms will look bigger.  People will be able to envision how they would live in the home.  Again, they are buying your house, they are not buying your personal style.

If you have accumulated a lot of stuff—perhaps this is one of the reasons you are moving: you need more space, your life has outgrown your house!—be prepared to rent a storage locker or move some stuff into a friend’s or relative’s garage for a couple of months, or hold a huge yard sale, or give generously to charity.  You might even find the whole process liberating, a kind of “cleansing” of the old in order to make you ready for the new you in your new home.  You may find it easiest to tackle the house room by room making three piles: keep, maybe, and toss. Here are some of the areas you will want to tidy up:

Kitchen counters and cupboards (Try to get to the point where there is nothing on the counters, no coffee maker, no toaster, no knives, etc.  Keep an “quick hide” open spot in one of the cupboards to hide the toaster and coffee maker when you have showings so you can both live and sell your house)

The space on top of the fridge and the microwave.

Bathroom counters, shelves and cupboards


Surfaces like coffee tables, desks, window ledges, any open shelving

In terms of staging and interior decorating, only some of my clients seek professional help.  I can recommend several excellent stagers.  Some people find they benefit from the advice.  Some find even the thought of having a stager in their home too intrusive.  A few clients, after the initial consultation, hire the stager to do more, such as bring in furniture to dress up an empty room, offer paint and colour suggestions and so forth.  It is my commitment to you to try to make sure that every home I sell has a “polished” look.

That polished look is most often the result of the Sellers taking advice and doing a the hard work needed to make their home shine.  Most of the Sellers I work with are committed to maximizing the value of their home.  It is a real pleasure to list and show a home that has been well prepared by the Seller.  Surveys of Canadian home buyers suggest that buyers are willing to spend time and money decorating to their tastes once they have moved in, so you don’t have to go all out on expensive décor that the buyers may just eliminate later.  But Buyers do appreciate the extra work you do in order to make your home inviting to them.

When should you consider going beyond a simple consultation from a stager to invest in full blown staging where whole rooms are re-decorated with furniture rented for the duration of the listing?

When the home is extremely dated, to the point that existing furniture is in terrible shape and detracts from the home, AND there is a significant value increase to be realized by bringing in more contemporary furniture and repainting and decorating with contemporary styles and colours.

When the house or certain rooms are vacant. Just as clutter can overwhelm potential buyers, so can total emptiness – it’s hard to get a good idea of room sizes without furniture to show what will fit inside.  The right furniture can make a room look bigger than the empty space.  This is especially true of smaller condo units where furniture can provide a frame of reference, showing what you can do with the space.

Whatever you do in preparing a house for sale, keep it neutral!  A 2006 Royal LePage House Staging Poll (conducted by Maritz Research) revealed that sometimes too much of a unique style can be detrimental when it’s time to sell. Remember, people are buying your house, not your style.  Your style does not add value to the home.  In fact, a house that is too well decorated may create the sense in the Buyer who connects with your style that they will have to spend thousands of additional dollars to have the home that they are seeing.  They may pass on the home, even when the house is affordable and something they might like, because they perceive the house plus your style as being “too expensive.”  A senior Royal LePage manager suggested sellers opt for modern and tasteful décor, saying: “A contemporary and minimalist space with neutral coloured walls and a limited number of personal items appeals to most buyers and ensures the best results when selling a home.”

This same survey also suggests that the vast majority of buyers are swayed by their own Realtor’s assessment of the home. This means you need to think about impressing not only buyers but their agents as well! When we meet for our consultation, I’ll let you know the most important things that buyers and agents will be looking for in your own home, and how to work with what you’ve got.




Let’s Get the Process Started! Tell Steve a Little About Your Home and He Will Be in Touch to Discuss the Value and Marketing of Your Home.


Selling Links

Thinking About Selling?
Is Now the Time to Sell?
The Buyer’s Perspective
De-Cluttering and Staging
Selling Your Home
The Importance of Pricing
Marketing Your Home
Home Selling Documents
The Deal Is Firm, Now What?
Your Lawyer’s Role
Renting Guide
Getting Ready for the Buyer
After Closing Day


Contact Steve

334 Wellington Rd. S
London, Ontario N6C 4P6
Cell: 519.878.5566
Office: 519.672.9880
Fax: 519.672.5145

Are You Ready to Sell?  Wonder What Your Home is Worth?

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