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You've made the decision to sell your Toronto home or condo and the competition is fierce!  You now must move yourself into the marketing mode, because you will soon be presenting your home to your market...the "home buyer."


Your home has become a product, and looking at your home in this light will help you get it into order and sell it in a reasonable amount of time for the highest price.


You'll want to package your house/condo so that it's attractive to the buyer, so that they're choosing your property and not the competition.


To gain an edge in the marketplace, you must be priced right and look better than the competition! The best, proven way to package your property and gain that competitive edge is to...STAGE IT!


Not everybody wants or is able to rent furniture and art for their staging. Some simple ideas to prepare your property before putting it on the market, will make all of the difference.


Your most important job as a seller is to set the stage (your home) for a flawless production (a showing).


Your "home" is not for sale, but your house or condo is!


What is the first thing your buyers will see or smell when they open your front door? At some level, buyers have already made a decision at this point as to whether your home is on the list or off it.


When selling your property in winter months, if possible provide pictures of your property taken during those green seasons when plants are in bloom.


Look at your property from the street and ask yourself if it justifies the price tag? If you were a buyer, would you be excited going through this door? Many agents have had to cancel showings because their clients after seeing the front of the house didn't want to view it. Making sure your curb appeal is groomed and neat with some added touches is definitely worth the effort and expense.


Starting at the front door, a new door mat, flower pots, sparkling hardware, keys turning easily, doorbell working are just some of the points to keep in mind.


When your home is going to be shown, having drapes open and all of your lights on makes for a better first impression.


Fresh flowers can be both fragrant (not too strong) and delightful, accenting certain rooms.


Invest in new and beautiful bed linens and towels. Your bed should have at least two pillows per head (three is even better) with big, fluffed-up comforters, and bed skirts. You'll be amazed at what a difference this effort makes.


Diffusers with a light and soft fragrance in certain rooms will help the property smell wonderful and fresh. (Not too strong or over-powering. This is especially important if you have pets in the house. Fluffy and Rover should not be on the property during showings)


Remove your family photos! Organize your children's bedrooms with posters, iridescent stars on the ceilings, overflowing shelves of stuffed animals, model cars and toys stacked as these areas will not be perceived as neutral spaces and, therefore buyers might have difficulty in imagining this space as theirs, especially if they don't already have children. Simplify and organize your children's rooms, as you are doing to the rest of your property.


If you have deferred maintenance on your property, this can be a deal breaker! It it's broken, fix it! Most buyers will tend to envision repairs being 2-3 times what it actually costs to fix. Often, they will assume evidence of needed repairs suggests your home hasn't been well-maintained, and there might be more problems that they just can't see.


Clean and streak free windows make a huge impact allowing natural light in and offering buyers the best possible views to your yard and the neighbourhood.


Your basement, even if un-finished should be dust-free (furnace, hot water tank, washer, dryer, etc.) and the walls painted if necessary. Consider giving the floor a coat of paint, if necessary in an unfinished area. When the "guts" of your property looks well maintained, it inspires confidence in your buyers.


Garages should also be well-organized and immaculate. If it's simply a place where you have stored boxes and discarded equipment, consider renting a storage unit and moving it there to free up space and get yourself a head start on packing.


The best places to invest your money in preparing your home for sale are:

Replace worn or dated carpeting

Fresh coat of paint where necessary or neutralize a colour

Replace broken or older appliances and light fixtures

Small landscaping additions, like potted plants to your deck or patio


Above all, be sure your property is spotless, organized and squeaky clean. The result of this effort can not be overstated. Today's buyers are influenced with media from magazines to television. Their expectations are higher than ever, and selling your property in Toronto can be very competitive. You're going to want to maximize your potential investment, and what better way to start than from the staging preparation of your property before it goes onto the market.


"Things do not get better by being left alone."


-Winston Churchill


**April Esteves is an Accredited Staging Professional (ASPTM) who can offer you staging recommendations that will create a positive impact on buyers from the second they walk through the door. She will help you prepare your home for sale-an added value service at no added cost and when buying, will help you see the potential in your next home!

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