10 Staging tips to show your client’s home at its best

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Agents know what sells – location, curb appeal and kitchens. Staging veteran Brent Melnychuk offers 10 tricks of his trade to selling agents who are grappling with the re-emerging buyer’s market.
1. Depersonalize. It’s a fine line, but too many family photos or too much personal style can make a buyer feel like they are invading someone’s private space. But don’t go overboard and empty the whole place out to the point that it seems vacant and utilitarian.
2. Look with a critical eye. Today’s buyer will expect to see everything as near to top condition as possible. They’ll accept no excuses for burnt-out light bulbs, loose door handles or scuffs on doors and trim. Be sure clients tend to any obvious and not-so-obvious maintenance jobs. Buyers make a conclusion and think to themselves, “What else is wrong with this place that I can’t see?”
3. Keep it neutral. Time to freshen up the walls and trim with a more subtle shade – think light linen tones, and use a soft white trim to make the space feel crisp. Limit any dramatic, dark tone to one accent wall, maybe behind a bed or in a powder room.
4. Check the landscaping. A property’s exterior should be as impeccably neat as its interior. A buyer coming to view your listing is, in essence, taking it out for a first date. Make it love at first sight. Hire a landscape maintenance company to do a proper cleanup, including trimming those overgrown bushes.
5. Brighten up. This is a good opportunity to upgrade the lighting in the home, making it more current and the space brighter. The retail marketplace is brimming with reasonably priced and stylish lighting options. Adding lamps can help with creating ambiance and providing great sight lines to a room’s focal point.
6. Clean that kitchen. Have clients apply some elbow grease, and make sure the sinks, floors and counters shine like a new Mercedes Benz. Buyers, of course, look in every nook and cranny – even the insides of drawers should be clean and tidy. And don’t forget about the refrigerator! Even if it is a Sub-Zero appliance, increasingly picky buyers will only see and smell the unpleasant odor. A professional cleaner is worth the expense to ensure that a buyer’s white glove picks up nothing but Windex.
7. Style it right. Stage and style the home so that it works within the context of the architecture of the property. If it is a sleek, modern and minimalist space, then the furniture and props should reflect that. Ornate or traditional furniture in such a contemporary space will do little to play to its strengths.
8. Consider the scent. A home needs to smell great to make a lasting impression. While idea of baking cookies is considered passé, retail home design stores have a large selection of subtle-but-effective scent diffusers to choose from. Avoid the overly floral or spicy. Instead, think of freshly cleaned linen. A word of caution: You get what you pay for, and high-quality scents come with a higher price tag.
9.Make the bathrooms chic. The master bath in any property should be a spotless ‘boutique spa.’ Thick, quality, clean and new white towels are a must. Simple soap pumps and a potted white orchid will finish the look.
10. And the master bedroom, too. While you’re at it, extend the luxury hotel feel into the master retreat. Recommend clients make a small investment in new, crisp white linens and a coordinating duvet cover. Make sure the lamps match and provide enough light.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Brent Melnychuk, Vancouver-based senior stager with home staging company Dekora. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.