1.  Clean

A clean home shows potential buyers that you’ve taken good care of the property. Ideally, you should clean every part of the house, from the floors to the ceilings—and everything in between.  If you don’t have new appliances in the kitchen, make sure the existing ones are spotless. Likewise, make sure your bathrooms sparkle, from the corners of the tub, to the sink drain, to that spot behind the toilet you don’t think anyone can see. Your goal should be to make everything look new.

2.  Declutter

There are two major problems with clutter. One is that it distracts buyers from your home’s features. The other is that it makes it seem like the home has less space.  Now is the time to box up and put into storage the things you don’t need on a day-to-day basis (think: knickknacks, games, papers, seasonal clothes, and messy hobbies). It’s also time to get rid of things you no longer need—like the expired food in the back of the cabinets, and the clothes and toys the kids have long since outgrown. The more empty storage space you have, the better.

3.  Depersonalize

Buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove all the family photos, keepsakes, and refrigerator art. Keep clothes hidden away as much as possible, and make sure the bathroom counters are empty (except for hand soap, of course). Likewise, put away all the toys and anything else that is highly personal or evocative of the home’s current inhabitants.

4.  Choose a neutral paint color

This is less of a home staging idea then it is a home staging rule. Put a fresh coat of paint on your walls, but not just any old paint or color. The wrong color on your walls can give off bad vibes. Potential buyers do not want to come into a house that is painted an alarming red or an uncommon blue.

5.  Maximize curb appeal

The outside should draw people inside. Neatly trimmed bushes, mulched beds, weeded lawns all help make that crucial “first impression”. Freshly painted front doors with new mailboxes and house numbers are easy ways to create maximum impact without breaking the bank. Adding seasonal urns by the front door for some colour are another way to brighten up concrete steps or boring brick.

6.  Let there be light

Lighting plays a vital role and is often overlooked when getting a property ready for sale. Dark hallways, rooms with little natural light, basements and bathrooms should be addressed. A minimum of a 2-bulb overhead fixture with maximum watt bulbs can transform a dingy area. There should be NO overhead receptacles without a light fixture! Consider adding pendant fixtures in dining rooms and eating areas. Big box stores offer affordable options in brushed nickel or silver fittings.