The Ultimate Home Staging Checklist for selling

Staging a home is a highly effective way to sell it faster and for top dollar. Home staging highlights the home’s best features, helps it stand out from the competition, and inspires buyers to form an emotional connection with the home. It’s smart to take advantage of its benefits to get the most money possible for your listing.

Here is a comprehensive home staging checklist to make sure you are covering all of your bases before you start showing it to buyers.

Home Staging Checklist

Preparation

  • Evaluate each room from a buyer’s perspective
  • Talk to a local real estate agent and professional home stager for customized advice
  • Make any necessary repairs (consider hiring a home inspector to find out what needs to be done)

Declutter and Depersonalize

  • Go through every room and get rid of anything you no longer want or need
  • Depersonalize the décor with a neutral color scheme
  • Get rid of features like wallpaper, popcorn ceilings, and outdated carpet
  • Edit the décor on shelves and surfaces so there is less visual clutter
  • Put away family photos, kids’ artwork, certifications, toys, and pet supplies
  • Make sure there is a natural traffic flow in each space by rearranging furniture and getting rid of any pieces that are too bulky
  • Allow as much light in as possible and add artificial lighting to dark corners
  • Thoroughly clean the entire home (click here for a full cleaning checklist for staged homes)

Kitchen

  • Clean everything off the countertops to show as much counter space as possible except for a few key decorative items like flowers, apothecary jars, or a bowl of fruit
  • Put away small appliances
  • If the cabinets are outdated, update them with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware
  • Declutter the cabinets and organize the items so buyers will see that they offer plenty of storage space
  • Declutter and organize the pantry
  • Clean the entire kitchen, including the interiors of the cabinets and appliances
  • Evaluate the appliances and consider updating them before listing the home if they are in subpar condition
  • Clean the trash cans and move them out of sight if possible

Living Room

  • Evaluate the traffic pattern and make sure there is a natural flow through the space
  • Get rid of bulky or unnecessary furniture to create more space
  • Edit the shelves and surfaces so there is minimal décor left and more open space
  • Put away movies, video games, and magazines
  • Gather small items like television remotes in a pretty box
  • Cover outdated furniture or bold patterns with neutral slipcovers
  • Accent the sofa and chairs with pretty accent pillows
  • If you have one, clean out the fireplace and stage it (such as with a stack of wood or tools)

Bedrooms

Bathrooms

  • Do a deep clean and polish everything
  • Make necessary repairs like re-caulking around the tub and sink
  • Switch out outdated elements like unappealing tile and flooring
  • Declutter the countertop and cabinets and organize the latter
  • Create a spa-like appeal with elements like a white bathrobe hanging on the door, luxurious white towels, apothecary jars filled with pretty soaps or loofahs, flowers, and candles

Other Spaces

  • Address any awkward spaces and stage them to make them more appealing to buyers (click here for tips on how to deal with awkward spaces)
  • Declutter your home office, clear off the surfaces except for a few key items and décor, put away and secure important documents, and create as much open space as possible
  • Declutter and organize the garage

Curb Appeal and Backyard

  • Make sure your house numbers are visible from the street and look good, and that the mailbox is in great shape
  • Power-wash the exterior of the home including the façade, driveway, sidewalk, and front porch
  • Clean out the gutters
  • Make any necessary repairs to the exterior of the home
  • Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door and make sure any light fixtures are clean and updated
  • Put out a simple, pretty welcome mat
  • Clean up the yard, fertilize the grass, and add colorful plants to the landscaping
  • Trim back trees and shrubs to make sure buyers can see the house and that plenty of natural light can make it inside
  • Make any outdoor living spaces appealing with comfortable furniture and stylish décor

Extra Touches

  • Make sure the home smells great by keeping it clean, airing it out every day, and adding extra scents from candles, air fresheners, or by baking something in the oven before showings
  • Switch out any art that is too personal in taste for pieces that are more neutral and appropriate for all audiences
  • Hide pet items from view before showings
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Below is a statement from RECA regarding real estate agent services as an essential service (issued March 28, 2020):  

The Government of Alberta has deemed real estate agent services, and services that provide access to credit, stocks or other forms of liquidity or finance to individuals, groups or businesses to be essential services. This exempts licensed real estate and mortgage professionals from restrictions during the COVID-19 outbreak, as long as they follow all public health guidelines, including physical distancing measures.

This means brokerages will not need to shut down operations at this time. Albertans rely on these professional services, and brokerages are encouraged to remain open.

"RECA's mandate is first and foremost to protect the public, and it remains our highest priority," said Duane Monea, Administrator of the Real Estate Council of Alberta. "By being deemed an essential service, real estate and mortgage professionals have been given a great responsibility in assisting Albertans during this crisis. I am confident the industry will meet the challenge, and adapt their business practices in order to protect the health and safety of the public."

Firstly, professionals must ensure they explain to their clients the impacts of COVID-19 in their real estate or mortgage transaction, and discuss all options together with their advantages and disadvantages, so their clients can make informed decisions. Professionals can be a reliable source of information on minimizing any health risks involved in trading in real estate or dealing in mortgages at this time. Professionals should point clients to RECA's COVID-19 for Real Estate Consumers' website.

Secondly, professionals must also assess their own risk, and remain vigilant to their health, the health of their clients, and the health of their colleagues. They must take steps to minimize their health risks and stop the spread of COVID-19.

"Real estate and mortgage professionals must follow the direction and guidance of Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19," continued Monea. "Professionals must have honest discussions with their clients about the risks during a real estate transaction or mortgage deal, and must explore alternatives to minimize that risk."

Review the industry-focused COVID-19 and Real Estate webpage for information on discussions with sellers and buyers, along with FAQs and specific information for mortgage brokers, on amending contracts, and for residential and commercial property managers.

"I also want to thank the various trade associations for the work they are doing to reduce risk, in particular the Alberta Real Estate Association in respect to the holding of open houses," said Monea. "Open houses pose an unreasonable risk to real estate professionals and the public."

RECA will continue to update all industry professionals and the public if any further directives from the government will impact the industry, and offer advice on how to continue offering the high level of service the Alberta public expects.

RECA will continue operations as the Government of Alberta has deemed all enforcement and regulatory services as essential.

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.