6 Top Areas to Focus on When Staging Your Home

When selling your home, first impressions are everything and creating a relaxing ambience will lead to a higher selling price. Give your home advantage by taking the time to spruce it up before you list – and whatever you do, don’t forget about these 5 areas when home staging.

Don’t Neglect the Basement

A basement is full of your disorganized piles of junk and a big storage area is a major turnoff to potential buyers. Even if the basement is unfinished, it should be clean and bright. A quick coat of paint on a concrete floor can make the world of difference, as can neatly organized boxes. An empty basement is a million times better than a cluttered one. Rent a storage locker for the weekend and clear it out.

Rearrange the Living Room

If you have got all your furniture pushed up against the walls to make the most of the space, it is not doing much to help sell your home. Instead, try arranging the furniture in your living room in a fashion that encourages conversations rather than just as a place to store the kids’ toys or watch television. If you have a fireplace or a big window, make that the focal point and place the couch, a coffee table and a pair of chairs in an intimate setting. Add a few decorative pillows and drape a textured blanket to add some colour and warmth and keep the coffee and end tables free of clutter.

Declutter the Kitchen

It goes without saying that a kitchen can sell a home, but a messy, cluttered kitchen can also make your home much harder to sell. Emphasize the size of your kitchen by clearing the counters of any small appliances and personal items such as mail and phone chargers. This will make even the smallest countertops seem that much bigger.

Do, however, include colourful props that inspire healthy living, like a curated collection of interesting cookbooks, or a big bowl of lemons and limes. Help people envision their new lives in your home.

Create a Dining Experience

You may only use it once a year, but formal dining rooms should never be neglected. This space can be a great area to focus on when selling your Edmonton home. Start fresh by removing everything from the room except for the essential pieces of furniture like the dining table and chairs. Consider setting the table with complete flatware, napkins, glasses and a centrepiece of fresh flowers or a bowl of vibrant fruit.

Scrub the Bathroom

Sleek and modern bathrooms can help sell a home, but even a dated bathroom can show its best face with a little elbow grease. Get a big box and remove everything from the counters, shower and bathtub before scrubbing the bathroom from top to bottom. Only put back a few essential items like hand soap and some fluffy towels. To help brighten the whole space.

Crucial Entrance

The number one area to focus on when staging your Edmonton home is your entrance and foyer. Buyers usually decide whether or not your home will be in their top choices within& 2 seconds from stepping into your house. Keep this area as decluttered as possible. Put away un-seasonal items and add a decorative mirror and a beautiful house plant.

Read more on staging your Edmonton home

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Getting the Highest Price for Your Edmonton Home

For most Edmonton home sellers, the goal is to sell their property for the highest possible price and in the shortest amount of time. Two ways to achieve this is with the right asking price, and by staging the property. So, do staged homes really sell faster, and for a higher price? The short answer is yes, and here’s why.

Do staged homes sell faster?

According to the Real Estate Staging Association, staged homes spend 73 per cent less time on the market than their un-staged counterparts. Truthfully speaking, even an un-staged home can sell under the right market conditions. An Edmonton seller's market, characterized by high demand and low inventory, generally means buyers are likely to scoop up what they can get. In a buyers market, there are more homes for sale than there are buyers, which means competition is greater among sellers and buyers have the upper hand. Under these circumstances, staging your property could tip the scales in your favour.

Is it worth the price to stage an Edmonton Home?

The answer to this question is not as cut-and-dry, since the final selling price of a home depends on a number of factors. Is there a buyer demand? Are there many other listings on the market competing against yours? And what about the home itself – is it well maintained, cared-for and clean? With all other things equal, a staged home is likely to leave buyers with a better impression than one that has not been staged, with the potential to fetch a higher selling price.

What is home staging?

Home staging is the process of preparing a home for sale by increasing its appeal to a wide range of homebuyers. Home staging is not as involved as a renovation, and can involve decluttering, depersonalizing and deep-cleaning; painting the walls in a fresh, neutral hue; updating hardware and lighting; rearranging existing furniture or renting some new pieces to help show the home in the best possible light. When a buyer can see your home as their home, they are more likely to make a competitive offer.

Since the majority of home buyers start their home hunt online, it’s important to make a good impression through your digital listing photos. Buyers will weed out the homes that don’t meet their criteria and then proceed to an in-person or virtual showing of the homes that they are seriously considering.

Decluttering and depersonalizing the home of family photos and other personal items can help. Also, consider that potential buyers need to think beyond what their eyes are showing them. Staging helps them to visualize themselves living in and using the space. Is the home an ideal place for a growing family, as a live-work space, for recreational pursuits or to enjoy retirement?

Download our RE/MAX home staging guide.

Virtual Home Staging

Virtual staging is an online way to stage a property which leverages technology to digitally enhance photos in order to demonstrate the possibilities. Virtual staging is ideal for vacant properties, which pose added challenges for sellers and the buyers who are trying to imagine it as their new home. Virtual home staging eliminates the need, effort and cost associated with renting or buying furniture and accessories. There are several Edmonton REALTORS® now using virtual staging on vacant homes.

Staging your Edmonton home does not need to be complicated. Evaluate every room and be objective because prospective buyers will be. Viewing your own home objectively can be difficult, especially for those who have lived in their home for a long time. A professional home stager and your real estate agent can give you an honest opinion as to what works in your home, what doesn’t, and what the seller might consider changing in order to appeal to homebuyers.

Read more on the best rooms to focus on when home staging.

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Can a Real Estate Deal Fall Through Due to COVID-19?

In the wake of COVID-19, there has been a lot of uncertainty this fragility has extended to the Edmonton housing market as many were either mid-deal, planning on buying or selling, or had a project underway. As real estate professionals, we have received a lot of questions regarding the pandemic and the housing market, frequently around real estate agreements and how COVID-19 has impacted such agreements. In this blog, we will answer our most frequently asked questions from both clients and REALTORS®, about how the pandemic has affected real estate agreements:

1. Can a buyer cancel an agreement due to COVID-19?

The simple answer is no. If a buyer cannot obtain a mortgage, goes into quarantine or the value of the property decreases, these are not acceptable excuses to cancel a real estate agreement. Either terms of an extension are agreed to, or the buyer can be sued for any deficiency the seller suffers on a resale.

2. Can a seller refuse a pre-closing visit due to being afraid of COVID-19?

If the visit is provided for in the agreement, a safe compromise should be worked out, with perhaps only one buyer visiting the home. Such a buyer would be expected to wear a mask and gloves, and only enter the home for a short time (maximum 20 minutes). During such a visit, a buyer should also be required not to touch anything in the home to ensure maximum safety. Another option is for the buyer and seller to agree to a Zoom meeting where the seller goes around the entire house showing the buyer all areas of concern. A final option we have seen is when the seller arranges to vacate the property early on the closing date and have the buyer enter the property for a final inspection. This option provides both parties with a fair final inspection of the home while also leaving enough time to close.

3. Can the Government Land Registry System close down?

While this is theoretically possible, we have been assured by the Director of Titles that this will not occur since the system is being operated by staff who are working remotely. In the unlikely event that this did occur, most real estate closings could still proceed as long as the buyer had title insurance which provides gap coverage, meaning that the agreements can close as scheduled, money can be paid to sellers, keys released to buyer and registrations occurring once the system is up and running again. Gap coverage means that in the unlikely event, a lien or judgment arises in the intervening period, which could affect the title. The buyer’s title insurance policy will remove it.

4. Can a buyer or seller complete a real estate closing without visiting a lawyer in person?

The answer is yes, but not all law firms offer this service. Technically speaking there is no requirement to meet any buyer or seller in person. All document signings can be done by video conference. If a law firm is registered as a bill payee at major banks, buyers can transfer the closing down payment directly to its trust account online, so that they do not have to line up at a bank branch with a mask for an extended period of time to obtain a bank draft. For sellers, this would mean signing all documents by video conference and automatically transferring closing funds by Electronic Funds Transfer directly to the seller’s bank account after closing, the same way real estate commissions are paid after closing.

5. Do you need special clauses to protect buyers and sellers during the pandemic?

Here are three practical clauses to include in any agreement during the pandemic:

  1. The Buyer shall pay the balance of the purchase price, subject to the usual adjustments by wire transfer.
  2. The parties acknowledge and agree that all closing documentation can be signed electronically and forwarded by email or fax in accordance with the Electronic Commerce Act
  3. The parties agree that the keys to the property shall be left in a lockbox at the property and the code to the same is to be provided to the Buyer’s lawyer in escrow pending closing of this transaction.

Otherwise, no further clauses should be added, as they do more harm than good, especially when they give buyers or sellers the right to terminate an agreement. As stated earlier, even in the remote situation that the government registration system goes down, real estate agreements can still close if there is gap coverage in place through the title insurance. Legal advice should always be obtained before any additional clauses are introduced into any real estate agreement of purchase and sale.

This article was supplied by RealEstateLaywers.ca LLP. It is being posted on the blog for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor an endorsement of the author or his firm. Consumers are advised to reach out to and engage their own legal counsel regarding their specific situation.

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