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Easy DIY home staging tips for sellers

06 Jul 2016

For many, selling their home means starting a new and exciting chapter in their lives. While preparing for this next chapter, it is important to prepare the current home for listing to ensure that it stands out from the crowd while on the on market. 

A neutral palette is always a timeless option that will appeal to the largest percentage of potential buyers.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says preparation is a key element to guaranteeing that the home is sold for the best possible price within the shortest time frame. 

He says there are a few tips that homeowners could utilise to give them the edge over the competition.

1. Highlight the idea that the home is 'move-in ready'

When it comes to paint, Goslett says a neutral palette is always a timeless option that will appeal to the largest percentage of potential buyers. He says the same is true for other aspects of the home such as the furniture and window coverings.   

He says it is not necessary to employ the services of a professional interior designer to stage the home before selling, a few simple DIY projects can make a big difference. There is a wealth of information available to sellers online and in property related publications. Ideally, he says the home should look as though it is ready for the buyer to simply move in.

2. Depersonalise and remove clutter

When buyers view a property, they want to be able to envision themselves living there and making it theirs. If possible, it is best to simplify spaces by removing everyday items like TV remotes, piles of laundry, pet toys, schoolwork and the to-do lists on the fridge - this also includes personal photos. 

Well-organised, minimal shelves and counters showcase the space’s potential, rather than the personal items. Goslett says the homeowner is in the process of preparing to sell their home, so why not get started by packing away personal items? It will declutter the home and make it one less thing to worry about during the move, he says. 

A fresh bunch of flowers and some plug-in air fresheners will have the home smelling great and be more inviting. 

3. Cater to the senses 

Sellers should consider what a buyer will experience when they first walk into the home. What will they see, smell, hear and touch? 

There is often an emotional response to a home that is triggered by the senses. For example, the smell of freshly baked cookies will make the house feel more like a home, perhaps evoking a nostalgic feeling in the buyer. 

A dirty, smelly home is not appealing to anyone. Hiring a professional cleaning service will make the home smell and look great. Sticky floors and filthy light switches will only turn buyers off.  

Goslett says homeowners with pets should consider confining them to one area of the property while the house is on show. He says a barking dog can hurry a potential buyer along during the viewing. 

Instrumental music during the showing will appeal to the buyer’ ears too. 

4. Update and simplify

Replacing dated elements in the home with contemporary designs will give it a fresh and modern look. Rather opt for a cleaner, simpler look than going for harsh patterns or edgy colours, and avoid styles that clash with one another. It is better to have an empty wall or bare space, than have elements that don’t work well together.

Here is a checklist that sellers can use when staging their property:


- Ensure the lawn is cut and edged, and weeds are pulled out.

- Remove dead bushes and trees.

- Put away garden tools, hoses and pet toys, and clean up dog waste.

- Power wash the house.

- Ensure the patio or deck is cleaned, freshly stained and in good repair.

- Add outdoor lanterns and candles to the patio area.

- Large cracks in the driveway and walkways must be repaired. 


- Ensure the home is clean, decluttered and appeals to all the senses.

- Modernise or remove dated elements.

- Pack away personal photos and items.

- Clear everyday items and daily messes.

- Do not display toiletries, perfumes and jewellery in the bathroom vanity.

- Ensure small appliances and dishes are not cluttering the kitchen.

- Add fresh flowers or plants throughout the home to add life into the space.

- Ensure all aspects of the home are in good repair and working order. 

Goslett says with these tips in mind, when staging a home, a seller will be able to prepare and enter into the sales process with confidence, knowing that their home is in its best possible condition.
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