Home Staging Tips: Creating Ambiance for Viewings

Our clients often ask us about staging their homes to look like the models seen in magazines, to help attract buyers.  In most cases, hiring a professional staging or decorating company who will bring in furniture and décor isn't necessary – though if you've been into minimalist living, or still using your grandfather's old furniture, our team would be happy to recommend a reputable, reasonably priced staging company to you!

Washing by chatirygirl
Washing by chatirygirl

In most cases, however, what needs to be done is de-cluttering and fluffing.  Think your home, if nobody really lived there.  Houses that are not only in move-in condition, but that are actively inviting to buyers by creating space for their own personal stamp, typically sell the fastest and achieve the best price.

Here's what to do, outside and in, that will transform your home into a buyer's dream.


You only have about a minute to create a good first impression!  Depending on the season of course…

  • Mow the lawn
  • Rake leaves
  • Trim trees and shrubs that keep light out of the house
  • Remove dead plants
  • Shovel snow
  • Pick up tools, garbage cans, hoses, toys, and building materials and store them neatly in a storage area
  • Replace broken or missing roof shingles
  • Straighten and clean the gutters and downspouts
  • Clean all windows and mend torn screens
  • Consider painting the front door, window frames and shutters
  • Paint or replace your mailbox and post
  • Dress up the front yard with some simple landscaping.


Step back and look at your home as if you were seeing it for the first time – or as if your in-laws were about to visit...

  • Clean, dust and de-clutter every room to remove your own personality from the house as much as possible; one or two decorative items per surface is enough
  • Steam clean carpets
  • Wash and/or wax the floors
  • Wash the walls, insides of windows and light fixtures
  • Tighten loose stair railings and clean all woodwork
  • Patch cracks and nail holes in the walls, and repaint walls in neutral colors
  • Nail down creaking boards
  • Oil any sticking or squeaking doors
  • Rearrange or remove furniture to make your rooms look more spacious (you can rent a temporary storage locker if need be
  • Clear off counters
  • Clean all appliances and fixtures
  • Re-caulk tubs and showers
  • Take under-used items to Goodwill
  • Organize shelves and straighten shoes
  • Be sure that sliding doors operate smoothly and knobs on drawers are secure
  • Dust and wash the washer, dryer and water heater
  • Remove junk and recycling
  • Make sure cat litter is cleaned and refreshed regularly

Right Before a Showing

You probably remember going on showings with your Realtor® when you were buying your current home.  Remember the excitement you felt as you entered each home you had identified as interesting?  In the car on the way over, you might have been thinking, 'This could be the one' – a feeling that might have diminished as you entered the home.  Remember what it felt like when you encountered things you didn't like about the house?  That sinking feeling is what we are trying to minimize when you are selling your home.

When buyers' agents call our office to book a showing (a.k.a. viewing) at your home, we will let you know right away, so you can plan to be out, move any loud or offensive pets, or otherwise arrange to give the buyers as much privacy as possible.  To help minimize inconvenience, we will have discussed appropriate showing times (such as no showings after 9:00 p.m., for example) in advance, to work well with your schedule.  As much as possible, we'll steer people towards the public open houses as well, so that you don't have to rearrange your life too much.

When a showing is planned, there are some tips in place to make your home as inviting as humanly possible to the people who have driven all that way to come and see it.

  • Do everything you can to brighten the interior of your home; with Calgary's climate, unless you're selling in the summer, there are few hours of natural light
  • Open the blinds and curtains, and fix any windows that won't open
  • Always maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house, even if you are going to be away for an extended period of time
  • Use bright light bulbs in the foyer
  • Use a fragrance diffuser, fresh flowers, vanilla extract on a light bulb, or incense (not artificial air fresheners) to fill the house with a pleasant aroma
  • Turn on lamps and additional lighting if the house is dark
  • Air out the house to get rid of cooking, pet odours, and so on
  • Make sure everything is spotless
  • Especially in poor weather, provide a place for boots, overshoes and umbrellas
  • Display photos of the house in summer to show landscaping if selling in the winter months.

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