Staging one’s home can give potential buyers a better sense of what rooms might be like with their own furnishings and accents.

HOMEFINDER: Consider staging in this active real estate market

Designer offers tips to make your home more appealing

In Victoria’s red hot real estate market, homes are being snatched up quickly.

According to the Victoria Real Estate Board, this year started with the busiest January since 2002, with 539 properties sold – an increase of 53 per cent over the same month last year.

So how do sellers separate their homes from hundreds of others on the market?

Daria Bunting, principal designer and stager with Victoria-based I Dare-Ya Designs, said staging your home can help it sell faster and on average, fetch five per cent above the asking price.

Staging is about emphasizing the features of the townhouse, house or condo, and can help give your home an edge over similar homes on the market.

“You’re not trying to show how you live in the home, you’re trying to show the features of the home,” Bunting said. “You want people to see themselves in that home. You’re trying to show the home, not what’s in your home.”

While real estate agents can suggest staging, there are a number of things sellers can do to make their space more appealing to potential home buyers, said Bunting.

The first is to declutter the space – get rid of magazines and loose paper, and clean off kitchen countertops to give the home a simple feeling.

The second is to depersonalize the home, hiding family photos and personalized artwork that could turn people off the home.

For people who have lived in a home for several years, returning the spaces back to their original purpose is also important. For example, if you have converted a living room or bedroom into office space, convert it back.

The condition of a home can also affect how fast a home sells. Put on a fresh coat of paint in a neutral colour, clean your carpets or hardwood floors and think about updating an out-of-style bathroom to help increase your home’s value.

“These are a bit more of a cost for the seller. The client will get value back in the sale,” Bunting said.

Her final tip is a sensitive topic, but addressing odours of the home is also important.

“If it’s pets or food smells, lots of different cultures have different smells that can deter a potential buyer coming in,” she said, adding airing out the home is useful.

Staging one’s home shouldn’t take more than a day’s work, but can be highly rewarding for the seller. Bunting has seen an increase in the number of people staging their homes, especially with the real estate market in its current very active state.

“A lot of realtors may not think it’s needed because the market is hot, but actually it will help their clients sell their home for even more and be the number one on the street, as opposed to one that isn’t staged,” she said.

Beside helping a home sell faster, she added, staging a home gives sellers “a chance to make a little bit more money on their investment.”

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