Preparing for the Open House: Beyond Cleaning

Achieving that perfect display home condition is not really as overwhelming as it sounds. Some sellers use professional "fluffers" to improve their home's appearance and sale price. Talented fluffers are masters of illusion. They have large storehouses of furniture and accessories or rental arrangements with various stores. After evaluating your home, they may decide to swap your old sofa for one that will make buyers take a second look at the room. After the house is sold the loaner sofa goes back to the store. The same goes for the expensive Persian rug, matching vases or sculpture. While you may not be prepared to use a fluffer or go to these lengths to update your home, there are a few simple ways to get a similar outcome.

Painting is an inexpensive update which can make a dramatic impact on your home. Colour and light are usually the first things people become aware of upon entering a room. Painting with light tones can make a room seem larger and brighter. Select colours on the wall can highlight those in the furniture, rugs or accessories. Usually this is done with complimentary colours (yellow-purple, blue-orange, and red-green) used sparingly or in light tones. Pale yellow walls, for example may highlight royal purple cushions on a sofa.

Flowers are another easy way to make a room seem more appealing. A thirty-dollar investment in a few bouquets can make your home seem cheery and well attended to in the eyes of prospective buyers. If you run out of vases you can always try the rustic look: a clean mason jar (labels removed) with a large bow around the top or pop cans inside a deep basket then covered with florist's moss. Try a large bouquet in the living room or dining room and delicate arrangements of a few flowers in each other room.

Take an objective look at your furniture and decide if you have too much clutter. Why pay to move items you may not even like? More importantly why keep that questionable furniture in your home during an open house? If you have a ratty chair that needs to be reupholstered or items which clash with the majority of your furniture it may be time to take action.

Consider renting artwork. If you have a large blank wall, a captivating painting can imbue the entire room with new energy. Galleries typically rent artwork for 4% or the retail value per month with a minimum two-month rental. You'll find artwork ranges from $400 to $4000 so take a close look at the number of zeros on the price tag!

A few small changes may not transform your home into something you'd find on the celebrity pages but they can make a dramatic impact on buyers.

The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos identify professional services rendered by REALTOR® members of CREA to effect the purchase, sale and lease of real estate as part of a cooperative selling system. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.