Staging your Cottage Country Property
There are thousands of home-staging consultants in business for good reason: properly staged cottages and homes sell faster. Why? Successful staging, whether by you or a professional, enables a buyer to see themselves in your cottage or home. Professional staging consultants accomplish this by following some simple guidelines.
Divide and conquer
Take a good look around your property. Now imagine it with only half of the belongings. Some consultants even aim to remove at least two-thirds of items to allow a room’s features (including size, flooring, and architectural details) to come forward so that buyers aren’t focusing on your multigenerational collection of "stuff".
Follow a witness protection program
Put your property under a “witness protection program” and remove anything that identifies who owns it. That way a prospective buyer doesn’t have to mentally clear you out before they can imagine themselves in your cottage or home. At the top of the list are family photos, grad certificates and notes to each other stuck on the fridge. Prospective buyers don’t need to know that Brooke won the sailing regatta or that you’re out of milk.
Let there be natural light
Open your doors and windows, clean them and don’t block them! We strongly recommend hiring a professional window cleaner if you don't have the time or inclination. Our natural Muskoka views draw in potential buyers so don't miss an opportunity to showcase yours. Keeping windows clean, curtains tied back and blinds up will let in more natural light which is a big plus for prospective buyers. And as for the odd rotting deck and dock boards you've skipped over for years - this doesn’t mean that you should ignore them - keeping them hidden will make buyers suspect that there’s something wrong. If there is, fix it.
Out, out, darn Spot
While few can resist the unconditional love of a pet, many prospective buyers would prefer not to see pet hairs or smell evidence of such. And as friendly as your pet is to you, it might not be for everyone. Having had first hand client experience with a pet iguana we can also add that it's best not left in the living room during showings as clients will then go anywhere but the living room. Except the kids. You get the picture. If possible, try to find a place for your pet to stay for a few days and have your carpets steam-cleaned to eliminate any lingering odours. Or try to have your pet reign in one room or on one floor and give the area a thorough cleaning prior to an open house. Remember also to tuck pet beds, litter boxes and food dishes out of the way.
Peek behind closed doors
Take a good look at your closets, cupboards and any outbuildings that are used for storage or workshops. What kind of impression would they give a prospective buyer? Are they bursting at the seams or do they provide ample room for all your things? Take a minute to organize your items, wipe down shelves and air out your cupboards. Clearing out the clutter will work in your favour; interested buyers will always take a peek, even if they don’t admit to doing it.
Follow your nose
People use all of their senses when they evaluate a property, so remember to keep their noses happy. Avoid preparing aromatic foods using garlic, onions or other fragrant ingredients two days before your open house. Tuck fabric softener sheets in areas where shoes and sporting equipment is stored. Need to dispel a smell in a jiffy? Avoid air fresheners - this generally turns off buyers and especially those with allergies. Instead, open up all of the interior doors in your cottage or home and cook up a batch of ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookies. Not only do they smell delicious, you can leave them out on a plate for people to nibble on as they consider your property.
One focal point
Staging professionals know that the best way to showcase a room is to choose one focal point. It could be a window with spectacular Muskoka view, fireplace or distinctive piece of furniture—the goal is for it to draw the eye in and then around the room. This is why the elimination of clutter and excess furniture is key; you don’t want potential buyers distracted when they are inspecting the floors, trim and overall size and shape of the room. This is when they are picturing how their belongings will work in the space.
Minimize the negative
Stand at the entrance to a room. What is your eye drawn to first? If it’s something you prefer buyers not focus on, like a stucco ceiling or sponge-painting gone wild, your best defence is an eye-catching accessory near the front of the room. It’s done on staging shows all the time—they use a bowl of green apples or a vase of fresh flowers to successfully take eyes away from an offending feature for that pivotal moment when a first impression is made.
So there you have it. By investing some time in staging, you can ensure that your property is set to sell. The next step is to price your property to sell. Contact us now for tips on setting the right price for your cottage country property!
Contact Us for Tips on Setting the Right Price