Tips to make you money

Home-staging tips for top-dollar selling

By Crispin Butterfield

The real-estate industry has been piping hot for the past six months in the Kelowna, aptly named one of Canada’s fastest growing cities.

It’s absolutely a seller’s market as people relocate to the “Little L.A. of Canada” in droves. Want to make sure your home stands out from all the others on the MLS?

I have six top home-staging tips guaranteed to help buyers decide to snap yours up, and for top dollar…


  • If you’ve lived in your home for a long time, it’s hard, but essential to let go and think of your house objectively. As a product on a shelf, your home needs attention to detail and proper placement to gain the attention of the right buyer.
  • Everyone thinks their home is unique, special, and likely one-of-a-kind, however, you want to showcase your home in the best light possible, which means committing to appealing to a specific group of buyers.


  • The key here is to feature the bones of the house and what it has to offer potential buyers, not the family vacation to Disney, or any other overabundance of personal expression.
  • It may seem a little extreme, but the bottom line is you want to get buyers to visualize themselves living here, not feel as though they're intruding on your personal space. 
  • And remember: more than 85 per cent of buyers can’t see past what is presented to them as a first impression.
  • Remove collectibles, children’s artwork, knick knacks, religious artifacts, and most of your family pictures, allowing the house to simply breathe and affording your buyer the opportunity to envision this as their new home.


  • After taking out personal mementos and family items, remove over-flow furniture and accessories; rooms that are pared down feel bigger, and also allow the buyer to imagine their furniture in the space.
  • Homes filled with knick knacks, room-crowding furniture, and even heavy drapery will stop a buyer from mentally envisioning what could be, leaving them to get caught up in the what is.
  • Spaces should feel delicately lived in, but not bare. Homes that have zero furniture or decor rarely show well in comparison. Have just enough gracing your spaces to show buyers the home is livable and cozy.

  • Here's a little secret: the reason great hotel design works is that it appeals to a wide set of tastes: so too should your décor. Bold red and gold walls may be great for you, but will absolutely turn off a potential buyer. Stick to simple and light earth tones, and go easy on the accents. A little pop of fresh colour here and there can be inspiring, but remember the old adage of less is more... it won't fail you here.

        Clean As A Whistle

  • Invest in a cleaning company before you show the house; nothing — not even a fresh coat of paint—will yield you a higher return on your investment than a pristine, top-to-bottom cleaning.
  • This goes far beyond a thorough dusting and vacuuming: wash windows inside and out, wash cupboard doors front and back, overhaul every grout line and caulking bead in your bathrooms, get your floors sparkling, and have furniture and carpets cleaned.
  • A tip that packs a huge punch: ratty old linens, stained pillows, or worn out sofa blankets are a huge turn-off to buyers touring your home.
  • Spend a few dollars and opt for crisp white duvet covers, fresh and fun toss pillows, and soft, silky throws – it shows you take pride and great care in your spaces, and you’ll be hands-down more appealing than the homes they’ve visited that didn’t take the time to pay attention to the details.

         Show It Off

  • On the days of your open houses, bring in fresh flowers, light a scented, but not overly fragrant, candle, and put a bowl of vibrant lemons or limes out on the kitchen counter. Set out several bottles of Perrier. Turn on all the lights - even if it's sunny out, and make sure all doors and window coverings in the home are open.
  • And most importantly, tidy up. Shampoo bottles out of sight, beds made perfectly, laundry put away, counters clean, dishwasher emptied.
  • All evidence of your family's recent occupation should be on the down-low, giving your home every chance of selling quickly, and for top dollar.

Crispin Butterfield owns Urban Theory Interior Design in Kelowna, and has been designing soul-hugging residential and commercial spaces across Western Canada for the past 13 years.

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