Tips for Successfully Selling Your Home. Use a professional.

In these challenging economic times you cannot afford to be turning people away at the door.

I recently entered a home that had the original paint, linoleum tile and fixtures throughout the house.  The décor might be suitable for a family cottage; the kind your grandfather built back in the day and no one wants to change for nostalgia reasons, but even then you would be pushing your luck. The décor plus the little added extras such as stray doggie kibble and big ball of dog hair that should have had its own collar and identification chip helped this house retail for 29.4% below standard asking price for the area. Needless to say this was a power of sale situation and the bank was looking to simply recover its costs. A better kept home would have undoubtedly spent less time on the market and sold for a better price. Appearances matter in in our society and your home is no exception. The way you present your home to the buying public is a major part of how high a dollar and how quickly your home sells.

Imagine that you are a grocery store owner and you want to sell all your goods. You could choose to be a ‘mom and pop’ shop that only caters to others within your ethnicity or dietary preferences. Exotic fruit, spices and other culinary delights are bundled and heaped in this corner or that. The shelves are stocked with imported treats for young and old alike. There is nothing wrong with this, just keep in mind that although many pairs of feet may pass your busy section of the street, they may feel timid to enter your shop or pass it by altogether.

Now picture yourself in the same square footage but offering a wider selection of goods. Now imagine instead of the glorious touch me/smell me baskets and bins, your goods are now carefully arranged in eye catching displays. All your juiciest fruit/veggies as well as your best grocery store specials are strategically placed by the entrance and store windows to entice every passer-by to come in and see what your store has to offer. Since you cannot buy your entire retail stock from yourself (you wouldn’t be making any profit), you had better bring in a lot of customers.

You need to trust your home staging professional. In our grocery store scenario, the more customers that come in, the greater the chance they will find what they are looking for in your store. If they see one thing they like, odds are they will stay long enough to pick up more items and give you more of their hard earned money. The same is true when you are selling your home. You want to make sure that your real estate listing shows people what your home has to offer. The inside of your home should not just reflect your taste in décor. Your listed property should showcase the layout, spaciousness, light and any eye catching features your home has. For example, your television should not eclipse everything in your living room since you are not selling the t.v. with the house. A staging professional will know the right design tips to ensure the focus is on the greatness of your home and not your stuff.

You need to trust your Realtor. Your Realtor is the real estate professional who knows the business. Even if (s)he has only been a Realtor for a week, (s)he is a trained professional with more experience than you. They understand the strategy behind listing your home at the right price to get as many people as possible to come take a look at your home. This is especially true in these challenging economic times. You want to show potential customers a great price to get as many people as possible excited about catching such a great deal, while quantities last, so to speak.

The Realtor is the one with all the right connections. The Realtor may decide to bring in a professional photographer who will know which lighting to use and which angle to shoot each picture. Your Realtor will oversee the negotiation process to get you the best terms for the sale of your property. Your realtor will also get your listing on mls, in real estate flyers and anywhere else necessary to get your home as much exposure as possible. When selling your home it is best to enlist the help of trained professionals who care just as much about a successful outcome as you do.

By Monique Dayes

©Sold By Style Inc. 2010

Selling Your Parent’s Home

Regardless of street address or culture, it would appear that the moment you step back into your parents’ home, you become 10 years old in their eyes. But what happens when they are no longer able to step back in time into that role. What happens if they are periodically stuck in that role? Suddenly you find yourself in the extended remix version of your own personal Freaky Friday. You are the parent and they have become the child.

Suddenly she is the teenager, reminding you with cheeky tone that she is an adult, can make her own decisions and does not need your permission to do anything. How do you express concern over the fedora placed on the stove or the eyeglasses in the refrigerator egg holder? What happens when your loved one pulls a disappearing act again and you do not know if he or she will be able to remember the way home? Jeff Marier knows all too well the struggle of living with a parent with Alzheimer’s. The September 20th article in The Globe And Mail talks about these challenges.

Perhaps your parent’s memory is a little too good. Perhaps they are so fearful of forgetting anything they infuse life like sentiment onto regular everyday objects. The arguments are not about walls lined with posters but walls lined with boxes and trinkets from times past. Trophies sport dust older than your children. What happens when the trophies become the actual boxes themselves? What happens when your parent values the doll clothes from your childhood even after the dolls are long gone? What about a basket full of used light bulbs? Each item has a story. “Why are you keeping this?” is met stammers, silence or finally outbursts of anger. Somewhere this behaviour moved beyond pack rat or junk collector to full blown hoarding.

Each of these scenarios brings their own shared or unique challenges. You are looking at a parent who needs significant personal assistance. The semi-regular check-up once a year/month/week is not going to cut it. These parents need a dedicated professional resource to help them deal with the task at hand. In our example, this task is getting the home ready for sale. Long term care can be expensive and perhaps your parent did not plan for such a possibility. In these times of economic challenge, you may find yourself mentally, emotionally and financially ill prepared to deal with the financial demands of your aging parent. Enlist the help of a specialist.
Counsellors for yourself and your parent may be in order.

Check out local support groups.

Enlist the help of cleaners, professional organizers, repairmen, home stagers , painters, handymen/contractors to help manage the process and divide up the overwhelming task into manageable parts. Get the help of a good counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist to help you both endure the process of making your parent’s home real estate market ready.

Coping Tips:

What Works.
A good night’s sleep changes your perspective. Eat properly and drink your recommended daily water amount. Your body & brain will not function well if you don’t fuel it or you are dehydrated. You cannot do everything, try and you are setting yourself up for failure, share the responsibility with other family members, neighbours or professionals you can rely on. Exercise, you are increasing your physical workload during this process, exercise is a great way to relieve the physical and mental stress during this time.

What Doesn’t Work?

Bullying, arguing or insisting your parent see the situation the way you do. You will find yourself at a stalemate. You will also find one or both of you overcome with feelings of anger, bitterness or resentment, depression or despair. Denial; pretending you both are not facing a challenge. Denial is not working for your parent and it will not work for you. Deciding to sell the home as is, or to pack up the clutter and/or store it off site is only delaying the problem. Failing to carefully prepare your home to be as aesthetically pleasing to as many buyers as possible does both you and your parent a disservice. A carefully staged home brings in more offers and significantly increases the resale value of the home. A little investment of time and money will more than pay for itself come sale time.

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Easy Steps from Listing Loser to Sold By Style Success, by Monique Dayes.

Going for a job interview with food stains on your shirt is a sure fire way to make the wrong impression.  After all, if you were doing the hiring, you would not be excited about working every day with an applicant with serious hygiene issues. The same holds true for potential buyers looking at your home.  Now hear me when I invite all you home owners who are not looking to sell to keep reading as well.

Sour milk on the carpet and Jr’s pasta red sauce wiped on the family room sofa may be endearing at the time but it is also telling everyone who enters your home a story about who you and your family are. That is not to say we turn our families into Mad Men style divas and Dons

who robotically slip into Stepford Wife style living when company is coming. It just may be time to make a bit more of an effort.

Consider this, as much as your friends and family love and adore you they may be talking about you behind your back. Sticks and stones…we know the adage about not giving power to the negative things people say about us. However, as much as your charming, fun loving, easy going nuclear family loves to let loose and really enjoy life, you may find yourself missing out on other experiences. You enjoy each other’s company but wouldn’t it be nice to make sure that your family and friends feel equally comfortable in your home. If when your doorbell rings, your tots know to turn off the lights and hit the floor, you just may be a “messy”. Maybe it’s time to stop racing around when the in-laws call to say they are 15 minutes away.

Home Hygiene matters as much as personal hygiene. The state of your home, your sanctuary, directly affects your state of mind and your ability to function in your daily life. In the article, How Clutter Affects Your State of Mind, Rhonda D. Jones says “the condition of your home is often said to be a reflection of mind and spirit… Clutter also drains your energy and robs your peace of mind, not to mention all the countless time wasted looking for items you misplaced.  A great tool for help with  de-cluttering, check out De-Clutter Fast!


It goes without say to make sure all sinks, toilets, tubs and tiles are clean and sparkling. Check light fixtures and remove all dirt and grime from the light switch, cover and surrounding wall space. Be sure to clean the floor and put a little effort around the base of the sink, toilet and corners of the floor. Nothing scarier than entering a bathroom and seeing the dust bunnies and hair balls scatter as you swing the door open. This is not the impression you want to leave potential home buyers.


A kitchen is a powerful place to be. A single smell can conjure up delicious memories of good times spent with family. However, you want all your potential buyers and maybe even a friend or two to wish that your home was their home. Pay special attention to your stovetop and surrounding area. Leftover layers of delicious pasta sauce, gravies and curries are not an appetizing way to showcase your stove, backsplash and range hood. Although worn wood can be ever so charming, the same does not hold true for laminate countertops. It just may be time for a replacement if your countertop is stained or worn.


If your basement is not finished and you are about to list your house, take our expert advice, DO NOT attempt to do the renovations yourself in the next 2 weeks before the open house. I have seen realtors sent into a tailspin when well-meaning home owners try their hand at ‘do it yourself’ work. Get the help or advice from a professional. An unfinished basement can be staged to appeal to many buyers. A poorly finished basement costs your money and will directly lower the value of your property. It may even dissuade some buyers from putting in an offer as they now have to factor in the cost of re-doing your basement.

Bedrooms, Office/Den, Living, Dining Rooms:

Don’t forget to check the kids’ rooms. Balled up Kleenexes and socks, toys, books, puzzles all need to find a tidy (off the floor) home during the home showings. De-Clutter & De-Personalize. Get rid of all the extra baggage we like to line our little (sub)urban nests with. For a more detailed steps on how to do this, check out our Preparing Your House For Sale article.


Vacuum, sweep, dust, everywhere that Fluffy and Rocky like to call home. Put fresh paper in the bird cage, and remove all toys and other potential pet induced trip hazards. Clean tops of sofas, stairwells and anywhere else animal hair, odor or other surprises like to congregate. As much as your pet is part of the family, it is usually a safe bet to assume your family and friends do not share your sentiment. This is especially true when it comes to showcasing your home as prospective buyers come through. An obligatory crotch sniff from your adorable Rottweiler is not the best first impression to make.


What does your family have to do with helping your house get sold? Given that despite your efforts to the contrary, they cannot be sold with the home, it is best to keep everyone out while prospective buyers are looking around. If you are that concerned about your valuables walking out during the open house, then a security deposit box or other safe spot outside your home may be best during this time.  As much as you have enjoyed grandma/grandpa’s stoic presence and occasional words of Yoda style wisdom and insight, it may not go over so well during the home showing. This might be a good time to pack up grandma/grandpa and the kids and head off to the park or some other spot that will free up time for your realtor to get the job done.

Preparing Your House For Sale

Getting your house ready for the market may seem like a daunting task to some of you and the rest of you think that it’s no big deal.  You may think  your house is great as it is.  After all, you bought it right?  Not necessarily.  Check out the list below to see if your home is ready to compete in the real estate market.


The Rule of thumb is: If you haven’t used it in over a year or you didn’t even know you had it, you probably don’t need it.

  • Donate it.  There are many organizations that will put your belongings in the hands that really need them.
  • Sell it.  Garage sales are a great way to get rid of things you don’t need.
  • This includes cleaning the house from top to bottom.  Too overwhelming?  Hire a professional cleaner, window washer and carpet cleaner.  This gentle but powerful multi-purpose cleaner does a fantastic job.
  • Pack up collectibles, knick-knacks, books, toys, unnecessary electronics, etc.
  • Clean out the closets! When you open the closet doors you should be able to see the floor, not junk. Buyers WILL open your closets and drawers.


Pack up personal photographs, family heirlooms, trophies and religious items.  Don’t feel like you are denying who you are and what you believe in by doing this.  Buyers have a hard time picturing themselves in a space that is littered with another person’s belongings.  You want buyers to imagine their own belongings there.  Think of a modern upscale hotel room, clean, fresh and welcoming.


A fresh coat of paint will brighten and renew the space.

  • Wash walls first to prep.
  • Use primer, especially if you are painting a lighter color over a darker one.
  • Use drop sheets/cloths.
  • Tape off ceiling edges, door frames and baseboards.

Make NECESSARY repairs.

The idea is NOT to spend money on unnecessary things.  You will have to judge what is
necessary and what isn’t.  A home staging professional can assist you in determining  what to invest your money in, because it is an investment.

  • Replace lightbulbs.  Don’t chance having a lightbulb blow on a potential buyer.
  • Fix plumbing and electrical issues.
  • Remove, nails in the walls that are no longer needed, then patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix cupboard and closet doors.

These tips mentioned above will give you a good start on how to prepare your house for sale; however, there are secrets that will turn your house into the most sought out house on the block and bring you miles ahead of the competition.  To learn home staging secrets, click here.


Welcome to Sold by Style’s Home Staging and ReDesign Blog!  We will be discussing DIY ways to sell your home FASTER and for TOP dollar.

Stay tuned…

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