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As if selling your house wasn’t stressful enough, most realtors now insist on staging to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck. According to Toronto-based stagers Redesign4More, staging can potentially increase the value of your home by $20,000 to $70,000. Wow, that’s a lot of cash, right? Well, unfortunately, hiring a professional can be f#&*ing expensive! And that’s why we’ve pulled together 6 tricks to make your property shine without costing you a fortune in the process.

Get rid of all of your crap

That collection of vintage action figures on your shelf or the finger painting gallery by your niece tacked up on the fridge may seem like quirky statement pieces, but most people are just looking for a blank canvas where they can project their own style. Even industry insider Rob Koci advises against too many personal touches, because while they may be meaningful to you, prospective buyers may not be as invested in your vision. Find a friend with an empty garage or basement and then remove the following:

  • Any oversized or unnecessary pieces of furniture
  • Personal photos, drawings or collectables
  • Clutter stuffed in closets or under furniture (including your bed)
  • Toiletries on your bathroom counter and in the shower—you want your incredible organization and minimalist skills to shine here
  • Small appliances on your kitchen countertops
  • Any knick knacks
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Light it up

Like a cave, a dark space is uninviting. Make sure all of your lights have bulbs and are working. You might also want to think about adding some lamps for ambience and to make the space seem cozier. Some great inexpensive options are these HOLMLIDEN ($35 at IKEA) or KLABB ($30 at IKEA) table lamps, which you can take with you when you move.To add instant warmth to the space, switch out your light bulbs for ones with a more yellow tint, or a cooler blue tint to mimic daylight.

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Create versatility in your space

Maybe you’re more into eating at your kitchen island, but if there’s room for a dining table in your space, make sure you have one. Same goes for any nooks that would be perfect for a desk.

A lot of people fall into the trap of pushing all of their furniture against the walls, leaving voids of unused space in the middle of their rooms. Instead, think of grouping furniture together into little vignettes. Create a sitting area, a reading nook or a dining space. Even if it’s not the way you would typically have things set up, it will show people all of the different ways the space can be used.

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Borrow stuff

Have you realized that your couch is way too big, or do you need some different art to give that wow factor? Before you fork over a wad of cash to buy new stuff, think about renting. Furniture rentals are by no means cheap, but they are more cost effective than buying a bunch of new stuff. A quick Google search should find you a few options in your city.

For decorative accessories, art or small furnishings, go to places with good return policies like Walmart or HomeSense, where you can buy what you need and then return it after your house has sold.

If both of these options still feel expensive, do a quick search on Craigslist or Kijiji to see if there are any pieces that might work. Once you’re finished with them, you can resell them on the site.

Still not getting what you need? Look for a group on Facebook like Bums Trading Zone (Toronto-based), where users trade goods for goods. There are ways to be cheap and still get what you’re after, you just need to be a little creative.

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Clean and refresh

Nobody wants to buy a make-work project. When you’re selling a home, you want it to look it’s absolute best. If there were ever a time for a deep clean, it’s now. Also, doing any small repairs and adding a fresh coat of paint will hide any cracks in the walls from seasonal shifting and make the place look nice and fresh. Try to stick to a neutral palette and paint at least a week before you show, so you avoid any paint smells. Instead of hiring professionals, bribe some friends with pizza to come over and help out. Pizza and beer, if you really want to lock ’em in.

cleaning

Increase your curb appeal

In the same way you judge a book by its cover, people will judge your home based on its curb appeal. Make sure the outside looks as good by doing the following:

  • If you have grass, cut it. And while you’re at it, tidy up any gardens
  • Plant some flowers! It will add so much life and colour
  • Set up your patio to show people what a great entertaining space you have
  • Light it up just like the inside so that it’s bright and inviting
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