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Q: We moved overseas a couple of years ago and have been letting our home.

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We have now decided to sell it, but as the tenants have already moved out, the house will be vacant. Is that a good or bad thing? Any tips?

A: While it can be hard for viewers to make a critical emotional connection when the property is empty, there are several advantages to showing an empty home. Vacant homes allow for easy access for short-notice viewings and allow a buyer to see the basics of what they are buying and also to plan any renovations.

Fully staging a home is costly and time-consuming. But a few inexpensive staging tricks will make a home seem more inviting.

◆ Leave the lights on during viewings to add warmth.
◆ Keep the lawn and exterior tidy.
◆ Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door, and use a pot plant or two, a new welcome mat and new house numbers.
◆ Strategically placed rugs will help define spaces and add a splash of colour.
◆ Paint walls in neutral colours.
◆ Well-placed mirrors will brighten and lighten a room.
◆ Soften cold, hard surfaces of a bathroom with neatly folded, fluffy towels.
◆ Arrange a couple of accessories on the kitchen counter.
◆ A vase or two of fresh flowers will add colour and make the home more inviting. – Steve Thomas, secure estate specialist for  Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

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