Jamie Stewart

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Selling your house or condo? Here’s what to know about staging

Selling your house or condo? Here’s what to know about staging

Once considered a “nice to have,” staging by a design professional is now commonplace—and in competitive markets, it’s absolutely vital for getting your home sold quickly, and at top dollar.

If you’ve heard that putting your home on the market can be overwhelming—well, that’s an understatement. Moving is considered one of the top five most stressful life events, up there with the death of a loved one, job loss or serious illness. Home ownership is also the largest financial investment for many Canadians; whether you’re looking to turn over a rental condo, or are parting with your beloved family home, the stakes are high for getting top dollar.

While some factors you can’t change, such as the strength of your local market, seasonal weather, and desirability of the neighbourhood, will play a role in the success of a real estate listing, there are some variables within your control as a seller. The first is to choose a listing agent that provides you with competent, knowledgeable representation (hint-hint, get in touch and let’s discuss your next home investment, with no obligation!).  The second is to ensure your home looks its absolute best from the moment it hits the market. 

These days, getting condos or houses for sale into market-ready shape requires the help of a stager—a design professional who specializes in making homes as aesthetically pleasing as possible to buyers. Once considered a “nice to have,” or an option for higher-end properties only, home staging is now commonplace—and in competitive markets like Toronto and Vancouver, it’s absolutely vital for getting your home sold quickly, and at top dollar.

Research proves staging pays off. According to an American study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 83% of agents agreed that staging made it easier for buyer clients to envision themselves in the home. Further, 22% reported an increase in offer values for staged homes, while 28% reported staged homes had fewer days on market.

Staging has doubled over the past five years in the Vancouver market, in lockstep with increasingly competitive buying conditions. First impressions are very powerful, especially in a competitive market. The majority of potential buyers will struggle to see a space’s full potential when they are distracted by a cluttered or chaotic room. 

Here’s what homeowners should keep in mind when staging their home for sale.

Get ready to paint and purge

At their first visit, your stager will make a number of recommendations. Doing a big purge—removing anything that adds clutter to the home, crowds its space, or dates its aesthetic—is typically top of the list. Sellers can expect to get in touch with their inner Marie Kondo, placing items in storage, hiding personal knick knacks, and disposing of accumulated mess.

The most important thing that the home is presented as a stylish, yet blank slate that prospective buyers can picture themselves living in. Creating a feeling via a bright and airy canvas will first bring the buyer through the door, but also inspire them to personalize the space to make it their own—and emotional connections are very important when making a major life purchase.

The clutter factor is so huge when you walk in. One, it’s just not a comfortable feeling, and two, it doesn’t give you that gut feeling of ‘I want to live here, I want this to be my home.’ But it can also make the space look smaller. When there aren’t things on the floor, it looks like there’s more square footage, it opens up the space.

Once the purge has occurred, the stager will likely recommend a fresh coat of paint, preferably in a pale, neutral colour, which also helps create the feeling of a large, open space. They will then bring in a few pieces of rented furniture and accent pieces to further polish the space, and move around the home’s layout to maximize its visual appeal.

Remove evidence of pets

Your fur baby may be a cherished part of your home, but it’s important to present it as an animal-free space, as potential buyers may not share your affinity for pets due to allergies, hygienic concerns, or even religious reasons. Professionally clean your carpets and upholstered furniture of any pet hair, scrub away lingering litter-box smells, and ensure all pet accessories are out of sight. If possible, it’s best to keep your pet offsite for the entire time your home is being shown.

When in doubt, go digital

If there are some things these past few years have taught us are there are ways to simplify digitally. Virtual staging can be accomplished by using professional industry softwares plus you will note greater returns on your investment. 


In summary: 

Staging is all about helping buyers see the potential. Prepping your home to list has become more important than ever, with the housing market being as competitive as ever. Planning ahead and tackling home projects ahead of time will give you an even bigger advantage against comparable listings in your area. If you are looking for a quick sale, staging paired with the right price will be your winning combination.


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