Staging a home


What is “staging”?

Staging involves setting up a home that is for sale, so that it’s visually appealing to as many people as possible. You’re neutralizing or de-personalizing a space. But, at the same time staging is intended to highlight the features of a home.

How is staging different than interior decorating?

Decorating is the opposite, it’s very personal. When you decorate for someone, you are reflecting the homeowner’s personality and individual tastes. One homeowner’s sense of style might not appeal to other people’s taste.

So, for the purpose of showing a home to potential buyers, they might have difficulty picturing themselves in that space, depending on how the home is decorated.

With Strathcona Park homes being the age they are, what considerations are most important to stage it correctly?

When I walk into an older house, I identify the key components that are dating the home. It could be something as simple as a light fixture. I spend a lot of time working with clients to make subtle changes that can make a big difference – without major renovations.

It’s important to focus on the key rooms to showcase, for example: the kitchen, living spaces and master bedroom. These are the rooms potential buyers would spend the most time in, so it’s crucial to present spaces that help them picture themselves spending a good portion of their lives in.

When working with a home that looks dated, what are some simple things you can do to freshen, or liven it up?

There are definitely a lot of cost-effective ways to update a home without a need for major renovations. Things like choosing a paint scheme that uses trending colours, removing dated wallpaper can make a big difference. Updating lighting and window treatments are also a very cost-effective and simple way of making a home look newer.

The biggest thing, when I go into an older home, is removing any furniture or accessories that might distract potential buyers. In many cases, the space appears more appealing by simply removing furniture, and hanging some nice artwork on the walls.

Older homes have great character, but it’s important to create a space that prospective buyers can envision themselves in, while showcasing the home’s best features.

When should a homeowner start staging their house? When they decide to sell your home?

Absolutely. The second that you make the decision to put that “For Sale” sign on the lawn. The first stage, is decluttering – and getting rid of items you no longer want or need. It can be a huge and very time consuming process. Naturally, the longer we live in a home, we accumulate a number of items.

It’s also really important to meet with a stager and seek out guidance and direction if possible. Often, there are items already in the home that can help with the staging process. Working with a stager is very helpful for the sales process, especially when preparing a home to be photographed.

How much can people expect to spend when staging a home that is comparable to a typical Strathcona home?

Many stagers can work within a client’s budget, but every home is different. It really depends on how much help the client needs. Really, a staging consultation and a few accessories can make a huge difference – and can cost as little as two or three hundred dollars.

How do you properly intermingle staging items with the homeowner’s belongings?

Most homes don’t have enough secondary lighting, or pillows. Quite often homeowners don’t have a lot of artwork, or what they do have is not to scale with the space that they are decorating. So, I use staging accessories that help fill those particular visual voids in the home.

Staging accessories are very neutral, so that they can work well in a variety of homes. Generally, people are good at introducing colour, but sometimes there is not enough of that colour. In those cases, we’ll bring in accessories that work well with those colour schemes and really bring out the character of a house.

Do you ever stage homes to suit a specific demographic or an “ideal buyer?”

No. For me, it’s important that the home appeals to as many different personas and people as possible. If you have ten, or more people coming for an open-house you want them all to picture themselves living in that home.

Is it possible for a home to be “over-staged?”

Absolutely.  A home should be staged just enough to wow potential buyers, and give them a firm idea of what the house would look, or feel like if they lived there. If there’s too much staging, you run the risk of distracting from the house itself, which is what you want to draw attention to in the first place.

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