Recently, a friend asked me what the difference was between Staging and Decorating because she thought my house was nicely decorated but I was a stager…
Excellent question, I thought; this is what I told her:

Decorating is applying an individual and personal style or touch to your house; it’s personal because what you love might not be your girlfriend’s cup of tea or your husband’s must have for his man cave.
The colours have to work together with the upholstery and the furniture to create an atmosphere or ambiance for your vision.
Usually, this involves a larger budget and it normally is not very time sensitive, meaning it can take some time to come together; fabric needs to be ordered, wallpaper hung and furniture selected. You might have to find some pieces that need to be custom made or one-of-a-kind antiques – all this will take time. You could hire someone to do a renovation, move a wall or remove one, depending on the style you are trying to achieve.

Staging, on the other hand, is not meant for the homeowner; it is meant for a prospective buyer by using the buyers’ eyes. Using lifestyle selling techniques a stager creates a broader appeal of the property. They are selling the space and not the contents! Staging is universal – while every stager will have their personal way to do the job the result will not vary that much (the price you have to pay might though, depending if the stager uses only your own furniture and accessories or brings some in).

Living in a staged home will require some adjustment for the owner and their family; it won’t be easy but it will be for a very limited time and serves a distinct purpose, namely getting the house sold quickly– in fact, when you decide to stage, you have mentally already sold your house!

Staging is not ‘fluffing’ by removing clutter and packing away personal items. It is rearranging, refreshing, reducing and editing a space to help secure an acceptable offer from a buyer. In that respect, it is a budget-sensible project with a much tighter deadline – staging usually costs less than the first price reduction you are considering taking because your house is sitting and not moving!

So, if you are selling your house staging is a necessity – decorating is a luxury!

Spring is in the air finally… Well, maybe!
There are homes popping up for sale on every street, almost like the spring flowers in my front yard; there are 3 just down my street and all of them were listed last week.

You have been thinking of moving for a while. You decide to call the real estate agent and to list your house – but your neighbour three doors down beats you to the punch and his ‘for sale’ sign goes up. Should you wait? You really had your heart set on making a life change, move to a condo or downtown, closer to your busy kids. What now, will this set you back another 6 months? No need to worry, even if the two homes listed are similar you can make a spectacular entry into the buyers market by making sure your house stands out from the competition. Remember, competition doesn’t have to be a bad, it can work to your advantage; even if your house is listed for more. The real estate agents use competition to their advantage all the time to show clients differences in asking price (look how much more bang for your buck you get for an extra 20K extra? How one house is updated vs. another has lots of necessary renos and money yet to be invested?).

Long story short: your house needs to be ‘move-in-ready’ and updated; otherwise it will be used as the lesser one of two in a comparison.

Apply a fresh coat of paint to the walls and the front door, and give some TLC to your front yard; it will help make an inviting entry for the potential buyer. Fix or replace that cracked light fixture that has been secretly bugging you for the last two years! It will not cost you a fortune and it will bring buyers to your house and keep them there instead of being overlooked.

There are lots of things a seller can not influence, like the location of your home and its size – that’s why buyers pre-select their new homes by searching for them on the internet and discarding the ones that are not in the right neighborhood or don’t have the rooms they want. If your neighborhood is chosen and your house is the right size for them – that’s when the tables are turned in your favour! You, as a seller, are in control and can make a buyer take that second look and want to linger – after all statistics show that buyers make up their mind within 3-6 minutes after entering a house. I know this is true as we bought our last two homes within minutes of entering (well my husband did… but let’s not go there!).

In Spring’s competitive housing market, it really pays off to take the time and stage your home: your’s will be the house all your buyers can see themselves living in. That means you will sell faster and for more money than that neighbour’s hastily listed home!