Home staging picks up steam in Calgary

You open the front door and are greeted by a welcoming ambiance of warm lighting and fresh colours. Every room shows its potential with complementary furniture and just the right amount of space, highlighting the many aspects of a perfect home.

Don’t you just love show homes? They make you see the world through rose-tinted windows, allowing you see just how wonderful your life could be if you lived in that house.

But what if it wasn’t a show home? What if it was your own home? And what if you could induce these feelings in potential buyers of your home?

It is possible to make your home look like a show home and as a result sell your home faster. The solution is simple, a home stager. But how do you know if home stagers are right for you and your budget?

Before putting their house on the market, homeowners Colette and Jim O’Brien wanted to look for a way to make their home more desirable for potential buyers. They began discussing options with their realtor, who introduced them to the world of home staging.

“I thought our house would sell as is,” Colette explained. “But I didn’t think we could list it for as much if we left the house the way it was.”

Enter Darcy Anderson, from Designing Home Impressions.Home stager Darcy Anderson says that a home for sale needs to look like it is ready to be moved into by the potential buyers.

Photo by Lauren Gilbart

Anderson, who has been a home stager since 2004, said that when she first started out, staging was relatively unknown.

“It was a popular concept down in the United States and Eastern Canada but still very much in its infancy here in Alberta,” Anderson said. “I realized the need for it after seeing properties on the market that did not show well. Homes would be listed that needed repairs, painting and organizing, and sellers were losing money just by not investing a bit of money and work into their home.”

What is home staging?

Just as realtors are trained to sell your house, home stagers are trained to help make your house sell fast and for its optimum value. They do this by looking at your house through the eyes of the potential buyer, based on the demographic area that you live in. The point of a home stager is to highlight and enhance rooms in your house to make them more inviting and livable for a wide range of people.

“Properties need to look move-in ready,” Anderson said. “Buyers don’t want to buy work. In today’s market buyers are less inclined and have less time to want to renovate a house after they move in.”

She continued: “For some clients, a home stager will come in and make recommendations on improvements that the homeowner can do on their own. For other clients, the home stager may furnish the entire home including bringing in furniture, accessories and art so that buyers can emotionally connect and visualize the space as their home.”

What are the benefits?

Top 5 tips for homeowners that cannot afford a stager:

  • Keep house white-glove clean
  • De-clutter/organize closets and storage
  • Fix any repairs around the house
  • Eliminate pet and cooking odors from the home
  • Shampoo carpets

Deirdre Halferty has been a realtor in Calgary for 12 years and attests to the way staging can increase a home’s value.

“If you can do anything to set your home above the rest, you have to do it to get an edge,” Halferty explained. “Buyers need to see themselves living in a house and if they cannot get past seeing all your lifelong belongings, it becomes too large a leap of faith for them to see their furniture and children playing in that home.”

Anderson further added that those who don’t stage could be leaving money on the table. Potential buyers will always be looking for ways to lower the listing price, and the more flaws they can find in your house, the less amount of money they’ll offer.

But is it budget-friendly?

If you’ve got a tight budget, you might be wondering how exactly home staging will fit into it. But those who work in the real estate industry say that it doesn’t have to be expensive.

“My main concern was that we were going to have to spend more money than we wanted to spend on a house we weren’t staying in,” Colette O’Brien said. “However, Darcy made use of the items we already owned. The only expense we really had was painting the whole house and renting a few items from Darcy.”

Maximize your home’s potential

When you’re trying to sell your home, you want to make the most of the

Top 3 things the seller can do to help make their home sell faster:

  • Update flooring
  • Have freshly painted walls
  • Have organized storage

space you’ve got. For Colette O’Brien, she could not believe just how much Darcy Anderson did for her house.

“(Before hiring Darcy to help us), I had tried to stage our home myself,” Colette O’Brien said. “Needless to say, it didn’t work out too well. I still left too many personal touches.”

“But staging our house was a huge benefit to us,” she added. “The people that bought our house saw pictures online and knew they wanted it before they even set foot in it. We received an offer from them immediately.”

lgilbart@cjournal.ca