Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd, Brokerage
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X3

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: The fine art of staging

Given that we are in the thick of the spring market I felt a blog piece on the best way to stage your home was timely. In the current Toronto Real Estate environment it has become a mainstream practise to stage a home for sale. A few basic staging requirements that are probably the most important are listed below.

  1. Declutter: Moving is the perfect time to rid yourself of belongings that you do not need or use. A cluttered space means a possible buyer will not see the potential of the home. Less is more in this instance.
  2. Clean, clean and clean: Hire a professional team to do a full cleaning of your interior space. This includes steam cleaning carpets and cleaning the windows inside and out as well as washing walls.
  3. Painting: If you have some really bold colours consider going with a more neutral palette.  Check for dings in baseboards and doors as those trim areas should look pristine.  If the weather is conducive, consider touch-up painting the exterior also as that is the first impression to a potential buyer. If the outside is looking tired it doesn’t matter what the interior is like if that first impression was tarnished.
  4. Small repairs: Take care of any little items such as replacing burnt-out lightbulbs, clearing gutters, changing furnace filters, repairing any broken appliances and tightening loose door knobs.
  5. Depersonalize: As much as we love family photos, a potential buyer wants to visualize themselves in the space. It doesn’t mean removing all photos but just don’t overwhelm a potential buyer with coffee tables and walls filled with photos.
  6. Keep the soul: My philosophy has always been to stage a home not as a furniture show room but rather as a home with a soul. People want to visualize their life in a home so a little warmth is very important. Don’t make things too sparse.
  7. Don’t overdo it: People can be coerced into extravagant staging. You have to remember that no matter what furniture you put in a house, the market is what the market is. Buyers are very savvy right now and though they expect a nicely staged home, they also will not be tricked into paying significantly more than what a home is worth.
  8. Work with what you have: A good stager will be able to come into a home and decide what pieces they can work with to offset the cost of staging and maintain the illusion that the home is not staged.
  9. Defer to the experts: Part of staging is for photographs. The key to entice a buyer to come view a property is impressive online photos. What may seem disproportional in person is amazing for photos. Try your best not to move items that have been placed by a stager and remember that thought has gone into their process. Once you list the home it essentially becomes a public space and you have to detach yourself.
  10. The staging should match the property: If you are selling a massive Rosedale home then the furnishings should reflect that. I often see economical furnishings in a home that warrants something a little more sophisticated. A small starter condo can get away with less expensive pieces as they are more likely to represent the type of items a potential buyer would be placing in the home.
  11. Scale: A large room requires larger scale pieces and a small condo requires “condo size” pieces to maximize the space.
  12. Art: Don’t forget that art can make a home. It is important that the walls have some life to them. Ensure the art suits the style of the home and avoid art so far out of the mainstream that it could be offensive to a buyer.
  13. Be green: Part of bringing a home to life is through greenery. Having live plants through out the home adds warmth.
  14. Curb appeal: A tidy front garden and some enticing outdoor seasonal planters at the front entrance to make an immediate positive impression on a prospective buyer are very important. Make sure the planters are fresh and represent the correct season. No one wants to see brown evergreens left over from the winter season in April. Make sure the lawn is nicely mowed and that all stone work is tidied up. If there is an interlocking path that has become uneven have it levelled out. 
  15. Be respectful: The staging business is an expensive one. The inventory required to outfit many homes is very costly. The items placed in the home are for marketing purposes and not personal use. There is a line in any staging contract to that effect.  Please be mindful not to use furnishings, accessories or other items the stager has provided. If you are living in the home, please tuck away items for your personal use, such as towels and linens.
  16. Understand the essence of staging: A home worth $1.5 million won’t sell for $2 million based on paint and furniture. In order to gain those types of increases a buyer would expect a newly renovated bathroom or kitchen. A professional Realtor looks at the property history and asks what improvements have been made. Aesthetic changes help if you need something more concrete to get that premium. Staging is designed to maximize your home’s value and reduce the days on market. Understand that if you do not stage your home it may sell below market value as today’s buyers want to see a clean, pristine home.

Successful staging is the fine balance of preparing a home for sale without too much disruption in people’s lives. Often it is cost-prohibitive to move out for an extended period of time and just not practical. A good stager can work around a family as they stage a home. The first two weeks on market are key as that is when the majority of the showings occur. I do suggest that, if possible, sellers move out the first and second week a home is on market to provide easy access for showings and maintain the home’s pristine condition.

Should you require some guidance on the steps required to prepare you home for sale, including a market valuation and comprehensive marketing plan for your home, I would be happy to provide one.

Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative                                                          Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited.                                                                       Chairman’s Award  2018

416-925-9191 office 416-561-3114 cell