Monthly Archives: September 2015

Staging Should be the Final Touch

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Many of the homes we stage have been renovated or at least had some minor updates or repairs done prior to sale. When paying for the rental of furniture, it is in the clients’ best interest to ensure that staging is the final touch prior to photographing and listing a property.

We have been in some situations where work is still on-going and we are requested to stage a property. This raises a number of issues. Once furniture is set up, there is that much more to clean once thee “dust settles”. We always wipe down all furniture and polish mirrors etc. once they are set up. However, if there is drywall patching going on in another part of the home the dust travels and then you end up having to hire a cleaner to clean the house and all the furniture! Takes longer and costs the client more. 

There is also the risk of damage as workers are moving materials in and out of the home. If something is broken or damaged, the client then becomes responsible for replacement cost.  

Moving in and setting up when there are workers all over the place and materials and tools lying around is quite a hazard. We’ve often had to go through and move building materials and tools so we could move in our supplies and place our furniture. We arrive first and ensure the areas we are staging are clear and clean! On a few occasions I’ve had to ban workers from the area until the move in was complete for the safety of all concerned. When you are carrying large furniture and concentrating on marking walls and doorframes, the last thing you need to worry about is a ladder of tool bag someone left in the middle of the hall!

There is also the concern about potential damage. I’m always amazed at how many contractors and workmen will work with no drop sheet. They wear heavy boots and there is construction debris on the floor and they drop paint splatters on the floor and scratch the floor by walking on the debris. It’s unbelievable! The boys at KAT Reno would never do this – if they were ever caught by my husband or myself they would be on their hands and knees cleaning their mess and apologizing to the customer. Our guys know better and show respect to other people’s homes!

There have been numerous occasions when we arrive and I have to sweep and mop the floors of construction debris before we can bring in furniture. The last thing I want is to have our guys walk over something on the floor and cause damage because someone else left a mess. 

One word of caution to my Realtors who pay for staging. Wait until the client is ready to list.  If they still have a “few things to do” that can drag on for a week or more and the whole time you cannot show the home and are paying for staging for nothing. When the client pays, they are insistent that showings start as soon after staging as possible! Same day or following day at the latest. When the Realtor pays, there is always the odd client that will drag their butts getting the home ready. They’re not paying for it so they don’t have the same urgency to complete the “to do” list! Make them wait for staging until they are done. Then everyone is happy!

The fastest and easiest for all involved is to have the work completed and the area cleaned and ready for staging. This allows us to come in quickly and complete the job, wipe everything down and you are instantly ready for pictures and showings can start in hours! It’s very common for us to stage a house in the morning. Have pictures taken mid-afternoon and showings start that evening.  It’s beautiful when it moves along like a well-planned process!  We’ve even had a number of homes obtain offers that same day showings started! Pretty cool!

Fall Has Arrived!


Fall is my favourite time of the year! I officially have my fall décor out and am burning my fall “pumpkin spice” candles in my office as I catch up with my paperwork. I’m enjoying a breather the last 2 days catching up on 3 months of paperwork! Looking back I can’t believe we made it through the craziness and last few months of spring/summer.

Back in the spring we were staging/de-staging every day. Many days we were doubling up and de-staging one and staging another in the same day. Logistically, this is very challenging keeping straight what’s coming back and what’s going out without mixing anything up! We did have a few times when we grabbed the wrong bin/ bag of goodies and someone would have to chase back to the shop for the right décor. Thank goodness we moved into the new warehouse earlier this spring before things got really crazy! We had the space to sort multiple jobs and keep them packed and ready to go days in advance if necessary.

Things very briefly slowed down right around the end of the school year then we were going non-stop until the end of July. As fast as were setting up and completing a stage another one would sell! It’s really been non-stop for months now! We completed 9 stage jobs in the last few weeks before school started and we have already had 3 of those sell! 2 sold within hours and one sold the following day. One sold for $15,000 over list price on the first day showings started! Yes, bidding wars are still happening. Fast sales are still happening. On a street of 7 listings, our staged home was the first to sell. Others are still for sale months later and a few have been removed from the market, unsold. Homes have to be fairly priced and in very good condition for a fast sale. Of course, staging is a huge benefit. The staging makes the buyers connect emotionally with the home when they see it! As the number of listings increases, competition continues to grow, and sellers are making more of an effort to get their homes sold.  

Small repairs or improvements that sellers previously refused to complete, now are done without question if they want the home sold fast. Staging is becoming much more common is all price ranges. Literally we’ve staged homes anywhere from $200K all the way up to the 1.5 Million price point. As always homes in the lower price ranges sell faster. There are just a much higher number of qualified buyers below the $350K mark than there are in the $500K price point. As a result higher priced homes often take longer to sell.  Add the number of available new builds in that price point and the market is highly competitive for sellers in the mid – upper price points.

If you are thinking of selling this fall/winter or spring take the time now to complete all exterior work.  Pressure wash stucco, siding, eaves and fascia. Get you exterior windows cleaned. Trim back and shrubs or overgrown trees/plants. Pressure wash driveways and sidewalks. Repair and old decks boards and treat with a new coat of paint while the weather still allows! Exterior maintenance goes a long way to showcasing a well maintained home and sends a fabulous first impression! The key is to get that fabulous first impression and then continue to impress the buyers more with each new room they explore! Get all the outside work done this fall while you still can. The impression it makes on Buyers in the winter months will be well worth the effort now.

Home staging is about getting people’s attention! It’s about making them want to see your house rather than the one down the street. More importantly, it’s about all the preparation that goes into getting your home ready for buyers to see! From the first time we come in for a consult, we address all exterior and interior aspects of preparing a home for sale. Everything from trimming trees/shrubs for a great street appeal to pulling weeds and washing driveways and sidewalks. Cleaning windows and a complete cleaning inside the house. Interior cleaning is everything from lights to walls to baseboards. I even insist Sellers wipe down the dust on the hot water tank and furnace. Mechanical equipment that is caked with years of dust does not look well maintained. Mechanical equipment that is sparkling clean looks well maintained and gives sellers a sense of confidence. Of course, any repairs or maintenance issues that need to be addressed before the home is listed. Once the home has been de-cluttered, cleaned inside and out, it is ready for staging. We then come in with the final touches and leave your home ready for the photographer and for the Buyers to fall in love with!

Home staging is not just about furniture and accessories – it’s the whole package! Everything you need to do to get your home sold fast and for the best possible price! 




Summer’s End and the Fall Market is in Full Swing


This is always the saddest time of the year for me. When my girls go back to school and we all head back into a normal routine again, I always wish for just a few more weeks to do the things I didn’t get a chance to. The summer market historically slows down a bit in July and early August before picking up again for the fall. This year we saw very little down and a very early start to the fall market!

I love the lazy hazy days of summer. However, it seems those days are long gone for me. The last few years we have spent more and more time staging in the summer. In past years, I could work 3-4 days and take the rest of the time off and enjoy the cottage or the pool. This last year we’ve been working 5 days a week with the exception of a few days where we took the Friday. To say thing have been busy would be a severe understatement! In the last 9 days we’ve done 8 staging jobs! We’ve been de-staging “solds” and as fast as we get the stock back it’s out again on the next job! Our warehouse has been a revolving door! Biggest challenge has been keeping 3 jobs packed and ready and separate so we don’t mix things up and take stuff for the wrong job! It all worked and we did a beautiful job! Even when the movers truck broke down one day and we had to improvise cause we had another job the next day and couldn’t afford the delay! Panic…. But it all worked out and I earned my glass of wine that night!

We’ve done some pretty amazing projects this summer. Quite a few new builds in the $550K – $1,000,000 + as well as a number of show homes. It’s been challenging at times, finding the right furniture in the right color and size to fit the space. Other times, we’ve had to scramble to find the time to plan and shop and design on a very short time line. Thank goodness for my wonderful teal this summer! Tanis, Jess, John, Doug and Danny, couldn’t have done it without you guys! When you consider I had major surgery in April and was supposed to be in bed for 8 weeks, actually only took 10 days off including the day before the surgery! Looking back now I can’t believe we pulled off such a fabulous job this summer!

We had so many weeks where we were staging 4-5 days a week! Occasionally, we might have a day off for plan and shop. Too many days we were planning other jobs as we were working on others. We would discuss what pieces we were going to use for the different projects and have the next one all planned and designed while finishing the current project! Then it was just a matter of pulling and packing stock for the next job! It worked beautifully but seemed to be quite a production line at times!

We had a number of huge successes. Still generated a number of bidding wars. We had one property with 7 other houses for competition on the street and ours was the only home staged and it was the only one to sell, finally a fixer upper sold shortly afterwards. We had another home staged on a Friday, showings started at 5:00pm and it was sold by 7:00 pm that day! 2 HOURS!!!! Enjoyed a glass of wine and did a happy dance for that one!

One project was my favourite. It was a joint collaboration between KAT Reno and Maximum Impact Plus. We provided all the design, KAT completed a full interior and exterior reno job and we staged it a few days ago. Showings start right after the long weekend! 

We’re off to relax and spend the final weekend of summer with my precious hubby and darling daughters! Wishing you all a wonderful Labour Day weekend and Hope you all had a Fabulous Summer!