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Home Staging making its move into Nova Scotia

Authored: Tim Harris
Publisher: Trade Winds Realty Inc.

In Nova Scotia, we have our own home stagers in Metro Halifax. Amie Walton recently obtained her ASP (Accredited Staging Professionals ) designation.

There seems to be the right time for everything and it nows seems to be the right time for Home Staging. A brief description. Unlike decorating, Staging is a series of researched, proven techniques that increase the sales potential of a property by making it appeal not to the current owner-but to the potential buyer. Staging works by minimizing items that can distract a buyer and creating an environment where buyers can easily imagine themselves living in the home.

No longer do you have to rely on your Realtor to help you get your home ready for the market. Realtors have expertise, but it is usually in the marketing of your home, not expert interior reorganization. Sure a Realtor can show you the obvious, like get rid of the clutter, replace the worn-out kitchen vinyl floor, or get the kids toys picked up. But really, there is more to preparing a home for sale than that.

In my experience as a Realtor, I had many people ask me my opinion on what they should do to "spruce up" their home for a sale. I would give them my take on things and in many circumstances my suggestions were ignored or just not doable within their budget or abilities. Home Stagers have been trained to access the whole package your home presents to the buying public and tailors a makeover to suit you and your budget.

What I like about the presence of Home Stagers is the fact if my client is going to pay for the expertise of a Home Stager, they are showing motivation in selling their home and most certainly take the advise of a professional Home Stager, rather than my rag tag ideas.

Home Staging seems to have originated out of California in the 70's and has gathered a lot of momentum, with Accredited Staging Professional™ designations affiliated with what seems to be a very organized North American association called StagedHomes with web sites in the US and Canada.

The StagedHomes web site offers pages of tips and Lori Matzke of offers up some printable tips page .

Also there are a number of articles written lately on Home Staging. A US article "Home Staging Equals Quick Sale" by Jerry Fowler, gives a good review of the US market and Sharon Dunn has written a very recent article (Jan 15, 2004) "'Stage' home for quick sale ". In the article Sharon states "Christine Rae ,[Ontario] Canada's regional director for , and owner of , puts it this way: "Decorating is personalizing a home, usually you have a budget to work with, and you add things to the home. Staging is just the opposite -- you're taking things away, depersonalizing, so a buyer can see the space. It's about selling the space, not decorating it." As for costs Christine, who is located in St. Catherines, Ontario, says "Staging a 2,400-square-foot home would take, on average, five hours, and at a rate of about $75 an hour, would cost the homeowner some $375."  But prices vary in areas and services requested. Best to check with your local home stager, they are happy to quote there rates, by the hour or flat fee, depending on the work required.

An American web site offer advise also on Home Staging, “Home staging” is not a new term, but for many homeowners and real estate agents the concept of “professional home staging” is shedding new light on how to promote a home in the real estate marketplace. In past years, homeowners were left to their own discretion as far as preparing for home showings. Though they could occasionally rely on an agent for instructions, more often than not real estate agents were just as perplexed at working out the details as the homeowner. While agents are experts in the field of selling and closing, many are not design savvy. Agents usually know exactly what factors can help sell a home. It’s just not always easy to get a home into selling condition in a timely manner without some sort of experienced assistance.
Professional home stagers are practiced in the art of preparing a home for resale. They work with the “flow” of a home, eliminate clutter, edit and arrange furniture, and even assist in enhancing curb-appeal. With the aid of a professional home stager, your house can make a notable first impression on potential homebuyers."

In Nova Scotia, we have our own home stager in Metro Halifax. Amie Walton recently obtained her ASP™ designation. I have met Amie professionally several times and I am always very impressed with her energy and ideas. Amie already has a web site called Xstreamstaging and burgeoning career as a home stager. Amie offers up her own staging TIPS page "Top ten reasons why staging is important to selling your property! " and the balance of her web site explains in detail all her services. Amie's consultation price is based on square footage of the home plus the surrounding property, starting at a minimum of $200. Well worth the investment in selling your home.

And for you "do-it-yourselfers" there is a downloadable book out there "The Art of Home Staging (e-book)"

STAGING TIPS from the Staged Homes web site

Try looking at your house “THROUGH THE BUYER’S EYES” as though you’ve never seen it or been there before. Any time or money invested on the following will bring back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.


  1. Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items.
  2. Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn’t been used for three months... put it away! Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc. (A sparse kitchen helps the buyer mentally move their own things into your kitchen.)
  3. In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Keep only your most needed cosmetics, brushes, perfumes etc., in one small group on the counter. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
  4. Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary. As owners, many times we have too much furniture in a room. This is wonderful for our own personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling we need to thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger.
  5. Take down or rearrange certain pictures or objects on walls. Patch and paint if necessary.
  6. Review the inside of the house room by room, and
  7. Paint any room needing paint.
  8. Clean carpets or drapes that need it.
  9. Clean windows.
  10. If you need room to store extra possessions use the garage or rent a storage unit.
  11. Leave on certain lights during the day. During “showings” turn on all lights and lamps.
  12. Have stereo FM on during the day for all viewings.


  1. Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., into the garage.
  2. Check gutters for roof moss and dry rot. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.
  3. Look at all plants... prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. “YOU CAN’T SELL A HOUSE IF YOU CAN’T SEE IT.” Plants are like children — they grow so fast!!
  4. Weed and then mulch all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove and dead plants or shrubs.
  5. Clear patios or decks of all small items. such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys. etc. (Put them in the garage or a storage unit.)
  6. Check paint condition of the house — especially the front door and trim. “CURB APPEAL REALLY WORKS!”

That's it


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