staged for upsell

Staging of vacant condo brings in accepted offer in one day!

The property:

Our client, a realtor had a vacant condo unit in a Dartmouth neighbourhood that she needed to list right away.  There was another condo unit in the building that is essentially the same. The other unit was also vacant and had at this point been on the market for over 80 days.  The condo unit was a fairly plain unit, carpeted, neutral colours with heavy drapes, and a very outdated chandelier in the dining room. It felt drab, outdated and lifeless.  Knowing that staged homes sell for more, and quicker than vacant and unstaged homes Mary knew it needed to be staged so we met to see what we could do to show the property at its best.

The staging solution:

We needed to bring the space to life, but also keeps costs at a minimal.  There was one thing that we knew would be worth the money to update –  it was the chandelier! We knew changing it out for more modern lighting would make a significant difference in the look and feel of the space.   Lighting is such an affordable upgrade that you should always consider when preparing your home for sale.  I found this great light at Kent Building Supplies, they have an amazing selection of lights very reasonably priced.

64 Cumberland Dr -2

As you can see the lighting makes a significant difference in the space!

condo staging - lighting update

We also removed the heavy draping from the windows, and left only the sheers to soften the space and make it brighter.  We pulled up old pink carpeting that had been laid over linoleum on the bathroom floor.  Over and above that, we made no changes other than staging the unit with furniture and décor in the livingroom, dining/kitchen and bathrooms.  These condo units attracted an older generation so we went with a contemporary style.

condo staging - rooms

The Results:

The sellers only had the condo unit for a short period of time after purchasing it earlier in the year when they decided to put it back on the market.  The listing went up and the very first viewing brought in an accepted offer in less than one day of the unit being listed. Mary was able to make a profit for the sellers who had decided to sell after only owning it for three and a half months by selling it for $11,000 more than what they paid for it earlier in the year! Mary moved it quickly and got a great deal for the sellers!

After photos by David McLaughlin, David McLaughlin Photographic Services


Selling your home with pets

Selling a house when you have pets can be tricky. We all love our furry four legged friends, but often times the homebuyer who is buying your house does not. In order for you to get top dollar for your house, you may need to make a few changes while your house is on the market.

moving box dog

Why wouldn’t a homebuyer like your pet?

  • First of all, it’s your pet not theirs: yes, you may have the cutest cat or dog alive, but that doesn’t mean they are in agreement with you
  • Outsiders often see others pets as unpredictable, and often instill fear in people.
  • YOUR pet bites, claws, jumps, meows or barks excessively.
  • Allergies! Some people are allergic to animals and therefore want nothing to do with them.
  • Those without pets may see them as something that destroys a home and causes damage.
  • Or, they may just not be pet lovers.

So what should you do when you’re selling your home and you have a pet?

#1) Send your furry friend to the a day camp while your home is for sale.  This will ensure that if a last minute showing comes up that your dog is already out of the home.  Places such as Camp Bow Wow, and Petite Urban Pooch are great camps. Petite Urban Pooch is a new daycare just for small pooches in Halifax, NS. With an option like this you know that your dog is not going to be caged all day, and they will get to make new friends!

#2) Often times pets require lots of their own toys and have bowls and litter boxes. Always make sure that you have these things tucked away, especially during a show. The last thing a potential homebuyer needs to see is your pets belongings scattered all over the place. Tuck their beds away, keep their bowls in a place where it is out of the way, and ALWAYS make sure that the litter box is impeccably clean (nothing is worse than someone getting a whiff of a dirty litter box). If your cat has scratchers or a cat tree or perch, consider storing them away until the house is sold. You should also ensure that none of your pictures posted online of the house have pets in it, you should remove all pictures of your pet from the fridge/walls, and pack up any other tell-tail signs.

#3) If you have carpets, hire a professional to come in and clean them for you. Pets often cause many imperfections in your carpets, and homebuyers will be the first to spot them. If you cannot remove a stain, do your best to cover it up.

#4) Make sure that there are no odors associated with your pet. Cat urine is the WORST. You may not be able to smell it, so it is a good idea to bring in someone who is not at your house often to do a sniff test. Be sure not to use strong deodorizers, as many people are sensitive to smells, but ensure that you naturalize odors that are present.

If you cant get your pet out of the house during a showing, ensure that you have them in a carrier with a note telling viewers not to disturb them. The last thing you need is your pet interfering your potential homebuyers first impression of your house.

Consider a storage container when selling your home

When you’re selling your house, your goal is to make it look as good as possible and help potential buyers envision themselves living there. It can be a long process of disassociating yourself from your home and opening it up to new owners. One of the most essential steps in this process is decluttering: removing excess furniture and belongings from your house to neutralize the style and make it appear more spacious.

Getting rid of clutter is a key part of staging your home. The typical home can benefit from having at least 30% of what currently is in the home removed.  In particular, make sure to pack up media (CDs, DVDs, video games), knick-knacks, collectibles, personal photos, etc. To you, these items may add character to your home. But they speak to your personality, not to the personality of a prospective buyer. Try to take out all of the items that are strongly personal. When showing your home, you want it to appeal to as many people as possible.

You should also look to remove items in storage spaces, such as closets and drawers. Buyers love storage and will want to look into every corner. The emptier drawers and closets are, the bigger they will look. The same idea applies to rooms. Having just the right amount of furniture in a room will make rooms appear more spacious.

Removing excess furniture, possessions, and storage items will also help you in the packing process, better preparing you to move into your own new home. Of course, you’ll need someplace to put all of the items you’re moving out of your house. A storage container can be a great solution to move both big and small items from your property as you prepare to sell your house. Storage containers can fit all of your items, even the largest furniture.  PODS is a great storage solution for preparing your home for sale.  You order the PODS container and it’s delivered to your home, and you can work on moving items into the container yourself as you make decisions.  There is no time pressure, you can take your time to move your stuff in and once you have any excess furniture and household items in the container you simply call PODS to have it removed and stored in their heated and secure warehouse while your home is on the market.  As a home stager, I highly recommend that if you choose to use PODS, that you also have them remove it and store it for you.  A large PODS container in your driveway may lead buyers to assume that your home doesn’t have sufficient storage.

If you need some advice, you can seek guidance from a professional home stager. With a home staging consultation, a home stager can show you how best to show your home for sale. This includes decluttering your space, removing excess furniture for optimal flow, choosing focal points to highlight the strengths of your house, adding décor that enhances the space and other services. A home staging consultation can ensure that you are showing your home in the best possible light.

Live locally in Halifax?  Rob O’Brien, President of PODS Halifax shows you how easy moving and storage can be!  Click here to visit them on Facebook or click here to visit their website for more information or to start a quote.

PODS Halifax


Sold in 5 days and for $10,100 over asking!

The Home:
This is a project where the real estate agent chose to cover the cost for the home staging because they understood the difficulty of selling a home that is vacant.  They also felt it would make a significant impact on the impression of the home and help it sell quickly. The home was a 40-year-old split entry style home located on the outskirts of Halifax.  I received a call to do a consultation for vacant home staging.

The Challenge:
The home had some recent updates in the past year.  Interior doors and trim had been replaced on the main floor and most of the flooring had been updated with laminate.  However, even with these updates the main living room and kitchen were still in need of updating. Some of the lighting had never been updated over the years, so it was the original 1960s lighting, particularly in the kitchen. The home even had an indoor barbecue in the kitchen – I can’t say I’ve ever seen one of those before!  It was vacant of furniture other than an old love seat which needed to be removed, and an old pine table in the kitchen. Because it was vacant, it lacked warmth and character.  Without it being staged buyers would concentrate on the negatives rather than the positives of the house.  Buyers would also struggle to make an emotional connection with the home.

The Home Staging Solution:
Having my own furniture inventory I am able to stage a home in the true fashion of the home.  The home had a real mid-century feel to it, so bringing contemporary furniture into the space would just accentuate the fact that the home was outdated. I wanted to go with the feeling of the home and do mid-century modern home staging. Both the realtor and the home owners embraced the idea! vacant home staging mid-century-livingroom final vacant home staging mid-century kitchen

The Results:
Staging the home for sale made a significant difference with this house, it went from outdated, to having a really neat vibe.  Even as I brought pieces into the home during the home staging process I felt a difference in my own admiration of the home.  The end result – there was more than one offer, and the home sold in 5 days for $10,100 over listing price! It’s a buyer’s market in Halifax right now so needless to say the realtor and the home owners were extremely happy!

If you need help staging your house to sell call me today at 902.830.3170.


Don’t ignore the outside – The value in landscaping when selling your home

When you’re getting ready to sell your home the inside of the house gets most of the attention. However, it’s important not to forget the outside. It’s all about making good impressions, and the first thing people see is the outside of your home so curb appeal and good landscaping is really important. Good landscaping can raise your home value by as much as 28%, and research also shows your asking price may be 4-5% higher.  We all want to sell our homes quickly – well research also suggests that homes with great landscaping often sell 10-15% faster!

We know lighting makes a difference inside, however 41% of home-buyers say outdoor lighting is also necessary their home purchase so think about updating or installing outdoor lighting.

Well thought out placement of shrubbery can create insulation and result in savings of $100-$250 per year. A few strategically placed trees are said to cut heating bills by 15% and AC bills by 75%. Besides saving money, home buyers will be impressed with the low numbers.

So when preparing your home for sale don’t ignore the outside, but also keep it in mind over the years you occupy a home, after all good landscaping can take years to take shape!



References:   HouseLogicAbout.comNational Association of RealtorsHousehunt

The real question is…can you afford NOT to stage your home?

A home is most often your biggest investment, and one you want to see a return on.  When it comes to selling it, some people think they can’t afford to stage their home.  The truth is, home staging doesn’t have to cost a lot.  A home stager first tries to work with what you have available in your home. Sometimes just removing clutter or excess furniture, and enhancing the flow of each room can make a huge impact.  Even just a consultation from a home stager can be very informative since it’s important to be able to see your home through someone else’s eyes.

The average price reduction is 10-20% of the listing price.  So, that means for example a home listed at $250,000 would see a price reduction of $25,000-$50,000. OUCH…you’d have to agree with me that $150 – $2,500 to stage your home makes a lot more sense.

Furthermore, some studies suggest that staged homes sell for 3-10% above asking price on average.

Hmmm…so instead of can you afford to stage your home, isn’t the real question can you afford NOT to stage your home?

Conquering your fear of colour – allow your inner Design Diva out!

I came across this great article on House Beautiful about conquering your fear of colour. It does seem that people are afraid of adding colour, or really just unsure how to do it.  Many think you should only have one colour in a room. Do you have to have just neutral beige…nope!  Even if you’re having your house staged for sale, it doesn’t mean everything has to be blah and neutral. In fact the opposite, you want to add in a little colour and contrast to make the room interesting.

There’s simple design rules you can follow – the 60-30-10 rule.  So when decorating a particular room, 60% should be the primary colour to create the overall unifying theme, then use 30% of the secondary color to create contrast and visual interest, and lastly 10% for the accent colour to provide that final touch of elegance.

Still afraid or unsure…try starting with a small room and experimenting.  It doesn’t mean you have to go crazy, just be a little brave. Try adding in some bold throw pillows into your design. Heck, just keep your receipt and try it, what’s the worse thing that can happen – you return them? Or try adding a fringe to your curtains to add some colour.

So, not quite brave enough yet, still stuck on one colour. If this is the case choose one color, but incorporate many hues.  But try letting the inner design diva within you out – you may be surprised what a beautiful space you create!

Read more about conquering your fear of colours on House Beautiful

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