Painting your home to sell it

Painting is one of the best improvements when selling your home

Interior or exterior painting is among the lower-priced improvements, and can often afford nearly 100% return on investment. The colours you choose for your home when you’re living in it might be much bolder or daring than what suits the average buyer. When selling think neutrals.

Take a good look around your home

Be conscious of other elements around your home when choosing paint colours – things like cabinets, railings and flooring that you don’t want to change just because of a paint choice. You want to see the big picture and once again, this is where a home stager will prove invaluable.  In more modern homes greys tend to work really well, but in older homes ‘greige’ often works well.  Greige is a colour between beige and grey.  And there’s way more than 50 shades of grey – picking a grey that doesn’t have a mauve or blue tint can be hard for some people.  One of my go to grey colours that I find to be a ‘true’ grey is CIL  Silver cloud and one shade darker is Sutton Place.

Here’s a great example of how a neutral paint colour made a huge impact on the room.  Other small changes were made, such as removing some of the furniture, hanging different drapes, de-cluttering, and brining in a different, more up to date accent colour.

before and after painting

Try it first if you’re not sure

It can be helpful to bring home paint swatches and look at them at different times of the day and under various lighting. Lighting and angles can significantly change the way paint looks on a wall. Most paint suppliers these days offer ‘tester cans’ you can take home and try before committing to large cans of paint or the effort of painting an entire room only to discover you don’t like the result.

Think like a buyer

I often have clients that don’t want to paint, but think about it, you have incentive to paint, and yet some don’t want to do it. How does a buyer feel then? They may just pass up your home for the freshly painted one down the road. Buyers often dread the thought of having to paint as soon as they move in. It may not be a big deal for some of us, myself included, but a lot of people simply can’t see past a paint colour they don’t like.  Don’t take me wrong, I’m not suggesting that every home needs to be painted before it goes on the market. That’s not the case. I realize it’s an added expense, so I only suggest it if I really think the paint is worn looking, or the colours need to be neutralized. I can often work with a paint colour to bring out the best in the room.

Hire a professional

When you’re selling you’re often in a bit of a rush to get your home listed. Hiring a professional painter can alleviate a lot of stress. What can take you a week or more they can accomplish in about two days. And they’re so good at it! Most home owners can’t match the job that a professional painter can do.

….and don’t forget to touch up any trim that’s looking worn!

Home staging consultation – how does it work?

I get asked often how a home staging consultation works. First of all, I’m not going to judge you if your house is messy! 🙂 There’s nothing you have to do beforehand, or anything you need to prepare in advance of the consultation. How we live in our homes is quite different than the state it needs to be in when we’re selling. I’m going to help you by giving you recommendations to get your home in a show ready state.

As a home stager I have a fresh pair of trained eyes that will see things that you may have never noticed, or just fail to see now after living in your home for so long. Ideally the consult will be hands-on and we’ll make some changes during the two hour consult so you’ll begin to see the impact that some small changes can make.

We need to depersonalize the home. Take personal photos for example, they need to come down. There’s a few reasons, one, so buyers can’t identify you, and secondly so they picture themselves living in the house, rather than you living in the home.

During the consultation I will provide recommendations for updating certain aspects of the house, if required. Some may cost some money to implement, while others might not cost anything. You can choose what recommendations to implement. I will make recommendations on furniture placement, to allow for good flow and functionality of the home for potential buyers. Buyers want space and having too much furniture in a room can make the space feel smaller than it is, and having rooms vacant also has the same effect. Having just the right amount will maximize the space. If you require some furniture pieces I can help with rental pieces.

Working with what you have

As a professional home stager I’m easily able to access a room and its contents quickly, to see how to re-adjust, and/or de-clutter some of the contents to create a more show ready space. Often times there are pieces in a different room that can be utilized. The goal is always to use what you have in your home to maximize the space aesthetically.

Below is a great example of a transformation that a two hour consult can make.  During the consult we repositioned some of the furniture, and removed other pieces to make the room feel larger.  We also de-cluttered the room a bit, leaving windows clear of shades and trinkets, removing excess artwork that was taking away from the focus being the fireplace in the room. The client happened to have sheers packed away that complimented the room so we put those up. The old drapery was heavy and dark feeling. We found the throw and a couple of the decor pillows in a different room and pulled them into this room.  The client completed the rest of the work themselves, they painted based on a paint colour that was selected for them, and purchased the rug. You can see for yourself what a big transformation it made in this room. Small edits can make a huge impact!

before and after a home staging consult Haifax

Have you de-cluttered too much?

Sometimes clients have little to no décor in their home. De-cluttering is good, but you don’t want it to the point where the space is sparse and has no warmth or interest to it. Recommendations will be made as to what, if anything could be added to create a more cozy space.

Paint colours and wall conditions will be discussed. Neutral colours are best when selling and suggestions will be made for what, if anything requires touch up or complete painting during the consult.

The best thing to do is to have your home stager in early. I’ve had clients that just finished painting, and their choices really weren’t good for selling a home, and sometimes they have to repaint.

I have many clients that take the recommendations made during the consult and they apply the changes themselves. Many want some help, some are too busy, and others just know that it’s going to be much less stressful to have me help them. Should you have a lot of de-cluttering and packing to do, helpers can be sent in to give you a hand with this should you need the extra help.

DIY Home Staging or Hiring a Home Stager

Whether you choose to go the DIY route and make the changes yourself, or hire me to help you, the two hour consult can be invaluable. My passion is to help people prepare their homes for sale in order to get top dollar. I’m here to help…please call me or pass along my name and contact info to a friend or family member that is moving soon!

Finally a storage solution that works for clients!

I had to share this great storage solution with you. The company’s tag line is “A fresh idea in self storage™” and I have to agree!  If you haven’t heard of them, they’re called Saltbox Storage and they’re located in Burnside.


When you’re selling a home it’s really important to show each room with just the right amount of furniture.  Too much furniture in a room will make it feel small and buyers are looking for maximum space. Space = money when you’re selling.  A home stager can give you recommendations on what pieces should be removed from your home to maximize space or create better flow through the home.  A home stager will also help you with furniture placement in each room. Or maybe a room is doubling as two functional (or not so functional) rooms.  I’ve seen office desks in master bedrooms.  If there is no other space in the home to set up the desk (or store it)…it’s important to get it out of the house!

9dollarsmonth-01So…what’s so great about Saltbox?  How about the fact that to store one piece of furniture it’s only $9/month!  Yes, you heard right, they will pick up one item at no charge, store it for $9 a month, and return it to you for $20! Of course, you can send more than one piece, and each additional piece will also be $9/month, with the same return cost.

There are some parameters around this…the furniture piece must be less than 50 lbs, and less than 6 ft long.

Oversized items:

So, what if it’s over 50 lbs or over 6ft?  This is considered an oversized item and will cost more:  $39/month

Saltbox will pick it up for free, store it for $39/month, and return it for $45 to you.  That’s still a pretty sweet deal to me!



So, what if you have enough excess furniture that you need your own storage space?  Saltbox also offer ‘vaults’, in two different sizes:

5x5x7  and 7x7x7 ft

Please note that the free pick up and free return is based on a 3 month minimum contract.

When you sign a contract for 3 months Saltbox will provide 1 free return per month for Vault 25 & 49. Nice!

If you don’t want to sign for a minimum of 3 months then there will be a charge of $90 to pick up the items, and a $90 return fee would also apply.  However, keep in mind their movers are also doing all the heavy lifting for you.


Additional awesomeness:

What else makes their service amazing?

  • They provide two professional movers to do all the moving.
  • They wrap all your furniture items

It’s a pretty sweet service if you ask me.  Click here to visit their website for full details.

Staging an up-scale condo

There are thousands of condos on the market in most cities. Standing out amongst the competition is important and condo staging is a must!  When a condo is vacant there’s a few problems with that.  First of all, the condo will appear smaller than it is, there’s nothing in the room to give proper depth perception.  Buyers struggle to know if their furniture will fit in the space, or how to arrange it.  Buyers also struggle to make an emotional connection.

Having too much furniture in a room is also a mistake some sellers make, it will make a room appear smaller. It’s really important to have just the right amount of furniture and to allow for good flow from room to room, and to create conversational areas that are intimate.

Using white furniture in this up-scale condo still allowed the view to take center stage and created a beautiful, soft contrast that really made the water pop out in the photos.  Incorporating natural wood elements in the room, such as the live edge coffee table brings warmth to the condo. I often find that some condos that are staged are quite masculine and sometimes feel a bit cold.  This live edge table is always a hit with the men as well – even the rough and tough tradesmen!

Using a glass dining table kept the space feeling open, and doesn’t constrict the space…it feels quite large in the photos and in person. The base of the table is chrome adding to the modern feel. Industrial stools were used at the island, and small touches in the kitchen were added. Less is always more when staging – you want clean and uncluttered.

I love how this condo turned out, after I staged it I really didn’t want to leave!

staigng a upscale condo-01

Photography by Chris J. Dickson, Halifax DIGITAL Imaging


Kings Wharf Condo staging

Listed at under $500,000 this up-scale condo in Kings Wharf Aqua Vista building provides luxury condo living at an affordable price. The property initially went on the market un-staged.   When Tony Zareski of Century 21 Trident Realty took over the listing he called  me in to have it staged. Having worked with Tony in the past he knew the difference staging could make in the presentation of the home.   With numerous other condos listed throughout HRM it’s important to stand out! I think you’ll agree that this condo will stand out against others, especially those sitting vacant!

Do you have a condo you’re putting on the market? I’d love to help you with all your home staging, or should I say condo staging needs!

Kings wharf condo staging Halifax


Kings Wharf vacant condo staging

Kings Wharf vacant home staging services
Kings Wharf vacant condo staging
Kings Wharf Final 1002

Vacant condo staging bedroom

Staging a condo Halifax

Photos by Chris J. Dickson, Halifax Digital Imaging.

Halifax’s Largest Home Staging Furniture Inventory

Did you know that Staged for Upsell has Halifax’s largest home staging furniture inventory.  We have close to 150 furniture pieces in our inventory, and are always expanding on this inventory.  Some house staging companies only offer accessories, but we believe it’s important to offer full home staging services and therefore we’re always investing in our furniture inventory in order to make your home look amazing!

Our goal is to always work with what you have and make it look fantastic, however, there are times when a piece or two needs to be swapped out with a piece that’s looking ‘long in the tooth’.

Have you already moved into your new home and your old home is vacant? Vacant homes can be very difficult to sell. Rooms without furniture, contrary to what one might think, look smaller, and buyers often have difficulty envisioning how they might arrange or fit their furniture in the space. Even as a home stager I sometimes walk into a vacant home and have to really think about how to place furniture in the home due to the home’s layout. Or I’ve had to ask what the room’s purpose is…”is this the dining room?” If I have a difficult time as a professional home stager, imagine the home buyer’s confusion.

It’s important to set up rooms in the way they were intended to be used while your home is for sale. If your children commandeered the family room as a play space?  It’s worth it to change it over to a family room or office space for the duration of the listing. The simple truth is that offices and family rooms sell – play rooms don’t. That is unless your home has all that space to offer and then also a play room.

We’re Halifax’s largest full service home staging company, servicing Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Hammonds Plains, Timberlea, etc…it’s a long list, I think you get the point.  Contact us today to get a quote!

Bedford Area Realtor Tour

After another successful realtor tour, I’m pleased to be organizing another one for the Bedford area for August 20th.  There are seven beautiful homes, ranging from $289,900 to $1,299,900 and seven different brokerages participating.  We have Sam Rad from Realty A la Mode, Jerry & Annette Murphy from Keller Williams, Denise MacDonnell from Red Door Realty, Dawn Dauphine from Domus Realty, Donna Harding from the Donna Harding Real Estate Team, Debbie Price from Royal LePage Altantic, and Mariana Cowan from Coldwell Banker Supercity.

We’ve got sponsors on board to entice other agents to attend the tour, including the following prizes: an aerial photography package from Atlantic Aerialworx, a spa package from Earl Smith, mortgage broker with TMG, an ipad from Zdenko Juric, home inspector with A Buyers Choice Home Inspections, a photography package from David McLaughlin Photographic Services, and two rounds of golf at Brightwood Golf Course compliments of myself…Staged for Upsell.

Fingers crossed this will bring some increased awareness to these great homes and bring some offers in.

realtor tour sheet-Bedford-01

Hammonds Plains Realtor Tour

July was a busy time for me in the Hammonds Plains area.  It was feeling like my second home with lots of home staging taking place, 2 properties in Glen Arbour, two in White Birch Hills, another near Cox Lake, and two consults also in Glen Arbour.  So I thought why not see if the listing agents  were interested in participating in a realtor tour.  It would allow me to bring increased awareness to my clients listing and support the listing agents at the same time.  Having a background in event planning and marketing organizing an event like this comes second nature to me.

So we had 7 beautiful homes on the tour. Prizes for the event included two rounds of golf at Glen Arbour Golf Course compliments of myself Staged for Upsell, a spa package from Earl Smith, mortgage broker with TMG, an aerial photography package from Atlantic Aerialworx, and an ipad from the home owners at 85 Old Mill Road (the property near Cox Lake) which was actually a for sale by owner (FSBO) who were offering 2.5% commission to a buyers agent.

The event was held on July 16th, and we had great turn out, with about 25 realtors attending. It’s so great to be able to support both my clients and the agents I work with beyond just staging their homes and making them beautiful.

realtor tour sheet-01

Staged homes spend less time on the market

Homes that are staged before listing spend considerably less time on the market before garnering a sale, no matter what the price range. Consider these statistics from the Real Estate Staging Association study conducted in the U.S.A. in 2013:


  • Of a total of 82 homes in this category 62 were staged prior to entering the market and sold on average within 38 days.
  • The remaining 13 homes, not staged, sat on the market an average of 97 days.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $500,000 and $999,999

  • 139 staged homes in this group sold within 21 days on average.
  • 24 non-staged homes took an average of 140 days to sell.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $300,000 and $499,999

  • 170 staged homes took an average of 22 days to sell.
  • 25 homes not staged sold, on average, at 125 days.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $100,000 and $299,999

  • 137 staged homes sold within an average of 19 days.
  • 20 homes not staged took an average of 127 days to sell.

These are extraordinary statistics. Equally dramatic examples from my own staging experience include a home that sold in 5 days for $10,100 above the asking price, and a home that had an accepted offer in less than a day. I sold my own home through my realtor of trust of course, a modest split entry, during an all-time low in the Halifax, Nova Scotia housing market of 2013, in two days. At the time there were numerous others for sale nearby including a larger two storey with garage on the street behind me. It sat on the market for several months, finally going for just a couple of thousand dollars more than my own. I have no doubt that, if properly staged, it would have sold much quicker and at a price closer to its true value, which was certainly much more than mine.

Obviously there is much more to property sales than simply staging, nonetheless, home staging or the lack thereof, is a common denominator in all of them. They merely serve to highlight the power and importance of professional home staging. Home staging isn’t an expense, it’s an investment, especially when compared with the loss in profit as a result of a price reduction, excessive time on the market or the necessity of holding a second mortgage if you’ve already made the move to your new home before selling your previous one.