Setting the Stage for Homebuying

 by Shelley Myshrall for The Calgary Sun

Warm peanut butter cookies on the counter, a jug of lemonade atop an artfully arranged table on the sundeck, sweet sounds from the stereo, a novel slung over the side of an armchair.

These are a few of the details “home stagers” – the newest players on the home resale scene – might employ to get a buyer’s attention.

“I like to think of it as making the most of what you already have,” says Karyn Elliott, whose Calgary-based CRAZY HOUSE design company specializes in home staging.

Although new to the Canadian resale market, home stagers have enjoyed a lucrative business in the U.S. for many years.

Similar to interior design, staging asserts selling a home is more than offering a place to live – it’s marketing an ideal.

Today’s stagers assist realtors and homeowners to “set the stage for selling” by doing everything from kitchen overhauls to lighting aromatic candles before a home showing.

The most common offenders are clutter and improperly arranged items, says Elliott, who has even rearranged people’s cabinets and closets.

In fact, she takes items away more often than she adds them.

Even personal photos can hinder a home’s appeal to buyers.

For some home shoppers, picturing themselves in an abode may be difficult with constant reminders that a home belongs to someone else.

“You want to create the premise that people can just unpack their suitcase and move in,” Elliott asserts.

Similarly, 95% of people can’t see past ugly-colored walls and outdated shag, says Ellyn Mendham, a Calgary realtor who has enlisted Elliott’s expertise.

‘My personal feeling is people buy with their hearts. If everything matches and there is flow in the house, you have a better chance of achieving that,” the Remax agent says.

“Smart realtors will use every bit of assistance they can – it’s the same thing designers have done in showhomes for years and that’s why they sell.”

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