‘Staged’ Homes Sell Faster

By Tony Tighe for the Calgary Herald Neighbours section

April 15 2004

When you sell your house, you want to get the highest price possible. However unless you’re willing to do some work and even spend a little money, you may not get what you’re asking. That’s why many realtors give a home a make-over before it’s listed. When realtor Joanna Barstad lists a house, she often calls Karyn Elliott. Karen is an interior designer who specializes in “home staging.”
When a house is for sale, the first impression is everything. It’s her job to make sure buyers can see the house and not the people living in it.
“The bottom line is to sell the house for the best possible price and fast. It may not be clean enough. There’s repairs to be done. It has to be de-cluttered. The furniture isn’t arranged properly. The pictures aren’t hung properly. The accessories aren’t arranged properly either and it has to be depersonalized. People may have their photographs all over the house and they’ll have their certificates or their degrees and it doesn’t allow the new buyers to attach to the home,” says Elliott.
In real estate terms, staging a home is meant to highlight the selling features. It’s not meant to cost the homeowner a lot of money.
“If we can get them to paint the walls a saleable warm neutral then that’s very helpful. People can then move their furniture in without having to spend the time, energy and expense to paint themselves.”
Elliott says one of the biggest problem areas is the kitchen. The condition of a kitchen can often make or break a deal.
“They usually have all the small appliances on the counter top. They have their dish towel and all their soaps out on the counter. I want to make it look clean and organized and beautiful. I want to show space.”
You don’t have to hire a professional, but Barstad says sometimes the homeowner’s taste is different than the person who wants to buy it.
“Some houses you can walk into and the owner has a flare for decorating and Karen wouldn’t do much. But there are quite a few houses that will have to get staged,” says Barstad.
Elliott says some homeowners are hesitant to change their home or spend any money to sell it. However she says staging a home is different that living in your house.
“This is marketing. You live in your house one way. You sell it another.”
A home stager is paid by the hour and the cost can either be covered by the realtor or the homeowner, depending on the contract. Statistics show a staged home will sell faster and for a higher price than one that isn’t.
You can contact Elliott at Crazy House Homestagers, (403) 287-1774.
Tony Tighe’s Consumer Beat reports can be seen on Global TV. Visit Consumer Beat by following the links on www.calgaryherald.com
© The Calgary Herald 2004

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