Staging 101

What is Real Estate (Home) Staging?

  • It is creating an environment that buyers want.
  • It is using marketing and decorating techniques that will highlight the value of each room.
  • It showcases the unique features and adds character and warmth to the home.
  • It is creating an appeal to your home for a wide variety of buyers.
  • It allows a buyer to see the potential of a house and visualize themselves in the home.
  • It helps the home to stand out compared to the competition.
  • It will help to sell the home quicker and for top dollar.

Home staging is becoming less of a novelty and more of a necessity. If your neighbour is selling their house and has it staged, then you will also need to stage yours if you wish to stay competitive.

There are a variety of ways to stage your home:

  • You can do it yourself.
  • You can hire a professional stager to do it for you.
  • You can hire a professional stager for a consultation to advise you what to do.
  • If your home is empty you can rent furniture, accessories, and art (it’s best to hire a professional to do this for you).

What we look for in a staging consultation:

A professional stager will walk through your house and advise you what to do.

It starts at the curb. The first thing that a potential buyer will see is the front of the house and the yard. If they don’t like what they see they will keep on driving to the next appointment. You have about 30 seconds to make a good first impression and will rarely get a second chance to impress. Keep the yard tidy (no bicycles, sports equipment, etc. laying around), put away the garbage bins, mow the lawn, add some colour to the flower bed, make sure there is adequate lighting, and ensure that the house does not need to be painted or is in disrepair.

Next is walking in the front door. This is the first impression of the inside of the house and again, if you don’t win them over in 30 seconds you will lose them. The first impression is not only what they see, but what they smell (pets, cooking, smoke, etc.). Give the buyer something to focus on (flowers, art, a table) and make the room inviting. If you get them feeling like this is home from the beginning, then you can get them to walk through the rest of the house picturing themselves living there.

General staging tips for the rest of the house:

  • Make sure that the function of each room is clear. Don’t set up the office in the dining room. Don’t put the gym equipment in the bedroom.
  • Make sure that the furniture is scaled to the size of the room. It is not necessary to have seating for eight people.
  • It’s all about the space. Everyone thinks they have more stuff than you do. You will have to show that there is plenty of space in your house. That means room in the closets, kitchen and bathroom cupboards, basement or storage room, and garages. Don’t pack everything into one spot.
  • Everything must be spic and span! That means the baseboards, windows, fridge, stove, etc., must all be clean. You may want to hire professionals for this deep cleaning.
  • Ensure that nothing is in disrepair. Consciously walk through your house and test all of the knobs on all of the doors and drawers. If you find a loose one, tighten it. If one squeaks, oil it. When the small things are not working a potential buyer will wonder if you have been taking care of the bigger things like the furnace etc.
  • Take a look at the walls. A fresh coat of paint is one of the cheapest ways to spruce up your home. It’s not always about covering up a bad colour.
  • De-clutter. Since you will be moving shortly this is a good time to start packing and purging. Go through the entire house and consider throwing away, selling, or donating anything that you haven’t used in the last six months. If you are saving something for the kids you may want to give it to them now so you can see them enjoying it, and so you can get it out of the house.
  • Try to remove most of your personal pictures. You want the buyers to picture their family, not yours.
  • Make sure that you don’t go too far with your packing. You still want the home to look lived in and inviting, not empty and lonely.

The best thing you can do to prepare showing your home is to think about what you like when you’re considering buying a home. What did you find attractive about a house and what turned you off it? Was the colour appealing, or did it make you second guess the place? How did you feel about the curb appeal?

Now walk into your house like you are a buyer, and try to see what they will see.


Diana Zinck is president and lead designer of The Stage Coach. Providing home staging services in Victoria since 2009, her mission is to assist homeowners and realtors with selling their properties in the least amount of time and for top dollar. By doing so, Diana helps alleviate the stress of selling a home, which in turn allows her clients move on with their lives.

Diana is available at:

Phone: 250-514-6217
Facebook: /TheStageCoachBC
Twitter: /TheStageCoachAR

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