Think your home needs ‘staging’? Then hire a *real* stager.

One can’t talk real estate without at some point touching on the issue of ‘staging’. The idea is that somebody replaces some or all of your furniture with nicer stuff, and blows the socks off potential buyers. Sounds simple enough.

As I have written before, when selling your home it is absolutely critical that you put your best foot forward. Removing or replacing furniture, lights, wall hangings, etc. can be a part of that. Unfortunately, we have seen staging become a real ‘hook’ used by some in the real estate industry to attract clients (they pay for it!), and that has really watered down its value and effectiveness.

Before you decide to hire an agent just because they offered to ‘stage’ your home, think about it: do you really want stuff that was just picked up at another listing and trucked over to your house? (Was it even cleaned?!) Is there anything unique or special about that? Not in my opinion. Besides – with some exceptions – the furniture and decor in your home reflects your style and it fits your home far better than a white leather love seat or green couch ever will.

However, if you really do need to stage – maybe the house/condo is vacant, or what you have is really on its last legs – do yourself a favour and hire a professional. I have recently had the pleasure of dealing with two really great independent professionals, both of whom I would recommend in a heartbeat.

First, Dawn Chapnick was recommended to a client to stage a high-end downtown condo. Another owner in the King Edward Private Residences had recently hired her, and everybody liked what they saw. When I met with her at the unit she quickly convinced me that she understood what was needed, and could source the right pieces to show the space and accentuate the high quality finishes. In short, she knew what would fit, and where to get it. Take a look at her work:


The other really great stager is Kim Ostergaard, who was hired by my clients for their beautiful detached home in the Beach. I had seen Kim’s work before, so I knew that she has a great touch. The pieces she uses are carefully selected to match the style of home, the materials and the finishes. You can tell the difference when you walk in the door: the place looks nearly perfect, but also quite natural. It’s a rare blend. Take a look:


The key point is to find a full-time professional (and both of these ‘stagers’ do interior design work, unrelated to real estate sales) with the experience and expertise to do a proper job. It’s not good enough to simply plunk down some furniture and a couple of pillows. Access to quality pieces at affordable rates really sets the professionals apart from those who have just a limited inventory of ‘stuff’. If they are making their living at it, chances are they are pretty good. Do some research and find one who works for you and get the job done right.


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