Every Home is a Stage

A professional makeover has real impact when it's time to sell

In the same way that the housing market ebbs and flows, booms and busts, and reacts to a variety of changes in the global economy, many of the businesses associated with real estate get caught up in these trends. In our current strong market, construction, trades, architecture and interior design are naturally prospering while home staging, a relatively new enterprise, is really coming into its own.

A Google search on 'staging' as recently as 2003 would most likely have resulted in companies specializing in TV studio and theatre sets, concert equipment, and lighting rigs. Today, multiple sponsored links top the page - "Become a Home Stager", "Home Staging the Affordable Way" - followed in short order by a Wikipedia listing. All tell tale signs that home staging is here to stay.

According to the Wikipedia definition home staging is: "the act of preparing a private residence prior to going up for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to sell a home quickly, and for the most money possible by attracting the highest amount of potential buyers."

Sounds fairly obvious - give the home a once over with the vacuum cleaner, make sure the counters are clear and the kids beds are made and you'll doubtless make a better impression. But apparently there's much more to it than meets the eye. The trick is, when a home is being met by the eyes of prospective buyers, it should not be screaming STAGED!!

A great deal of expertise goes into finding that perfect balance and creating a style that has widespread appeal. According to research conducted in the US, home staging

can decrease the time spent on the market by 50%, as well as generating a selling price of 10-15% more than an empty home, or one not professionally staged.

Whistler's interior décor and home staging expert, Maureen Schomaker of Patina Home Interiors definitely advocates spending some money up front on revamping a property.

"If it's done well," she says, "you can expect a very good financial return on your investment, but just as importantly, you're more likely to sell far sooner than if you do nothing."

In both designing and staging homes for sale, Maureen goes to great lengths to create the perfect environment for the space with which she's working.

"When I walk into a room, I see it finished," she says. "I just see the space and have a vision of how it will look when it's all completed. Once we've determined the best use of space, then we break it down to style."

Whistler, by its very nature has some interesting challenges when it comes to staging a home for sale - many homes originally built and used as weekend cabins are being purchased as primary residences, which dictates a very different look and feel. In this case, Maureen explains, de-cluttering is the first and most important step.

The other dilemma is the ex-rental property which has suffered from tremendous wear and tear. Both buyer and seller will be striving for a look that distinguishes the home from other rentals, as well as dealing with the superficial blemishes.

Maureen's eager suggestion here is paint. "It may be may be the first thing and the least expensive thing," she says. "It creates character and certainly changes the immediate sense of the space."

Staging however, does not need to be a total overhaul. In many instances Maureen has spruced up existing furniture with pillows and throws to create an entirely new look. She also works on the premise that 'less is more'.

"If you have four bedrooms, for example, that are looking tired it's better to strip them all back then focus on making one bedroom very attractive," she explains. "This way you'll get maximum appeal and engender a vision for the buyer, while still maintaining a reasonable budget".

Maureen engages a wide variety of tradespeople all of whom are highly experienced professionals and who she knows will consistently meet her very high standards. Whether it's in the area of staging, interior design or a full home makeover, Maureen is equipped to provide advice, materials as well as that all important 'vision'.

For more information, www.patinahomeinteriors.com