Real Estate Talk:
Staging to Sell

The better a home shows, the quicker it will sell

By Joseph Marovitch

Staging is a marketing tool that enables the seller to show the house in the best possible light. In many cases, especially in higher end homes, staging is not necessarily required. In many homes, the house has live-in help to maintain the property in excellent condition or simply the owners maintain the home in top form. However, most homes have a lived in feeling if they have younger to middle aged couples with children living in them. Mom and Dad work all day, kids play and the house can get messy. Or, the owners are retiree’s and do not have the energy to maintain the home in top form. One other factor is that we are not all home stagers as much as we are nesters who come home, throw the coat on the chair and put the feet up at the end of the day.

Some homes with furniture already in them, can benefit by simple staging. By simple staging I mean place the chair and couch at the right angle, move the lamps around a bit, throw a nice blanket over the rocking chair and ad a few pictures to brighten up the place. Other times, a home can use much more than moving a couch and placing a picture. If the owner has lived in the home for 60 years and the property looks like 1960 then the home can benefit by bringing in a professional stager to clean the house, and bring in rented modern furniture that is strategically placed.

Professional home stagers do nothing but home stage and if they have been in the business successfully for a considerable time, they know what works.

Other times, a large beautiful home with rich wood work, beautiful mouldings, high ceilings and large rooms can benefit by placing nothing in the house. This can allow potential buyers to see the natural light and spacious surroundings and therefore use their imagination to conceive the perfect home.

The fact is the better a home shows, the quicker it will sell and the higher the value it will receive. It would be great if everyone had a vivid imagination that would enable them to see the possibilities in any house, in any condition, and some do, but the majority do not. Therefore, if the house requires a cosmetic up-grade, do it. If you’re not sure what works, spend a few dollars for a professional stager and upgrade. You may spend a few dollars but the return will be worth the investment.

Professional home stagers do nothing but home stage and if they have been in the business successfully for a considerable time, they know what works. In other words, do not make the mistake of using a family member or friend simply because you think they have a good eye and home sense. Professional home stagers go with neutral colors and arrangements that they know will suit most everyone’s taste. The home staging should be tasteful but neutral and allow the buyer to see and imagine the potential possibilities of the house as it suits them, not the home stager.

A good home stager cost anywhere from $150 an hour to $500 per hour depending on the extent of the project they are undertaking.

When you interview a professional stager ask the following:
• Cost?
• How long have you been doing this?
• Do you only home stage or do other things as well?
• Can I see a website or portfolio of pictures of other projects you have completed?
• What is the average time a home has sold in, that you have staged?
(Keep in mind home staging to sell quicker and higher is only effective if the house is priced and marketed properly.)

State of the Market

Summer is fully upon us and vacation has begun. Next month there will be two weeks of construction holidays. While there is still a market, it is limited since many people are on vacation. The positive aspect is that anyone still in the city and searching for a property is serious and motivated. While many brokers will not be conducting open houses to get buyers, the one that do will have the market cornered. They may not get many visitors but the ones they do get will be motivated buyers.

In Financials, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada is concerned that rising house prices combined with average house hold debt can be bad news for the economy if interest rates should rise. To alleviate the situation, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada is keeping a close eye on lenders and borrowers of mortgages to insure that those who borrow can pay their debts. Stringent rules have already come into play to secure the market, such as a borrower must now put down a minimum of 10% for homes under $1 million and 20% for homes over a million dollars. The amortization rate is no longer 30 years but a maximum of 25 years making mortgage payments higher. These checks are in place for a good reason. Without them, everyone with a pulse would be able to get a mortgage and end up defaulting on their payments. We would then have a repeat of the sub-prime problem in the states, causing the market to crash.

Next issue

Next issue we will discuss the effectiveness of open house and ads. Should you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a great week.

Previous issues:
The Purchase Process
Pre-Approval or Proof of Cash
The Inspection Process
With or Without Warranty

Purchasing a Country Home
Investing in Income Property
Income Property Purchase Promise
The Selling Process

Image: Emily May via

Joseph Marovitch -

Joseph Marovitch has worked in the service industry for over 30 years. His first career was working with families from Westmount and surrounding areas, hosting children between the ages of 6 to 16 as the owner and director of Camp Maromac, a sports and arts sleep away summer camp established in 1968. Using the same strengths caring for the families, such as reliability, integrity, honesty and a deep sense of protecting the interests of those he is responsible to, Joseph applies this to his present real estate broker career.

Should you have questions please feel free to contact Joseph Marovitch at 514 825-8771, or

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