Maybe the home is located on a busy road. Perhaps there's too much noise, especially during the day. Worse yet, the interior is lavished with polarizing colours any professional would cringe at. And immediately cross off a section of potential buyers. But the list of common concerns about —perhaps setbacks to selling — a home, can often be minimized. Even eradicated. How? Through the work of knowledgeable and experienced home stagers.
Here are three Vancouver-based companies that are premiere professionals educated in today's buyer trends and tastes. They provide expertise designed to increase appeal, value and peace of mind when it comes to selling a home.
Address: 1398 Home St., Vancouver
Much of the decision-making process in buying any home is emotional, explains Negar Reihani. She's the principle designer for Space Harmony. The firm is an award-winning boutique interior-design studio and full-service home staging company.
It's about creating a love affair between a potential buyer and their new home.
Staging creates that first impression. [It] is a lot more than just arranging furniture,
Style, season and the home's uniqueness — its design, location, condition — are all factors in how a residence ought to be approached. Reihani recalls a recent example: a 6,500-square-foot home in the Richmond area. It was on the market half a year before the family's realtor encouraged the use of Space Harmony.
The previous design was amateurish. Furniture was not properly matched, Reihani explains. The nuances in design are what make the difference.
The home had a lot of dark wood panelling, on the walls and bookcases. The mistake was not softening the environment. Reihani brought in a huge area rug; a mirror coffee table; an off-white, cream-coloured sofa; and chairs. After the re-staging, the home sold within a month.
I will work with the realtor to better understand the target demographic, Reihani explains, adding, It's important to cross-reference both sides of the [buying] spectrum by creating a design that appeals to both classic and contemporary tastes.
Using high-end, timeless, elegant and gender-neutral furniture, art and accessories, achieves versatility. Appealing to the broad base of clientele that could be attracted to any given property, is important. Asian buyers, for example, are a specific demographic. Making a home attractive to them requires a tailored approach different from what could be showcased to western buyers. The same goes for appealing to young, first-time homebuyers compared to baby-boomers.
With already furnished homes, Reihani says it's often a matter of uncluttering the space while maintaining the pieces that work. Knowing what works takes experience — and Reihani has decades of it. Abstaining from particularly extreme colour schemes and tacky furniture, for instance, may be crucial to a quick sale versus one drawn out for months. Though, Reihani quips,
No staging is better than bad staging.
Flow Home Staging & Design
Address: 1860 Powell Street, Vancouver
It's not just the design and look. Furniture and colours also must be harmoniously fused to maximize results.
Isabelle Guay, owner of Flow Home Staging & Design, explains, there is only one impression. It's the initial emotional connection that matters most. Potential buyers may only spend a handful of minutes to a quarter of an hour perusing a residence.
You want to have people fall in love with the house...[but] it's not about the people but the house itself,
If a home is staged properly, buyers become emotionally involved. And this attachment is the key to a quick, well-valued sale. In short, home staging and well thought-out design are musts for maximizing the potential of a home. So is demonstrating practicality.
Proper spacing, proper pathways with windows and doors accessible. [Confirming] a bedroom's a bedroom and that a living room isn't in the dining room!,
jokes Guay, are important factors that must be assessed and managed. Flow Home's consultation process itself is comprehensive. The company asses the overall "flow" of the home. As well, anything that may require fixing — such as walls, windows, paint and more — is noted and corrected. So are lighting, fixtures and more.
Guay recalls a recent case — a heritage home built in 1912. The owners had lived there for 25 years. The place was filled with average furniture and had mediocre lighting. The home was on the market more than a month. After some key upgrades and repair plus some fresh painting and updated carpet, the place sold within a week. Well above the asking price.
Flow Home boasts a respected reputation with its versatile capability to tackle any real estate project. Whether it's a a downtown condo or a heritage home. The company won two 2014 Best of Houzz awards, for design and satisfaction. It also received a 2014 Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) industry award, ranking as one of the year's top five professional home-staging teams.
It's beauty over practicality when it comes to selling. An objective third-party will almost always be a better judge of what a potential buyer would see. Personal becomes practical, which doesn't amount to versatile. And versatility is the aim when it comes to marketing a home.
Fine Redesign Home Staging and Decor Inc.
Address: 1345 Clark Drive, Vancouver
It's headquartered south of the Fraser. But Fine Redesign has been staging homes throughout Metro Vancouver for years. The firm's substantial portfolio of work matches its breadth of experience. Fine Redesign has won Houzz awards for 2013, 2014 and 2015. It also earned 10 consecutive RESA top-10 Home Stager of Canada awards.
Kashmir Dhaliwal is the senior certified property stager and a partner at Fine Redesign. She explains, depersonalizing is important to the process of — and to increase the probability of — a quick sale. Removing family photos and the general clutter. Reverting to neutral colours. These all help clean the slate in the eyes of the thousands of potential buyers who may step through the door, says Dhaliwal.
It's like the sale of a car, she says. Before selling their car, most people would have it detailed with everything looking and running in good order. It's the same when selling your home. How much is addressed, hinges on a few things — most critically, your budget.
Consultation involves a detailed walk-through of the seller's home. Recommendations will be made. They may include such things as:
- new paint and kitchen hardware
- carpet removal
- change of drapery and more
It varies depending on:
- occupants' personal style
- their habits
- the general everyday of life that affects and personalizes a space, especially one's living space
But there's one certainty, as Dhaliwal notes: Proper staging ensures — for the seller at least — that the best example and highest standard are put forth. When it's done right staging increases the home's value, if just by attracting greater buyer attention. An eight-month nightmare could be reduced to mere weeks if a home's true potential is emphasized room-by-room, explains Dhaliwal, recalling from recent experience.
Assuredly, fresh paint and furniture go a long way. Knowing what way is reason to enlist a home-staging professional.