Talk to ten different people who’ve had their homes staged, and you’re likely to get ten different responses about how it went. Hopefully, most are positive, but it’s not a given. Staging, like so many things in life, falls on a spectrum. It can be exceptional and make a significant impact, or be average and leave you wondering why you bothered. Of course, we all want to believe that our home will be staged like the homes we’ve seen on T.V., but it takes a tremendous amount of effort and resources to achieve such results, and not every company out there is up to the task. So how can you make sure you get the most out of your staging? Arm yourself with as much information as you can before signing on the dotted line and then follow their instructions to a T.
Do Your Research
Ask a REALTOR if they’ve seen both sides of the spectrum when it comes to staging and they’ll all say the same thing, YES! They’ll likely even have pictures to share because agents are often glued to their phones and find the triumphant stages as delightful as the staging fails. The best way to ensure you’ve made the right decision about your REALTOR and staging company is to read the reviews. Check Google, Facebook, Zillow and Yelp. The more reviews, the better. Be sure to take into account the details – reviews that reference specifics have a lot more weight and pictures are worth a thousand words.
If you’re looking for a contemporary look and the staging company you’re looking at only has traditional=looking photos on their website, they may not be the right fit for you. Staging companies will always use the inventory they have available first, so it’s logical to assume that if you’ve never seen any furniture you like displayed in their photos, you may not like what they’ll deliver to you on staging day.
It’s always good to know what the staging process is too. There should always be an initial consult and follow up notes on what each party (stager and client) needs to do in the lead up to staging day – a detailed action plan. Anything short of a brief summary of what you need to do to prepare and what they plan to do to your home should leave you a little concerned. Not all real estate agents and stagers in the city of Toronto operate with the same level of professionalism, so ask questions, inquire about their process, and be sure to understand just what it is that’s required of you to make sure your home is ready.
Do The Homework
No question, selling your home can be a lot of work and staging your home can add to it, but the payoff is always worth it. If your agent suggests staging it’s because they know it’ll make your home easier to sell faster and for more money; don’t fight it. The staging consult notes that you should always expect from a credible staging company will often require you to remove or tuck away certain items in the home. The notes can range from simple de-cluttering to removing most of the furniture. Reputable companies will happily answer any questions you might have about why this is necessary and help you find storage solutions nearby.
If you know most of your furniture should go but you’ve been told to remove only your kitchen tablecloth, consider going with someone else. If you’re interested in seeing your home transformed, hire someone who will transform it. “Are you sure my overstuffed plaid chesterfield from the ’70s should remain in the living room?” is never something you should need to ask a company interested in transforming your space. Good stagers will ask a lot and be willing to compromise where they can. If you can’t move a dresser because you need to live in your home during the sale and require it for storage, they’ll figure out a way to make it work. You should be relieved they asked you to move it in the first place as that means they’re not looking for an easy out.
Invest in the best
Before deciding on what agent and stager are best for you to consider how important it is for you to receive top dollar for your home. There are plenty of new brokerages out there that will offer to sell your home for next to nothing, but they’ll offer you next to nothing in return. If you’d like top-notch staging, marketing, and a negotiation expert on your side for the biggest transaction of your life, consider going with an agent who knows their worth. You really do get what you pay for when it comes to real estate and staging, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.
It’s always worth asking whether staging is included. If it isn’t, it might cost you a fair bit to have it done well, and if it is, you’ll want to know to what degree the staging will be done. In-house staging refers to staging that is provided by the agent or brokerage you are working with. This is often seen as preferable to the seller as staging is expensive, but few teams or brokerages do in-house staging on the same level as separate staging companies. Quite a few Toronto agents now offer staging to be competitive, but they don’t have staging professionals on the payroll to serve you. Your REALTOR may have very good taste, but wouldn’t you rather they focused on selling your home? That’s why you need to ask questions and understand what is actually being offered before accepting that all staging is the same. If done properly, in-house staging has several advantages to outsourcing. Staging professionals that work exclusively with the agent(s) you’ve employed to sell your home have an interest in pleasing their teammates. They also know how each other works, what they expect, and have each other’s best interests at heart. From flexibility with scheduling to going the extra mile to recommend and oversee home repairs, a team of specialized professionals working together to sell your home usually gets better results.
the BREL team does staging right and has their own staging company, UPstaging, to serve their clients and deliver professional staging, in-house. With a warehouse full of furniture, their own moving truck and full-time staff, the BREL team is able to offer professional staging included in their commission. They employ professional copy-writers, marketers, and design professionals to ensure they offer their clients best in class when it comes to your real estate experience. Getting the most out of your staging is as easy as picking the right team to work with. Do your research, then give us a call.
Related: Check out our Staging FAQ on the BREL website.
Kiel has been a member of the BREL team for three years and a designer for UPstaging since its founding in 2019. As a McMaster alumnus in Communication and Design at George Brown, he soon made his life-long dream of spending other people’s money…err.. we mean decorating… into reality with the BREL team! When he’s not staging homes, he can be found searching the Junction for vintage furniture and unique accessories.