Target buyer demographic? What is all this mumbo-jumbo!

Selling a home has certainly changed over the past decade; we can no longer give everything a good dusting and wait for the showings. Realtors have to work hard to market your property online, in social media, printed advertising and have successful open house tours. Home staging is a relatively new but very powerful marketing tool that more and more Realtors are adding to their client service packages.
So why do we suddenly need all this new marketing stuff? Well, to successfully market your property, your Realtor has to go where the potential buyers are; online. One of the main things to keep in mind when selling your home is that the person/family that will buy your property will most likely be younger than you are which means that there will be a difference between what you want in a home and what your likely buyer will be looking for. For example; let’s say that your most likely buyer will be a “young professional”, that peach wall you painted in your bedroom 5-10 years ago is going to seem dated no matter how well it has stood up over the years. Maybe your likely buyer will be a young family, if so; they are far less likely to want to take on any unfinished projects as they’re looking for move-in-ready.
A professional home stager can help your property make a great first impression. After all, your property is being “interviewed” by potential buyers who are looking for their perfect home. Just like you would probably dress differently for a job interview then you would when you’re hanging out with friends, your home needs to be dressed for success.
If your Realtor isn’t using the services of a professional home stager then call one yourself – you have invested a lot of time and money in your home over the years – a professional home stager will help you get the best possible return on your investment.

Vacant listing are harder to sell.

I was invited to tour a condo apartment in a high-end, gated building in the Ottawa area last week. The building was beautiful, tastefully decorated common areas, outstanding views from the large balconies every unit has and high-end finishes throughout. The unit I was invited to tour was one of the largest models with 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, a 1/2 bath, beautifully appointed den, eat-in kitchen, formal dining area, large living room and even a very nice laundry room. I was ready to be impressed but what a disappointment it turned out to be! Why? It was vacant.

Vacant properties simply don’t show well. All there is to look at is the flaws; the quickly patched nail holes with no primer or paint, the large gaping hole in the wall where the TV was mounted, dated fixtures and tired paint. I am professionally trained to look beyond all that to see the possibilities but what about the average potential buyer?

It is estimated that only 10% of potential buyers are able to successfully envision how a space could look. That means that nine out of every ten potential buyers will only be able to see the flaws! Imagine, all the potential buyers who are searching online for properties to actually visit and only one out of ten will see beyond the emptiness to see the possibilities and if they actually visit the property, they will notice all the flaws, all the work that needs to be done and will either walk away or ask for price considerations.

Asking a seller to invest time and money in a property they are leaving can be a difficult conversation but let’s have a look at the alternative; every month that a listing remains on the market costs the seller money in the form of; condo fees, hydro, financing fees and property taxes. Every month that a listing remains on the market the chances of selling for full asking price decreases and every month that a listing sits on the market costs the Realtor money as well.

Staging a vacant or occupied property before it is listed is an investment that can decrease the number of days your property remains on the market, increase the selling price of your property and reduce the cost of carrying your property for weeks or even months.  Professionally staging your property gives you a great return on your investment (ROI).

Have a question? Contact me,



Every property can benefit from some degree of staging

Repeat after me, “Every property can benefit from some degree of staging.” It really doesn’t matter what the listing price is for a property, preparing it will help it sell faster and for the most money.Period.
Some of the things commonly recommended by professional stagers are;
• Clutter visually eats up space. Buyers need to be able to see the entire space and it is very hard to do when they are looking at collections, memorabilia, cluttered tables, packed bookcases, piles of magazines, lots of small appliances,… get the idea. Let the features of your property stand out not your personal stuff.

Clutter visually eats up space

Clutter visually eats up space






• You’re planning on moving right? So pack up the things you don’t use every day and then store them off-site. Examples are; seasonal clothing, decorations and sports equipment; dishes, small appliances and extra bedding that are used infrequently. While you’re doing this prepacking you’ll also be able to purge the things you know longer use or like. Potential buyers are looking for space and by prepacking you’re able to better show them how much space there really is. BONUS, by packing to movepre-packing what you don’t need, you’re way ahead when it comes time to actually move.
Lighten and brighten

• Today’s buyers are looking for clean, neutral spaces that have lots of natural light. Take down those heavy drapes, repaint the bubble-gum pink bathroom and definitely get rid of all the themed wallpaper and any wallpaper boarders. Every time a prospective buyer sees something they need to do they see $$$$ and IF they make an offer they will be looking for price considerations.
Clean, clean, clean

• Bathrooms need to sparkle, floors need to shine, scuff marks on the walls need to go and the dust needs to be eliminated. Clean the fridge, stove, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer; even if they are not included in the sale, their cleanliness will reflect on the entire
property.clean house

Call in the professionals
• Your professional stager can advise you on all aspects of décor prior to listing and they can help you create that “WOW” factor that buyers can’t resist. They can also prevent you from spending money unwisely. They want you to get the best return on your investment.
• A pre-sale home inspection ensures that there are no surprizes when it comes time to sell and potential buyers will feel more secure knowing that all issues have either been addressed or at least disclosed.
• A Realtor® knows all about selling properties. While I know there are now many for-sale-by-owner type services out there, I don’t sell my property often enough to feel comfortable with the process. I know, there is a lot of information out there on how to sell your own house but, when the time comes for me to sell my home, I want the whole process to be as stress-free as possible – I’ll go with a professional.

How much should I spend?

I had someone ask me what they should spend preparing their home for sale. Like many, they don’t want to spend a lot of money on a property they are going to sell in the near future. So, how much should you spend? There is no one, single answer  as it all depends on how well have you kept up with the general maintenance of your property? Have you made any updates? Could your home compete favorably with every other house in the same price-range, size and area?
If you have been a little lax in your general up keep and maintenance you are going to need to spend more money getting your property ready for market.

Poorly maintained homes are harder to sell

Poorly maintained homes are harder to sell

If your bathroom decor is straight out of the 80’s you’re going to need an up-date.

Popular decor from the 80's

Popular decor from the 80’s

Or,if your kitchen cabinets are falling apart, you’re going to need to at least repair them.

Today's buyer will not be impressed with this kitchen.

Today’s buyer will not be impressed with this kitchen.

dated kitchen Or, you might just need to modernize the hardware or refinish the cabinets.

How much should you spend preparing your house for the market?

If your goal is to sell quickly and for the most money possible, you’re going to have to spend money to bring your home up to today’s standards. Home buyers know what they want; move-in-ready, no work required.

If your goal is to have your property languish on the market for months, eventually selling after one, or more, price reductions then you don’t need to spend much at all.

As you can see, there is no one answer to “how much should I spend”, if you’re concerned about spending your money on the wrong things, contact a professional stager. A staging consultation will detail what you need to do and help prioritize the work so that it fits within your timeline and budget.

Here are the TOP FIVE things that turn off potential buyers.

Selling your home this spring?
Here are the TOP FIVE things that turn off potential buyers.
When your property is cluttered buyers can’t see all the great features your home has and they immediately think that there isn’t enough space or storage. If your listing photos show cluttered rooms, chances are, potential buyers will just click through to the next listing photo, never giving your property a second glance.

Your listing photos look great and a potential buyer is coming to look at your property! Great news, but if they walk through the front door and are greeted by animal, smoking or strong cooking smells your chances of selling plummets. Smells are something you get used to and don’t notice anymore but your potential buyer certainly will, stay away from heavily scented air fresheners and opt for a deep clean of all soft furnishing and accessories.


When was the last time you up-dated your décor? I know, you’re all thinking “people are buying my house not my furniture, so why does it matter?” if you want your house to sell quickly and for the most money possible thEVERYTHING matters. People buy houses that they can see themselves living in and dated décor can stop them from making the emotional connection that will sell your house.

While you may love your midnight-blue family room and your hot-pink bathroom, most potential buyers won’t. Today’s buyer is looking for a move-in-ready property and the added cost and time it takes to re-paint a room may make your property less appealing. Remember, your property is competing with every other property that meets your potential buyer’s wish list; the goal is to make your property the easiest to move into. I always recommend neutral paint colours to my “staging to sell” clients. I create the WOW factor with accessories not wall colour.


is this the bedroom? Living room? maybe part of the kitchen?

is this the bedroom? Living room? maybe part of the kitchen?

If your property is a three bedroom home but you have set up one of the rooms as a home-office, buyers will remember your property as the two-bedroom with an office. If your property is vacant, people will have a hard time judging the size of the space and even the purpose the space. Always return spaces to their original purpose and make sure all the main rooms of the property have furniture in them; you can re-purpose excess furnishings from other rooms (most of us live with way too much furniture in a room), borrow furniture from friends or family or, rent furniture from a company that specializes in short-term rentals.



For most of us, our homes represent the largest single investment will ever make, investing a little more time and money prior to listing greatly increases the probability of your home selling quickly and for the most money possible. Have a question? EMAIL me and I’ll try to answer your question.

Home Office; the final bill

January 31, seems to be fast approaching so I thought I should finish up with my home office re-design. As you know, my client for this re-design was me and I wanted all the same details that I would give to any client; floor-plan, colour pallet, shopping list and costs. So, here we go;

This is the floor-plan for the home office/guest room, I’ve added side tables and wall-mount lamps.home office 2

Here is the colour pallet I decided upon based upon the bedding I already purchased.003

and the shopping list looks like this,


Once the proposed shopping list and cost estimates are approved, I can source all the items and provide an actual cost and location list that looks like this;purchase list Capture

I’ve also worked out a priority list as I know my client will not be purchasing everything all at once. She’ll need to purchase the bedding and pillow fabric first, then the bookcases 2 at a time, the desk and desk lamp as well fabric to recover her favorite office chair. She’ll also need to purchase the side-tables and repaint them – BONUS- one is actually an old wooden filing cabinet!

There are blinds on the windows so window treatments may be put off until later as can the bedside lamps, The ceiling fan will need to be installed before summer as the room can get pretty hot during the day. This re-design gives my client all the space she needs for her office/sewing room and guest room, lots of storage means all the small items can be stored in baskets or bins and files can be stored either in file-hangers on the shelves or in the filing cabinet. I think I’ll design a bulletin board area for keeping current projects and make it so that it can be closed when guests are using the space.

I’d love to know what re-design projects you plan on doing!



The Fun Continues (my home office)

My home office project is beginning to come together! I quickly sewed up my pillows for the bed and one for my office chair and finalized my color pallet based upon the bedding I found. I also found a cute frilly pillow to add to my desk chair.

002 If you are interested in making your own simple envelope-style pillow covers you can find easy instructions here pillow tutorial

The color pallet I finally settled on are these muted tones from Sherwin Williams however, any premium paint company can match paint from a fabric sample you bring into them (how handy is that!).


I’m also pleased that I have solved the issue of needing a large, flat work surface for cutting fabric. Sewing is not the main function of the space but my client (me) does need a cutting surface and using a cutting board on top of the bed is just not a suitable option anymore. If you reference back to the floor plan you’ll see that I have a far amount of available wall space on either side of the wardrobe, my plan is to use a light-weight folding table and hand it on the wall, with the addition of a fun wall-decal, it will resemble an art piece and add another level of function to the space!

I’ve now got all the pieces of the puzzle and I’ll put everything together for my client (me) to approve. Stay tuned for the shopping list and sources that I’ll provide my client with so she is able to do the work at her own pace and within her budget.

What space in your home would you re-design so that it looks and functions better? I think my next space might be the family bathroom – it seems that it is always a disaster even with only two adults living in the space.

Office Re-design; finding the good stuff

Even though temperatures were well below zero here in Ottawa, I decided to go out shopping to find some inspiration for my office re-design. (one of the things I love about being a stager is that I actually get to go shopping, a lot)

The first thing I found was this pretty awesome bed-in-a-bag at Walmart. I love the colors and the mix of fabrics and since this room isn’t often used as a guest room, I’m not concerned about wash-ability.Room makeover 003Room makeover 002 The best part? On sale for 29.98!

After dancing my way to the car, I pulled out one of the pillow shams and headed to my favorite Fabricland and found these great fabrics to make a couple of pillows from. Once again, on sale so both pieces cam to under $15. On the way home I stopped into Giant Tiger and purchased a couple of unattractive pillows for $5 each – it was cheaper than buying pillow forms and they’ll work just fine.

Room makeover 001

I think my best deal of the day were the two wood pieces I plan on using as side tables by the bed. They are not the same but very similar in height and over-all size so once they’re painted they’ll look great.Room makeover 006 They were 19.99 and 24.99 at a local thrift store so The price was certainly right!

One more stop at a local consignment store netted me this great vase and a very cool lamp that I need to find a shade makeover2 001 room makeover2 002

Home office floor plan

Stage two

Now that my guests have left, I was able to spend some time in the bedroom/office and measure the dimensions of space and the items that are remaining in the room. Once I had my measurements I was able to head to my favorite floor plan drawing tool I love this tool as it is easy to use, has a good selection and IT”S FREE.

Here is what the first draft of the floor plan looks like

home office snipThe bed, wardrobe and small side table are all pieces that are already in the room. There are forced air vents in the floor on either side of the wardrobe (right in the corners) which is why I have left those two spaces clear. I am showing a floor-lamp tucked into the corner of the bookcases but I think I will change that to just a top shelf that is the same height as the bookcases – I have visions of dropping something down in the space and losing it forever! I will be adding locking castors to each unit so that they are easy to move about if I decide to change the layout some time in the future.

Each of the bookcase units is a simple BILLY bookcase from IKEA, I chose to use use these as they are inexpensive to purchase, easy to pick-up at the local Ottawa store (no delivery costs) and easy to put together. I also like the fact that the two shelves are adjustable which gives me the opportunity to customize the heights to suit my storage needs. I plan on using storage boxes to contain all the small items I use for sewing, samples of flooring and fabrics as well as family and client files.  Storage boxes come in so many sizes and materials now and I can mix and match to create my own look.

I’ll be off to check out some of my favorite fabric and bedding stores to see if I can find a duvet or duvet cover in one of my preferred color pallets this week. There is no point in choosing paint colors until I find the right fabrics; trying to pick wall color first is a mistake I see a lot of people making.

Now remember, this is a re-design project not a staging to sell project. If this were a staging to sell project the room would be designed differently; the bed would take center stage on the longest un-interupted wall, I would be creating symmetry in the room by placing a table on either side of the bed as well as a nice reading lamp on each table and I would create a comfortable area to read with a comfortable chair and either another small table or a floor lamp.

My next post will include my proposed shopping list, a photo of the bedding I have chosen as well as the desk and lighting I feel would be best suited for the space.

What are your design projects for 2015 going to be?

Home Office Re-design Project

So, here is what the client brief and scope of work looks like for my home office client (ME) my client is capable of doing most of the work herself so the scope of the work is basically the planning; a floor plan, a colour scheme and a shopping list.
This is actually a pretty normal re-design project; most people just need help with the planning. Some clients aren’t capable of doing all the work themselves and will need me to recommend painters and tradespeople. Then there are those clients who have no interest in doing any of the work and just want to have a completely finished space to enjoy. I will do my best to adjust my services to meet the needs of pretty well any client and most budgets.

Access Home Staging
Re-design; client brief and scope of work
Client: me 
Requirements: client needs a home office that is easily organized with lots of storage for staging and redesign materials as well as sewing machines (two) and fabric storage. Room must also serve as a guest room for 2 weeks in the summer, 2 weeks in the winter and irregular weekends throughout the year.
Client wants to do the work herself and only needs a floor-plan, colour scheme and shopping/source list to work from.
Restrictions: flooring and antique bed must stay, would like to re-use wardrobe if possible.

Scope of work
Re-designer will;
• Work with client to create a floor-plan that meets the needs of the client.

Floor-plan will dorm_room_floorplanshow proposed layout and any new pieces of furniture
• Get client approval on the floor plan
• Create a colour scheme for the space that complements wood flooring and bedpaintswatch
• Get client approval on colour scheme
• Create a total budget estimate
• Provide client with paint colour numbers

This is one of three color pallets I really like
• Create a list of all furniture and lighting recommendations
• Source all items on list
• Provide all of the above no later than January 31, 2015
Client will;
• Keep all appointments with the re-designer
• Provide approval of all plans in a timely manner

Scope of work does not include:
• Cost of furniture and lighting
• Cost of paint, paint supplies and painters
• Cost of any trades needed to complete project (example; electricians)
• Cost of shopping for furniture, lighting and accessories
• The set-up and arrangement of furniture and lighting.

Costs ;
Floor-plan: $350.00
• On-site measuring and design consultation
• Up to three floorplans
Colour scheme $225.00
• consultation and mood board
• paint selection
Sourcing $300.00
• create a shopping list with local sources and pricing
• create a purchase priority

TOTAL $875.00
Discounts; colour consultation N/C -$125.00
On-line version mood board -$50.00
25% discount on sourcing services -$75.00

Total after discounts $625.00 + HST