I get about 200 requests a day for information. Realtors looking for free staging advice for their clients, aspiring home stagers hoping I’ll tell them the magic secret to getting rich quickly in home staging with no effort (hint: there’s no such thing and run in the opposite direction from anyone that tells you otherwise!).
Thankfully, I also get thought provoking questions. I don’t give one-on-one free advice (I do need to earn a living after all), but I will answer interesting questions here for the benefit of the greater community. And, if you’re a Staging Diva Graduate with a specific business challenge, another place to get help is in the Staging Diva Network.
A realtor in British Columbia wrote:
Can you direct me to a resource that will help me accurately advise my clients as to where to spend their home improvement dollars for the highest return? I do of course advise to clean, de clutter, tidy the yard and garden, paint and so on but if it comes down to a choice between say a new living room carpet or a new kitchen counter, which one to choose? Should a seller upgrade lighting fixtures or replace the dated taps in the bathroom. Those are the kinds of questions I get. Sometimes the answers are clear. I would prefer to use an expert opinion for my clients. (Bill Craig, BC)
Hi Bill, I think the accurate answer is “it depends”. These are judgement calls that professional home stagers make every day. In some homes I recommend changing taps, in others I’d change the lighting, and in many I’d do both! Factors I consider are:
- how dated, worn or just plain ugly the current items look
- the price point of the house
- how the house compares to others in a similar location/price range
- the target market of the particular home and what they’d likely find important
- how much time is available until the house hits the market
- how much a homeowner is prepared to invest in staging
Any home has a myriad of things that could be improved upon, prior to selling. I don’t believe there are any hard rules that say don’t bother with “X”, but absolutely do “Y”.
We know that home buyers are particularly interested in the state of kitchens and bathrooms because these are typically the most expensive to renovate. However, a talented home stager can often recommend relatively inexpensive cosmetic improvements that will make a huge difference to how these important rooms look. For more information and before and after photos, visit:
One Day Bathroom Makeover
While a definitive To Do list might be nice, it would not be an accurate way to answer this real estate agent’s question.
By the way, the kitchen pictured above is from a house I did a home staging consultation for. I spent several hours with the client and left her with a 10 page TO DO list. She followed all my recommendations and sold her house for $100,000 more! She later wrote,
“Thanks to you my husband and I can retire mortgage free after putting all our kids through university. We’re really excited about downsizing into our new downtown condo! Honestly, when the house sold for $100,000 more we felt like we won the lottery. We can’t thank you enough for all your advice!”
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva
President, Six Elements Inc.
Home staging expert Debra Gould, also known as The Staging Diva is president of home staging firm Six Elements Inc. and has been featured on HGTV, GlobalTV, CityTV, CNNMoney, MoneySense, Entrepreneur Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day and more. She has staged hundreds of homes in the $190,000 to $1.5 million price range and taught close to 300 women all over North America and in Wales, Australia and South Africa to start and grow their own home staging businesses.