Debra Gould finished a two day shoot for a new HGTV show "The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price."
In this episode, home staging expert Debra Gould takes Ambrose under her wing to teach him about how to stage a home. They visited 3 staged houses and Debra explained what was done right and wrong in each one. Later in the show, Ambrose tests his new skills to stage a condo on his own with Debra wrapping up with her critique of his new-found home staging skills. Find out what she said when he asked to be hired by her staging firm!
Staging Diva Debra Gould with
show host Ambrose Price
Live 88.5 Start Up Radio - Debra Gould interview on home staging
Katfish Morgan, Darryl Kornicky and Laura Stone interviewed home staging expert Debra Gould on the morning show for Live 88.5 Start Up Radio.
In the interview Debra shares why home staging works in slow real estate markets and why home sellers shouldn't expect their real estate agents to do work that is better left to a professional home stager.
For the second time in two years, home staging expert Debra Gould is featured on CNNMoney.com.
22 web pages feature before and after shots of The Staging Diva's real estate staging projects along with sales results.
The article includes a link to the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers, where home sellers and real estate agents can find help decorating their homes to sell in the United States or Canada. A great business boost for Staging Diva Graduates.
National Post Homes Magazine - "Ready, Stage, Sell" by Rebecca Vogt
Ready, Stage, Sell: Hiring a pro to primp your pad before it goes on the market could reap you thousands of dollars
by Rebecca Vogt
"'Every house has a soul' says Staging Diva Debra Gould, a petite woman in hipster black with a shock of dark hair and an engaging smile. We're chatting on the second floor of her airy home.
Staging Diva Debra Gould featured in 8 page spread in National Post Homes, Summer 2008
As president of Six Elements Inc., and the force behind Staging Diva, a six-year-old company, which as primped hundreds of homes variously priced from $190,000 to $1.7-million in addition to seven of her own (she's also taught home staging from Spain to New Zealand) Ms. Gould knows what it takes to sell a house quickly and for a hefty sum. A good stager, she says, 'will set the scene so that the highest number of potential buyers fall in love the the space.' At her web site, StagingDiva.com, she offers informatin on services and products geared toward the home seller, before-and-after photos of past clients' homes and even training for those interested in starting their own staging business a field that's been garnering more and more attention in the real estate industry.". . .
Home Business Magazine - Debra Gould Success Story
Home Business: Home-Based Business & Opportunity Magazine
"Debra Gould bought, decorated and sold six of her own homes in eight years while she ran her marketing consulting business from home. This led her into a new career as a home stager. It was the perfect way to combine her passions for decorating and real estate without being on call 24/7 the way agents are.
Gould finally found a way to fully use her creativity without becoming a starving artist. In fact, she was able to earn up to $10,000 a month * staging homes by her second year in business.
This Old House Magazine - House Selling Secrets of a Home Stager
When this story first hit the This Old House website, it was on their front page for a week, as shown above.
House Selling Secrets of a Home Stager
by Debra Snoonian
"Who knew that getting rid of family photos and clearing off countertops could help you snag top dollar for your house? These are just two secrets from Debra Gould, founder of Staging Diva. Gould, a professional home stager, has helped scores of homeowners clean up, rearrange, and style their homes to command top price. That can mean anything from putting extra books in storage to getting rid of moldy caulk in bathrooms to renting furniture to fill up too-bare spaces. "The goal is to make your home clean, organized, and welcoming so potential buyers can picture living there," says Gould. Thus the no-family-photos rule: "They make people feel like they're invading your space," she explains.
Based in Toronto, Gould has trained a network of 800+ home stagers across the U.S. "Most owners aren't seeing bidding wars the way they were a few years ago," she says. "But with the right staging, you can get close to your asking price."
Here are before-and-after photos of rooms in houses Gould has staged in the Toronto area, along with information about fees paid and sales prices. . . "
Lincoln Live - KFOR 1240 AM - Dale Johnson interviews Staging Diva Debra Gould
Morning Show Host Dale Johnson grilled home staging expert Debra Gould about what home staging is, why it works and asked for tips on what homeowners can do on their own to decorate their homes to sell. It was a great interview perhaps in part because the host was stuck with a house that wouldn't sell in Lincoln, NE. He was really hungry for any help he could get with his own home, and had obviously done his homework on the subject of home staging before interviewing The Staging Diva.
Listen to recording or download here:
BUILDER Magazine - "Spiff Up Your Standing Inventory: Builders share their strategies for moving houses that need to be sold or resold" by Pat Curry
SET THE STAGE
Many builders have found that staging inventory homes helps buyers visualize living there. Plus, when buyers walk into a furnished room, they're looking at how the house lives instead of nitpicking where the light fixtures are located. Debra Gould, a home staging trainer known as The Staging Diva, says that builders can achieve the goals of staging without spending a fortune, just by paying attention to some basic principles.
“You could probably do the average three-bedroom home for about $5,000,” she says. “We're not talking about huge sums of money, if it makes the difference between people walking in and falling in love with it and picking it apart. … It's all about perception and context. You can buy a cotton T-shirt at WalMart for $5 or a fancy one for $150. They're similar, but one of them is in a fancy boutique.”
When you're staging, take a minimalist approach to the amount of furniture you put in the house. You need a focal point in each room, but the idea is to show off the house, not sell knickknacks and linens.
“You don't need to cram it with as much stuff as someone who is living there,” she says. “You don't want it to feel vacant, but you don't need as much seating as you would normally have in a home. … Set up little scenarios where people can see themselves. If you have an empty corner, make it a little reading corner. If there's an eat-in kitchen, put a table there, but you don't need to set the table.”
Where you do want to go a bit over the top is the master suite.
“Bedrooms are important,” Gould says. “Dress the bed really well. I hate going to houses that are half a million dollars and the bed has nothing on it. If you go to a bedding store, see how the beds are dressed. That's what you want.”
The master bath can be warmed up with a stack of nice, fluffy towels. Gould says her idea of staging a bathroom is “what a bathroom in a Four Seasons hotel looks like before you unpack all your junk.” That means it's sparkling clean with decorative soaps, a shower curtain if it's not an enclosed stall, art on the walls, and, yes, toilet paper.
In a family neighborhood, make sure one of the bedrooms is staged as a child's room. “It doesn't take much to create that ambianceone twin bed, one table, a lamp, some stuffed animals, and kid bedding,” she says. If you're selling to young families, show a nursery. “It gets Mom all excited,” Gould says.
CBC Radio One - "The Staging Diva" on Ontario Today, hosted by Rita Celli
The Staging Diva
The CBC switchboard lit up for an hour as home staging expert Debra Gould answered questions from homeowners about what they should do to decorate or renovate their homes for resale.
Together Magazine - "Primping Pointers," by Julia Aitken
Debra Gould, known as The Staging Diva, specializes in finessing clients' houses so they look their best for the real estate market.
But Gould's tips work just as well if you're in the mood for a kitchen makeover.
Chuck that clutter
If you use your food processor only once a month, purge your cabinets of unwanted items to make more room inside for it and other countertop appliances you rarely use.
Colour Your World
Cabinets, drawers, walls, even a laminate backsplash and countertop can be re-painted (use melamine paint for laminate) to give your kitchen a whole new look.
Replace cabinet knobs and drawer pulls . . .
Grand Magazine - Home Decor Issue - "Decorating for Buyers," by Christine Otsuka
Home staging expert Debra Gould, also known as The Staging Diva, provided all the before and after photos for this magazine feature on home staging. These rooms were staged by Debra for her clients of Six Elements Inc.
Radio Colorado Network - Interview about home staging with host Joe White
Joe White interviewed home staging expert Debra Gould about why home staging is important in a slower real estate market and how homeowners can find a home stager to help decorate their homes to sell more quickly and at a higher price.
Debra also explained why some real estate agents are reluctant to recommend home staging even when it would be in their client's best interest.
Dream Homes & Condominiums Magazine - "Keeping that Brand New Home Look," by J. Lynn Fraser
Excerpt from Dream Homes & Condominiums:
Buying a new home or condo means buying a dream. Part of that dream is the life we envision ourselves having in our new home. A life inspired by magazines and home decorating television shows.
In real life, unfortunately, it’s difficult to keep up that "new home" look. Professional home stagers, the experts who create ideal home suites and get homes ready for sale, can offer some valuable tips about keeping that "model suite" look in your home. These tips are also helpful for special occasions when you want to impress visitors.
"Only hold on to things you really use and/or really love. Anything else should be given away or sold," states Debra Gould, also known as The Staging Diva. Gould is president of the Toronto-based home staging and interior redesign company Six Elements Inc.
Featured Home Staging Expert in the Book: "FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager"
Excerpt from Fab Job Guide to Become a Home Stager:
Debra Gould is the only person teaching the business of home staging who combines an MBA in marketing, almost 20 years experience as an entrepreneur and the proven track record of actually growing a successful home staging business herself from scratch not as a sideline to a real estate practice, but as a stand alone and profitable home-based business. Debra knows from first-hand experience what it takes to get a home staging business off the ground with a shoe string budget, and she knows how to attract home staging clients as proven by the hundreds of satisfied clients she’s served.
Putting up a 'for sale' sign turns the spotlight on your home. Experts share ways to pare down, spruce, up, and seal a good deal.
These days, you have to work hard to make your house stand out, or it might sit on the market for months. If you're selling, you want to captivate buyers so you can sell quickly and for as much money as possible. But there's a lot to do to get a house ready for the market.
"Your home has to be cleaner for a showing than you would normally require it to be just to live in it," says Debra Gould, Toronto-based creator of The Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. It communicates care and maintenance of the whole house."
Though neutral is the norm, stagers often find creative ways to use existing color schemes or elements that homeowners can't affort to change. In one 1980s-style kitchen, Ms. Gould used black-and-white checkered tile floors as inspiration for a bistro theme. She painted gray cabinets sage-green and changed the white walls to clay-red. She added a chalkboard, a bistro table and chairs, and voila! The kitchen instantly became a warm gathering place. "Staging is very much about romancing the buyer," Gould says.
Home Style Magazine - "What Price For Happiness," by Patricia Rivera
Excerpt from Home Style Magazine:
Leave the cost-benefit analysis to the number crunchers and consider this: Even a minor bathroom remodel can boost your personal satisfaction index a gazillion percent. What are you waiting for?
Researchers at Remodeling magazine, have long found that remodeling a bathroom gives homeowners one of the highest value-vs.-cost ratios of all home-improvement projects.
Before they get too carried away with plans for a new bathroom, designers are quick to warn their clients that the cost of redoing this small space can quickly spiral upward.
Less than $1,000
Toronto-based interior design expert Debra Gould, who is also known as The Staging Diva, boasts that she can give a bathroom a complete makeover for $500.
In fact, by just changing towels (color-coordinated, of course), a new shower curtain, adding flowers and a fresh coat of paint, she says she can even create a new bathroom in a single day.
"Many bathrooms look ugly or tired, but the expensive items are basically there," she says. "You just need to add the details."
Experts agree that one of the easiest ways to create a stylish bathroom is with coordinated metal finishes. Faucets vary widely in price, but many attractive ones fall below $200 at any nearby hardware store. Once you select a style, look for matching accessories with the same finish: towel bars, soap dishes, knobs, faucets and even decorative pieces.
Other simple solutions that complete the picture include changing outdated light fixtures. For some reason, new lighting isn’t one of the top jobs on most consumers’ remodeling To-Do lists. Gould reports that many homeowners she’s worked with have stuck with the same Hollywood-style rack lighting that once was the pinnacle of style and a staple in countless suburban cookie-cutter homes. She suggests swapping them for halogen lights, which more closely resemble natural sunlight.
The Ultimate Guide to Making Millions - Entrepreneur's StartUps
The Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program continues to be the ONLY home staging business opportunity recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine in their business start up guide, out of 1121 business listings.
Money 101 hosted by Bob McCormick - CBS Newsradio Los Angeles
Debra Gould appeared in a live interview with Bob McCormick, host of Money 101 on KNX1070, CBS Newsradio's Los Angeles affiliate. Debra discusses how to stage a house to maximize it's value given the double whammy impact of Southern California's declining propery values and that 70% of mortgages are adjustable rate in a rising interest rate environment.
Home staging expert Debra Gould provides her tips for Hiring a Home Stager.
Excerpt from Canadian House & Home Magazine:
Staging is an unregulated field, so beware of anyone claiming to have "accreditation".
According to Debra Gould of Toronto-based Six Elements, an average three-bedroom empty home can be staged for about $6,000, which will boost the selling price by $10,000 to $70,000 *.
Gould says a staging expert should prepare your home for your target market, transforming it into a property that will appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. So don't take suggestions personally.
Toronto Life On-Line Exclusive - "Home made success: One woman's real estate windfall"
By: Jen Wareham
Excerpt from Toronto Life On-Line:
Call it Debra Gould's $90,000 touch. That's about how much the 47-year-old made getting out of the Toronto real estate market and what she made when she got back in four years later.
Her first windfall came in 1998 when the then-marketing consultant decided to downsize so that she could pursue a new career as an artist. She'd been in her three-bedroom detached Beach home for almost two years, during which time she'd given the tired space a rejuvenating lift with new lighting, some paint and a modest kichen reno.
With her marketing background and her eye for decor, she knew how to style the home to show it at its best, rearranging furniture and hanging art for added effect. Her efforts paid off: the house sold for almost $90,000 more than she had paid two years earlier.
Four years and three cities later, Gould was eyeing a return to Toronto. But it was 2002 and the market had changed, with prices higher and bargains tougher to find. . . . she started tracking homes in her price rnage and watching what they sold for. As her knowledge-base grew, so did her abilitiy to spot a good deal. It wasn't long before something caught her eye.
. . . The three-bedroom semi was listed at $259,000, when others like it were going on the market for $299,900 and selling, she says, at around $310,000. . . . Within 24 hours, Gould was in Toronto at the agent open-house with an inspector in tow. . . .
CityTV News at 6 - "Home Stagers can get you top dollar for your house"
Excerpt from CityTV News Feature:
News Anchor Gord Martineau: "If you're selling your home a professional home stager can help you get top dollar. We'll show you why you may not even recognize your own home."
Consumer specialist Jee-Yun Lee: "Home stagers are not regulated or licensed. If they have an 'accreditation' it just means they've taken a weekend course. So it's important to get referrals."
"Debra Gould, a home stager, was brought in to shape things up for this homeowner. For a total of $5,300 each room was transformed from mess to success.
All the clutter was cleared and some rental furniture was brought in for a quick sale."
Consumer specialist Jee-Yun Lee: "Debra Gould's staging paid off. When Bryan's real estate agent first saw the house she wanted to list at $750,000, after the staging it was listed at $799,000 and in just one week it sold for $820,000."
Home Staging expert Debra Gould: "If it all looks too contrived, potential buyers will resist that and then they won't have the natural feeling we're trying to create where a buyer immediately falls in love with a home and says, 'I could live here.' We're not just decorating to make a house look pretty. We're decorating to have a house sell quickly and for top dollar. So you also want to look for a stager who understands the real estate market."
Center of The City Magazine - "Debra Gould is The Staging Diva"
Story by Karen Bridson-Boyczuk
Photography by Jill Kitchener
Excerpt from Centre of the City Magazine:
Debra Gould is The Staging Diva
They are known as "fluffers."
They are the creative minds realtors depend on in their effort to make top dollar on the sale of a home. With a bit of paint, a few selected touches, an imaginative eye and a lot of elbow grease, the work of these "home stagers," as they are more commonly known, can quite dramatically increase the selling price of a home. . . .
Staging Diva Debra Gould, says homeowners without any plans for selling can make drastic improvements to the look of their homes simply by following a few 'home fluffing' techniques.
"So often my clients say, 'wow, and to think, (my house) could have looked like this for the last five years," says Gould, president of Six Elements Inc. (www.stagingdiva.com).
Gould says there are some very basic steps people can take to 'fluff' their homes for themselves.
"The biggest problem I see in people's homes is inadequate lighting," she says. "Many people live in very dark, dingy homes and they don't even know it." . . .
Beyond small clutter items, many homes have too much furniture for the size of the rooms, she says. . . .
"So it's important to take a look at how else the furniture can be arranged in a room," she says. "Often people will say, 'oh, it never occurred to me to put that there.' . . .
Mismatched bedding and towels are another pet peeve of Gould's. . . . "I'm always buying sheets and duvets and towels to go into the homes I stage," she says. "It gives you a nice focal point and can make such a huge difference to the way a room looks." . . .
"If you've got a basement filled with things you are planning to fix one day, just get rid of them. People feel liberated when they knock those things off of their to-do lists. It's very freeing." . . .
Gould has staged hundreds of homes, ranging in price from $190,000 to $1.5 million. . . .
Global TV - Morning News "Moving On Up" Debra Gould shares the anchor desk
The GlobalTV story focussed on why home staging is important even in a hot real estate market and featured before and after photos of many of Debra Gould's home staging projects for her company Six Elements Inc.
Some say the first impression is the only impression that counts... when you're trying to sell your home, it's true. Home-staging expert Debra Gould, also known as "The Staging Diva," of Six Elements Inc. has bought six of her own homes and staged hundreds of others for clients.
Gould points out that when a real estate agent has eight homes to show prospective purchasers in a day, many buyers will decide from the car parked in the driveway whether they even want to bother seeing a listing. This is one of the reasons first impressions, or curb appeal, is so critical.
Gould staged the front of this Beach-area semi-detached home. "Your home's curb appeal can be enhanced tremendously by removing the storm door, and replacing the front door, hardware, address sign and lighting," says Gould - minor changes that can mean the difference between a prospective buyer crossing your threshold or passing your home entirley without so much as a second look. . . . "
The Staging Diva Program is THE ONLY home staging business opportunity recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine in the US and Canada, in their Summer 2006 Business Startups Guide!
Entrepreneur Magazine - "Be Your Own Boss Buyer's Guide"
The Staging Diva Program is THE ONLY home staging business opportunity recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine in the US and Canada, in their Winter 2006 Be Your Own Boss Buyers Guide!
CNN Money - "5 Slow-Market Strategies" by Les Christie
Les Christie, CNN Money, interviews Home Staging expert Debra Gould, President of Six Elements Inc. and creator of The Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program on how home staging can help homeowners sell for more money when the real estate market begins to slow.
5 Slow-Market Strategies
It takes a little extra effort to move a home when the market has turned
Excerpt from CNNMoney:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Sellers are having a harder time getting good prices for their homes. Even in the hottest markets, getting top dollar is a challenge when you don't have 20 buyers battling it out in a bidding war.
The Wall Street Journal - Tricks of the Trade "Setting Up a Home For Sale"
Debra Gould started her home staging business, Six Elements Inc. based on the phenomenal success she had buying, decorating and selling 6 of her own properties.
Debra was interviewed by Hannah Kate Kinnersley of The Wall Street Journal for this story on tricks professional home stagers use on their own homes when it's time to sell.:
Setting Up a Home for Sale
February 1, 2006; Page D1
Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal:
"To sell a house she owns more quickly, Debra Gould, president of Six Elements Inc., a company in Toronto that specializes in making for-sale properties more attractive, first upgrades the light fixtures and uses higher-wattage bulbs. Brightly lit rooms appear bigger and more inviting, she says, but she also installs dimmers to be able to create mood lighting.
She also reconfigures entire rooms. If a second bedroom is cramped, for example, she suggests turning it into a home office or study.
She paints walls according to neighborhood and buyer type: bold colors for an artistic feel or neutral tones for more-conservative buyers. She also paints laminate cabinets with melamine (plastic-based) paint and changes hardware to spruce up kitchens and bathrooms.
Ms. Gould stores clutter off-site, because house-hunters often inspect basements and closets. As a finishing touch, she often puts planters out front to create curb appeal."
The Art of Seduction in Real Estate - Podcast Interview
Debra Gould is interviewed about making houses more seductive to prospective buyers when they're put on the market in "The Art of Seduction in Real Estate."
Style at Home Magazine - Debra Gould shares "Her Faves"
Excerpt from Style at Home Magazine:
"Home staging expert Debra Gould, a.k.a. The Staging Diva of Six Elements (sixelements.com, stagingdiva.com), shares two books that will help you look at your home in a new way.
What Color is Your Slipcover? How Discovering Your Design Personality Can Help You Create The Home Of Your Dreams by Denny Daikeler
I decorate homes for clients who believe they can't make their current house work, so they decide to sell. The irony is once I've redecorated, my clients see what they could have enjoyed all along. What Color is Your Slipcover? is for anyone whose home isn't the sanctuary they're looking for. Borrowing from What Color is Your Parachute?, this book helps you define your design personality and create an action plan."
The Home Zone: Making the Most of Your Living Space by Caroline Clifton-Mogg
Top interiors writers and hundreds of inspirational photos of real homes guide readers through five popluar decorating styles, and discuss how to work with color, lighting, flooring, window treatments and soft furnishings. I say 'real homes; because unlike in some books, these ones look lived in. You'll learn about space planning, and issues specific to each area, from choosing the right bathroom faucet to picking a kitchen layout that works."
Toronto Tonight TV NewsMagazine - "House Fluffing: Dress Your House for Success"
Toronto 1 shot a special segment on House Fluffing for their newsmagazine show, Toronto Tonight. Debra takes viewers through a home in its "before" state and describes what's needed for it to sell quickly and for top dollar.
Subsequent scenes show rental furniture replacing what was there and then Debra takes viewers through the finishing touches adding flowers, art and accessories. Included is an interview on key steps to prepare a home for sale and the increase in selling price that can be expected.
Watch the Video
Reader's Digest - "Your Home is a Stage"
Debra Gould's Home Staging expertise is featured in a full page story opening the magazine's RD Living Section.
Excerpt from Reader's Digest Magazine: "When house hunting, people like to imagine they can look past ugly decor or empty rooms to see potential, but usually they can't! That's why sellers might want to 'repackage' their house to appeal to potential buyers.
Enter professional home stager Debra Gould, president of Six Elements Inc. She rearranges rooms, chooses paint colors, stores superfluous items and even brings in rental furniture. The results can be dramatic: After Gould staged a home that had sat on the market without an offer for six weeks, the owner received three offers within days and sold at 98% of the asking price. Her fee was modest when you consider that the owner was going to drop the listing price by $50,000 but called Gould first.
What does Gould look for?..."
The Globe and Mail - "Go Fluff Yourself," by Janice Lindsay
Go fluff yourself
Planning a spring makeover? Don't splurge, purge.
Excerpt from The Globe And Mail:
With real-estate season heating up, there's a new professional getting busy.
The home fluffer, a.k.a. the stager, is becoming de rigueur for the good reason that she or he can boost your selling price. By editing out what isn't working and organizing what is into shelter-mag spareness, the fluffer can make the most unprepossessing home look chic. Call it purging instead of splurging.
The downside is that if you're selling, you don't get much time to enjoy it. . . .
First impressions count. Our opinion of a place comes mostly from our first experience of it. Real-estate agents know that it doesn't matter if the roof is new and wiring and plumbing are in tip-top shape: We "know" we like a place (or don't) before we know why. Any visitor to your home is getting the same quick response. If you don't like what it says about you, it's time to fluff. . . .
Familiarity makes us blind. It is hard to change what you have stopped seeing. Fluffers come up with fast solutions because they come in cold and, unlike friends, they don't have to be tactful. When Debra Gould of Six Elements in Toronto moves furniture around, her clients say things like "I've lived here for 10 years and it would never have occurred to me to do that." . . .
What makes a place look spacious? Empty space! Edit, edit, edit. If you want to see how really full your rooms look, take some digital photos. They won't look like those beautiful rooms in decor magazines. Gould says, "Don't fill basements and garages waiting for the mythic garage sale. They aren't worth the hassle and don't feel nearly as good as just giving things away." If you want an instant fluff, put it all on the curb for the neighbours or the Goodwill to take away. Think of it as giving all these objects a new life (I know, it's hard to do). . . .
Like advertisers, fluffers organize rooms into quickly readable lifestyle scenarios -- the reading zone, the garden room, the party zone. Furniture gets arranged so that the pieces talk to each other. . . .Collections are relegated to disciplined areas where they can be enjoyed without taking over. This is not depersonalizing; it's replacing "me" decorating with something more universally appealing. . . .
Fort Wayne, IN - The Journal Gazette -
"Improve lighting when selling house"
Excerpt from The Journal Gazette:
To sell a house she owns more quickly, Debra Gould, president of Six Elements Inc., a company in Toronto that specializes in making for-sale properties more attractive, first upgrades the light fixtures and uses higher-wattage bulbs. Brightly lit rooms appear bigger and more inviting, she says, but she also installs dimmers to be able to create mood lighting. . . .
MoneySense Magazine -
"Winning the Real Estate War, " by Julie Cazzin
Excerpt from MoneySense Magazine:
Coldwell Banker Realty tracked 2,772 properties, ranging in price from $229,000 (U.S.) to $4.8 million, in eight major U.S. cities.
It found that while the average home was on the market for nearly 31 days, the typical staged home sold in just under 14 days.
And while the average home sold for a mere 1.6% over the seller's asking price, the staged homes went for a hefty 6.3% more.
"Home stagers perform their magic by playing up the best features of your house and minimizing the worst.... Debra Gould, who owns the Six Elements Home Staging firm in Toronto, says it's important to avoid planting negative associations in buyers' minds.... gives the example of an open house she attended where the owner had left all the garbage and recycling bins at the top of the long and steep flight of steps leading up to the house.... she advised the agent to have the homeowner tuck the bins away behind the house rather than drawing attention to the major inconvenience of not having a place to store them at sidewalk level...
... Home Stager Gould recommends you pay special attention to the furnace room since every home buyer wonders what shape the furnace is in. "If the furnace looks clean, it looks newer," says Gould. That goes for the fuse box and electrical panel too.
... A couple of planters on your front porch, a vase of flowers on your dining room table, even a simple rose in a bud vase can warm up a room. This is where you can let some of your creativity show through. "You want to get away form making rooms feel dull and sterile," says the home stager Gould. "Flowers and plants are good for that." Candles help too."
When selling your house, how can you engineer a bidding war? What are the secrets to finding buyers willing to pay more than the asking price?
Price it on the low side, real estate agents say. Show it aggressively and entertain offers on a specific day and time. Finally, invest a little money in making the house light and bright, clean and clutter-free.
That's the strategy followed by a young couple who had 16 offers for their semi-detached Toronto house in midtown Toronto. They sold it for $512,000, more than 20 per cent above the asking price of $419,000, after paying $307,500 less than five years ago. . . .
Real estate agents stress the importance of "staging" or "fluffing" a house, a process designed to hide flaws and help persuade buyers to fantasize living there.
"You have to get rid of superfluous stuff," says Debra Gould, an interior designer in Toronto who offers house fluffing tips at her Website, SixElements.com.
"If your closets are full, people will pick up on it. Often they're moving because they've run out of space. If your closets are half-full, they'll imagine lots of space for themselves."
"The little repairs need to be done," Gould says. "Many people say, `It's not a big deal. The new owners can do it.' But if you do the work, potential buyers won't be distracted by the cracks in the walls." . . .
The Globe & Mail -
"When a house is not a home, it can be a money-maker," by Gabrielle Bauer
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail:
. . . Debra Gould used this strategy to advantage when she bought a home in Montreal in May, 2002, and resold it three months later at a $30,000 profit. The president of Six Elements Inc., a Toronto firm specializing in home staging or "fluffing," Ms. Gould used her decorating talents to polish the home's appearance before selling it.
To her clients interested in the "flipping" scene, Ms. Gould advises: "Buying a structurally sound but ugly house in a great location, and preferably one that needs lots of minor repairs and cosmetic changes like removing old carpets, wallpaper and lighting. These changes can make a huge difference to the perceived value of a property, often at minimal cost.". . .
CBC National News -
TV interview on the impact of interest rates on real estate sales
Debra Gould interviewed on the CBC National News discussing the role of falling interest rates on demand for resale housing.
MoneySense Magazine - "Selling Up: A home stager can help you get top dollar," by Gabrielle Bauer
If you're looking to score on the real estate market, your best investment may not be a house or condo, but an hour with Debra Gould. Through her company, Six Elements Inc., she dispenses design advice to people who want their property to sell faster and for more money.
The results can be stunning. One week after implementing Gould's suggestions, a Toronto couple sold their house for $12,000 over the original asking price of $349,000. Gould's hourly consulting fee "was the best $125 they ever spent," says Cristina van Blommestein, the couple's real estate agent.
Then there's the magic Gould worked on her own home in Montreal last year. To prep the place for buyers, she spent $2,000 on new lighting and fresh paint, and also strategically rearranged the furniture. Then came the payoff: her house sold for $30,000 more than she had bought it for just three months earlier in a virtually identical real estate market.
With reports like these spreading through the real estate industry, it's no surprise that a growing number of home sellers are hiring consultants like Gould. Known officially as "home stagers" (you may have heard the more colorful term "fluffers"), these professionals maximize your home's appeal and value to prospective buyers.
Home staging isn't just about boosting your selling price; it can be a big help if you need to sell your house in a hurry. "The prospect of dealing with showings and open houses for weeks was horrifying to us," says Louise Summerhill, the mother of two young children and a full-time lawyer whose husband is in the same profession. "We wanted a quick sale," she says, so they hired Gould, who put superfluous items into storage, had the carpets cleaned, moved furniture around in the house, and shopped for new bathroom towels and other accessories they could use again in their new home. She also purchased and arranged flowers for showings and did "dozens of other things that made the house look planned and designed," Summerhill recalls. The total bill: $5,500. Result: their home sold on the first day of offer-taking.
Looking back, Summerhill muses that "a lot of people would resist staging because it does require you to depersonalize. But it helped us to think that we had bought a new home and were now just custodians of our old house. Our object was to sell quickly, and that we certainly accomplished."
Woman's Day Specials Walls, Windows & Floors - "At Home with Debra Gould"
6 Page Spread
Written by: Bernadette Baczynski
Photos by: Robin Stubbert
Styling by: Debra Gould
"At Home with Debra Gould: a Toronto designer and artist infuses her home with her own colorful graphics"
Several years ago, Debra Gould took her own best advice: "I believe we all have a real desire to express ourselves," she says. "And what better place to start than in our own homes."
Debra, who had been a successful marketing consultant for 15 years, was feeling creatively constrained. So, she took a year's sabbatical and moved to a remote island in Canada. There, she decided to use her business degree and arts training to turn her passion for color and design into a thriving Toronto-based business, Six Elements.
When she returned to Toronto, Debra, always keeping an eye out for a challenging fixer-upper, looked for "the ugliest house in the best location." Happily, she found it. "Structurally, it's great," she says. "It was just tired, dark and in need of help."
Of all the houses she's lived in this is her sixth in 12 years Debra says this semi detached, 1930s-era house best reflects her personality. "As soon as you come to the front door, you know it's not an overly serious place," she adds. The tiny foyer leads to a narrow stairway, which Debra stamped, stenciled and painted two shades of chartreuse.
Since the house was basically sound, Debra opted for inexpensive, cosmetic updates...
HGTV - Studio Interview and Tour of Debra Gould's home
"Creative Spirit," by Sue Warden
Debra Gould's home is featured on HGTV along with an in-studio interview on why Debra gave up a lucrative career consulting to Fortune 500 companies to pursue her passion, and live the life of a designer.
Boulevard Magazine - Cover Story
"Art with a Mission: Functional Pieces with Plenty of Flair," by Maureen Licata
"... We're surrounded by functional objects, usually mass produced and not necessarily fun or interesting to look at," says designer Debra Gould. "By introducing a few handcrafted items into our homes, we create a unique environment and bring our rooms to life. An environment should have elements that hit a person on an emotional level."
...As color conscious as Matisse, Gould "coordinates but doesn't match" her clients' interior tones. "I'm passionate about color and it's the starting point for all my work," she says. "The clients and I develop a palette and the design flows from there."
National Post -
"Use winter to spruce up your home for spring market," by Sandra Martin
Story by Sandra Martin
For homeowners with itchy feet, the next few months will be a real bummer. That's because real estate sales drop off in November, and stay subdued until spring. But while a wise course of action would be to hold off listing your home until the market picks up again, you needn't feel paralyzed in the meantime.
Instead, the real estate service ForSaleByOwner.com suggests using the winter months to make improvements that will boost the selling price of your home -- and also help it sell more quickly. Studies by ReMax suggest that if you do nothing else, you should get a bit of planting. The national realty chain has found the return on landscaping is 7% better than for any other home improvement.
ForSaleByOwner also recommends touching up any bedraggled aspects of your home's exterior. Similarly, de-cluttering rooms and cleaning closets will make your home more appealing, and all it costs is a little time and elbow grease.
Trouble is, for many of us time is in short supply and, left to our own devices we could leave all those little improvements undone. That's where a home stager, such as Debra Gould of Toronto's Six Elements, can help. For $1,000 and up, she'll come to your home, assess what needs to be done for maximum impact, then make it happen. "You're trying to create a situation where potential buyers will fall in love with the home," she says.
Depending on the neighborhood and what type of buyer might be drawn to it, Ms. Gould will rent furniture and buy a few accessories to create the illusion that someone like them already lives there. For example, when a childless couple in Toronto's family-crazy Riverdale area hired her, she transformed two of their five bedrooms into kids' sanctuaries.
In a few cases, the value of a stager's service is the time and money it saves you in renovations left undone. "If it's a tear-down type of situation, there's no point [in doing renovations]," Ms. Gould says, "because who really cares what color the kitchen is?"
Beach Metro News -
"Eye on Business" by Bill MacLean
"Maybe it's my MBA training," says Debra Gould, "but I really take a bottom line approach to decorating a home, especially if it's with an eye to resale." Gould is a professional 'house fluffer,' one of those people who can come into your home and provide you with a 'laundry list' of things that can be done to spruce your home up when you decide to put it on the market.
Her company, Six Elements Inc. provides color consulting services tailored to her clients' budget and do-it-yourself experience. In this hot Beach real estate market, she could be the person who could help garner top dollar for your home and in a hurry. "My guiding principle in any house fluffing project is determining which efforts will make the most significant difference in the actual sale of the home."
Gould, herself, just returned to the Beach area from a four-year creative exile. "Sometimes you need to get away for awhile to really appreciate what you've left behind," she said. Call Debra at 416-691-6615, or visit either of her two web sites at www.sixelements.com, or www.debragould.com and take advantage of her return to the Beach.
"Sue Warden Craftscapes"
Debra Gould made her TV debut on Sue Warden Craftscapes, in November 2002, with an 8 minute segment demonstrating how to make one of her handpainted treasure boxes.
2 The Magazine for Couples -
"Buy Me!" by David Leach
Excerpt from 2 Magazine:
"Home Stager Debra Gould, president of Toronto-based Six Elements gives insider house fluffing tips:
• Boost 'curb appeal' with landscaping, potted plants, painting the porch or just mowing the lawn.
• Wonky cabinets, loose tiles, damaged caulking, dripping taps fix them all! 'These repairs make people feel the house has been well cared for,' says Gould.
• Get rid of all your junk or rent a storage locker. Buyers who find clutter in the closets will think the house lacks space.
• Small touches count, so leave fresh flowers, quiet music and all the lights on before showings. 'People shop with logic, but buy on emotion,' explains Gould.
• Bring in a professional house fluffer if your impatient agent is recommending a price cut. 'At minimum, house fluffing should make a $10,000 * difference, so it's worth it,' she says."
Montreal Families -
"Selling Your Home? Set the Stage for a Quick Sale" by Kathy Sena
Excerpt from Montreal Families:
To decorate to sell, Debra Gould of Six Elements, removed excess furniture and clutter. She changed the art and accessories and had the walls repainted. This enabled the architectural features of this N.D.G. duplex to stand out instead of being an added distraction. The house sold within days for $30,0000 above agent's estimated selling price.
Style at Home -
"Shopping News" by Laura Byrne Paquet
Excerpt from Style at Home Magazine:
"... you can buy unique products made by Canadian artisans... Check out the quirky 'treasure chests' decorated with an animal-print pattern by Debra Gould."