After years of making a house a home it becomes full of memories and emotions — not to mention stuff — which are not the features buyers are interested in when a homeowner decides to put the property on the market.
As home buyers have become more savvy with regard to what they can get for their money, staging has increased in popularity, helping homeowners to not only sell their home quickly but also to get top dollar.
"Because homeowners are attached to their homes there is so much emotion attached to it," said Tracey Jones, owner of Victoria's ReMarkable ReDesign Styling and Staging.
"We come in as fresh eyes. We're not attached to a homeowners' belongings. Homeowners become blind to their own surroundings."
Jones began her business in 2007 after completing a staging course, which combined well with her design background.
Even six years ago, Jones noticed not many homeowners knew the benefits of staging.
"On the West Coast the trend towards staging has been a bit slower, but because of all the HGTV programs, people see what we do and are starting to understand it," said Jones. "Now pretty much everyone knows what it is, whether they believe in it or not."
According to Jones staging can include everything from rearranging furniture, painting or decluttering.
Using stagers to prepare a house for sale can begin at the driveway, said Dianne Usher, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board.
"It's just as important to have the gardens right and to make sure the Halloween decorations aren't up at Christmas time," said Usher. "You have to make sure the house looks good and lived in from the curb."
Like Jones, Usher said one of the most important jobs of stagers is to depersonalize a house. While homeowners may have spent many years making their home suit their personality, Usher said a buyer doesn't want to feel as if they are walking into someone else's home.
"Homeowners need to take down their photographs, degrees and awards, and you want to have a property that almost doesn't have a personality," she said.
"It will make it easier for buyers to come in and envision their own personality. If it feels like you are walking into someone else's home, then psychologically there is a barrier there."
Investing in staging may seem unnecessary, but Usher said it only benefits the sale of the house positively.
"From the buyer's perspective they might have the opportunity to buy the home when they might have passed it by otherwise," she said. "In addition, it also helps properties sell faster when they have been staged." Jones also said because buyers don't have to put in a lot of work with a staged home, homeowners can ask a higher price for their home.
"If everything is in perfect shape or great shape with all the repairs done and a fresh coat of paint, you can ask for that higher dollar," said Jones.
"If you do the work ahead of time, in return a homeowner will see higher offers."