Vacant Condo Not Staged – NO SALE; Vacant Condo Staged – SALE!

PRES Stager Tamara MacDonald of TWEAK Home Staging had the opportunity to stage a vacant condo that had been on the market for a month with no offers and guess what? You guessed it – Tweak staged it and within a week of staging, the seller received two offers – buyers were NOW showing interest!

Yet the story goes on…

However, neither offer was at a price the seller was willing to accept. As the seller was quite determined to receive a certain price for the condo, they had made up their mind to rent the condo if it didn’t sell at the end of the second month. Well as it turned out, in the final week, they received two offers and a bidding war was on! Only 4 weeks after staging, the seller ended up selling for a price they were very happy with!

Tweak LR After

Often sellers are torn between renting a property or selling a property, and it is important to realize that even if this condo had not sold, the seller was in a much better position to ask for a higher rent by having it staged so it showed beautifully!

Tweak DR After

Why Staging Works to Attract Renters
In fact the seller was already searching for a suitable renter (just in case!), and everyone who viewed the condo wanted to know if she would rent it furnished! What a great compliment! FYI – Tweak’s home staging inventory is always available for sale if a buyer is interested.

Small Patio After

Want to buy the staging furniture? You can!
If you are considering selling your property or renting your investment property, give a PRES home stager a call and if you live on the North Shore give Tweak Home Staging a call!

Announcing new PRES Staging Trainer – Colleen McClure!

Super excited to introduce Colleen McClure of Colleen McClure Designs who is the new PRES Staging & Redesign Trainer! Colleen is a successful interior decorator and a Certified PRES Staging & Redesign Professional. She is super excited with traveling across Canada with the PRES Staging & Redesign training programs.

Read more about Colleen…Colleen McClure

Currently Colleen McClure is known as the Blind Lady for Budget Blinds in Campbell River, Courtenay and Comox. Over the years she has honed her skills in learning as much as she can about window coverings and took a specialized course in California to learn the latest trends. She is experienced in all window fashion treatments and blinds bringing everything to your home for a seamless decision making process.

Colleen is a Certified Professional Real Estate Stager (PRES®) and is known in the industry as the ‘Making it Easy for You’ gal. Colleen started her interior decorating career in 1997 and she has continued to dazzle and amaze her clients at how easy she makes the entire decision process whether it’s for one room or an entire home. She is absolutely passionate about the colour choices that she helps her clients make. Colleen believes that colour can make or break an entire look of a room and she is a professionally trained colour expert with Maria Killam as a ‘True Certified Color Expert’.

Clients praise Colleen for her ability to mix styles, textures and finishes which keep her designs personal, thoughtful and fresh. She has an appreciation for all styles and the need to reflect each client’s personal space, lifestyle, and character. Clients appreciate her open, easy and accommodating nature plus her expertise in pulling various design elements together to create a unique and inviting space for living or selling.

Colleen will be part of the April Certified PRES Staging & Redesign training program and is super excited to be doing something that she absolutely loves. She is in the process up updating all her social media sites and getting the word out there about adding home staging training to her business model!

Some fabulous Victoria BC home staging statistics!

Valerie Westra owner of At First Sight Staging in Victoria BC runs a very successful home staging business and she has the statistics to prove it! I had the pleasure of being Valerie’s coach and mentor last year and I love to keep in touch and watch her continue to grow and expand her business!

Valerie is part of a great collaborative home stagers and interior stylists group that are members of Josee LaLonde’s The Housse. I’ve had the pleasure of doing several home staging business workshops at The Housse and always enjoy this great group of talented women. The Housse was conceived to address the needs for a centralized resource to serve the unique problems facing the Vancouver Island home staging and design community. They provide a full-service rental inventory to their members and promote the value and importance of home staging through the education of home owners, realtors and developers.

Victoria Stagers & Stylists Certificate of Completion Marketing Course

Victoria Stagers & Stylists Certificate of Completion Marketing Course


Here is the latest 2013 statistics collected by The Housse, Victoria’s only resource center for Home Stagers and Interior Stylists. Based on 44 properties staged by Victoria’s Home Stagers, members of The Housse (including At First Sight Home Staging Solutions): 70.7% of the properties sold in an average of 3.8 weeks for an average cost of staging to the seller of $2100.

7 properties (out of the 44) staged by At First Sight this year which were listed prior to staging. They were on the market for an average of 17 weeks and did not sell. After staging, they sold at an average of 3.2 weeks!!!

According to VREB (Victoria Real Estate Board) data 85-88% of all monthly listings do not sell. The home staging statistics speak for themselves. At First Sight Home Staging brings great value and results to the sellers and real estate agents.

CONGRATS TO ALL THE VICTORIA STAGERS! And special thanks to Josee LaLonde of The Housse for getting these statistics from your members to share!

PRES Featured Stager Sally Weatherley of Exit Stage Right!


Exit Stage Right, owned and operated by Sally Weatherley is a North Shore, BC based full-service home staging company. Sally and her team love working close to home, and focus on North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, downtown Vancouver, and the Westside.They enjoy a green side to our company, and try to keep our footpath fairly local.

Exit Stage Right works with homeowners and their Realtor® partners in preparing their homes for sale, in order to appeal to home buyers. Although they aim to dress a home to appeal to a broad range of buyers, they like to refer to themselves as “sniper stagers”. They research specific areas and create a profile of the most likely home buyer. People often buy a home with their emotions, and Exit Stage Right is happy to set a scene that will tug at a buyer’s heartstrings.

Almost all buyers want to walk into a home that has an attractive updated modern look. That’s why they have a full range of one-stop shopping inventory from cups and saucers to living room sofas and chairs. Their furniture is modern and guaranteed to update the look of their seller’s home whether they need to stage all of the home with rentals, or only need a few enhancements.


Sally was contacted by a Realtor® to help his client sell this 2-bedroom property in East Vancouver. The client is an investor who had been renting out this unit, but had now decided to sell. The challenge was that the unit looked tired. It was also not terribly clean. The Realtor® organized for cleaners to come in and make the condo spic and span. He also had all new blinds installed. However, the owner could not be convinced to put any more money in for renovations; hence, the peach coloured countertop in the bathrooms remained!

Another challenge was that the unit is located right next door to the Skytrain. Also, it was very dark, with not a lot of natural light coming in. As a vacant space, nothing distinguished this unit from all the other beige boxes in the same price range for sale.


Unattractive Vacant Living Room

Unattractive Vacant Living Room


The key to really giving this unit a lift was to create a bright, sunny, welcoming space. They used yellow accents to bring the sunshine in. Adding a lot of lighting helped illuminate the space. Bright, bold, colourful artwork, cushions and accessories really helped add some pizzazz to an otherwise somewhat unremarkable condo.

Exit Stage Right wanted to create a young, funky vibe, as the prospective buyer would no doubt be on the younger side. They believed this unit would attract someone who would like to afford downtown Vancouver, but only have the budget for East Vancouver. Adding more modern furnishing you’d find in a downtown condo to this unit would definitely speak to the wants of the potential buyer.


Bright, trendy and looks like move-in ready!

Bright, trendy and looks like move-in ready!

The seller and the Realtor® were very happy with the end result!

“Why did this staging job take so long?” ask the home seller?

I recently took a ‘quick’ staging job for a seller whose property had been on the market for about 5 months. She had already reduced the price from $2.788 million to $2.488 million. She asked me to come and take a look at it which I did do but before I went to her home I looked on the MLS listing to see what it looked like from the photos. Not bad really…lacked some personality but a bit of tweaking should do the trick.

After the consultation I went shopping for her at $150/hour (I don’t change my rate for shopping). Her biggest weak area was the master bedroom so we purchased some new bedding, faux fur throws, 2 slipper chairs, a gorgeous area rug from Country Furniture, table lamps from Villa Beau, cushions, towels, shower curtain and florals for her. She was ecstatic with all of my choices and we set a date to do the ‘tweaking staging’.

I brought my team in, Tamara MacDonald of Tweak Designs and Lesley Arnould of Embellished Interiors to assist me as I had another client I had to go and see right after this staging. If we didn’t finish then Lesley and Tamara could finish up.

The seller left for the afternoon and came back about 3 hours later. I thought we would be finished by then but there were a few things that held us up. We had to assemble a table, some lamps and iron all the bedding. The bedskirt didn’t quite fit so we had to fiddle with pinning it to make it look right. Thankfully this was not an IKEA table because as soon as I see an IKEA box, I groan. It’s never simple and I end up feeling incompetent because it takes way, way longer than I expect!

Putting together bedside table takes time…

We also had to get rid of more of her belongings that we were not using by putting it into the garage. No small feat since the garage was packed floor-to-ceiling already. This is quite typical of sellers and it’s best to recommend they have an off-site storage locker. It didn’t turn out to the ‘quick’ staging job as I thought but it was interesting!

The work we did vastly improved the look of the home and her master bedroom is gorgeous. The chairs hadn’t arrived from Jordan’s Furniture yet, so I didn’t take any photos. I will once they arrive so stay tuned. She has an offer as I type this post!

Meetup City Stagers December 11 Holiday Event with Ellie Hanson

One of the things I love about being in the real estate industry is all the different Meetup groups that are available. As a home stager we meet up regularly in the Greater Vancouver Area and call ourselves the ‘City Stagers Meetup’. We also have real estate investment meetups, builders and contractors meetups, women in business meetups and many others. I know you are likely to find many Meetups in your area that work for you. You can make great connections, rant and rave (if you need to), listen to industry-related speakers to know more about what they do so you can refer them, and overall feel that you are part of something bigger than your own small business!

On December 11th,, Ellie Hanson of NexTrendDesign is hosting the City Stagers event -with a twist! Ellie is offering a staging tour and some appies back at her home. You can tour 2 of her staged homes featuring her own original art.

Ellie Hanson florals

Ellie Hanson staged property

We’ll meet at 7 pm at the first staged home in Langley and then on to Morgan Creek/Surrey. Then we’ll gather at her home (Surrey) to enjoy the lights from our 5 Christmas trees and indulge in hot mulled cider and yummy appies and desserts. If everyone brings a plate of goodies to share, we’ll have a delectable variety of foods to sample.

For more information contact Ellie Hanson of NexTrend Design to RSVP.

School Trade Show Brings Great ROI for Cheri Dardano!

Always say YES to a ‘FREE or Almost Free’ marketing opportunity no matter how insignificant it might seem! I was coaching one of the PRES graduates Cheri Dardano of Chez Cheri and she mentioned that she had an opportunity to do participate in her daughter’s school trade show.  She didn’t know if she should do it or not and asked me what I thought. Needless to say I said “YES” great idea, tell me about it. She said it could be either out on the school football field if it was still a nice day or inside the gym if the weather wasn’t good. I was hoping that it would be inside as I felt she would have a little bit more captive audience there. Well it was in the gym and it only cost $20 for 4 hours of talking to parents and students who came by her little booth.

Part of the reason that this was a great opportunity is that Cheri had a chance to let the parents and other people know what she was now doing in her life. You see Cheri been a teacher (not at this school) and now she is a professional home stager and stylist. This was a great way for you to transition their thinking into the new Chez Cheri!

The best news of all – It went really well. She had one realtor in Vancouver encourage her to send in her  contact information to him, as well as a few parents (5) and teachers (3) who were very interested in getting her advice about furniture placements, colours, etc. Also two contracts for sewing cushions. And one contact for the lottery prize homes. So 10 potential jobs, and she had a lot of “Wow! Good for you. I didn’t know you did that!”


Cheri Dardano of Chez Cheri - mini trade show brings great ROI!!!

Please excuse the bragging…my 1st royalty check just arrived!

I know in Canada we are very ‘polite’ and don’t like to brag but I am so excited because I just received my first ever royalty cheque from my recently published book: Start & Run a Home Staging Business with Self-Counsel Press.

It was an amazing experience to sign the contract, submit my first drafts of my first few chapters, get the okay to keep going, and then to finally finish my writing of the book. The book was edited a few times and I am happy with the final printed copy. When it came out and I saw it in book stores, it was quite surreal. This for me, is a dream come true.

I know I have other books in me but some of them will be of an entirely different nature. But for now this is a fantastic feeling. Most printed books will be turned into eBooks and this book will be no exception. I have 3 other eBooks on DIY Home Staging, Creating Curb Appeal that Sells! and Trade Secrets to Hanging Art Like a PRO! They are great content and if a home owner does what it says to do in the ebooks, they can create a home that prospective buyers can’t live without!

I’m currently working on my new PRES Home Staging Home Study kit which will be available in the fall worldwide. How fantastic is that!

Not that this is the academy awards or anything like that, but again I want to thank all of my teachers and all of my amazing students who have helped me on my journey in the world of home staging.

Want to know how to paint kitchen cupboards like a pro?

Since we know kitchens are such an important room in the home for selling, updating the kitchen is critical to the sale of the home. We know that renovations can cost a fortune…and at times it makes sense only to do some home improvements rather than renovations. Clients sometimes decide that after all that investing they would rather stay and enjoy their new renos!

For home improvements I usually recommend at the least changing the hardware. You really need to know what you are doing when you paint cabinets as you will see in the video. Putting in linoleum flooring is a good investment as is painting the kitchen. Replacing the sink and/or faucet can be a necessary improvement. Counter tops are not hugely expensive and there are lots of options out there that look great from home hardware stores.

This kitchen needs some home improvements which to me should include painting the cupboards and changing the hardware. As stagers though we know that many clients run out of time, money and energy. If clients really can’t do the home improvements then at the least clear the clutter and put a nice bowl of appetizing fruit on the counter to add some colour!

Click on this link to watch an absolutely fabulous You Tube video of HOW TO PAINT KITCHEN CABINETS. It is about 5 minutes long but well worth watching if you or your client is contemplating painting the cabinets. Louise Henry of Pair Home Design and a PRES member found this on You Tube and even though she is fantastic at this type of work, she said this video is really, really excellent.

New PRES Graduate, Lisa Mackie, is a STAR!!!

The PRES students had transformed most of Gill’s home during their staging training course. However, we didn’t get to the master bedroom and the ensuite so Lisa Mackie of Footsteps Home Staging, went back and did the rest of the home with Gill! This is what Gill had to say about Lisa:

“Lisa looked at our master bedroom and en-suite bathroom and asked questions about various pieces of furniture and items in the rooms. She wanted to know how attached we were to them, if there was a particular item that had a special to us and checked with us that it was OK to move stuff around. We also talked about colour and what kind of atmosphere we’d like to create. Lisa made some notes as we chatted and from our conversation it was clear that we needed to go shopping!

It didn’t take much to persuade me to jump in the car and visit some home décor stores. Lisa and I shopped for items for the bedroom and bathroom and came back with new bedroom curtains, pillows, a throw for the bed, towels and various decorative items for both rooms. Our pre-makeover homework had been to purchase new bed linen which I had done. Shopping with Lisa was fun and also educational. She has a great eye for design and colour and how things will fit together in a way that is artistic yet practical. She is also considerate of her client’s budget.

We returned to the house and Lisa spent the next few hours transforming our bedroom from an area full of clutter and laundry baskets to a beautiful, tranquil, relaxing space. Our small, functional bathroom is now a small, functional, beautiful bathroom!

Throughout the day I really enjoyed Lisa’s sense of humour and we laughed a lot. She was extremely tactful with her comments and suggestions and I was impressed with her knowledge, professionalism and her creative vision. My husband and I are thrilled with the results of Lisa’s work and we are happy to recommend her services to our friends.

Thank you Lisa and we wish you every success in your business!

Gill, Coquitlam

Bedroom #1 - BEFORE

Bedroom #1 - AFTER

Bedroom #2 - BEFORE

Bedroom #2 - AFTER

Bedroom #3 - BEFORE

Bedroom #3 - AFTER

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