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Why use a home staging professional?

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Not being entirely certain of what the difference is between interior designer and home staging professionals, I set out to uncover the distinctions.

Barbara Gudmundson, owner of Property Styling by Dragonfly Designs, helped me unravel the mystery. Interior designers could do home staging but their course of studies is more intensive. Think of interior designers in terms of them being able to move walls, literally. Their knowledge of construction is extensive and they will work with building blueprints.   

There is also a designation called "interior decorator." An example of interior decoration could be a total kitchen redesign not involving structural changes. They won’t blow out a wall but they will work with the existing skeleton of the kitchen.

Staging a home, meanwhile, is focused on floor plans and functionality of the space. Work will be done with existing spaces to enhance them.

Gudmundson explains further that a home staging professional will "make a home more neutral so that prospective buyers can picture themselves in the new space with their stuff. Too much furniture can cramp a space, preventing people from picturing themselves in it."   

"Use furniture placement to create separate areas in an open space without closing out the room," Gudmundson says.

That sounds easy but is it?

I once owned an extremely large, long and very high sectional sofa that took over the room.
Gudmundson says "if your favourite couch is so big no one sees anything else in the room, they could think the room is small when it might not be if the furniture was more appropriately sized to the space."

Even family pictures can be distracting to prospective buyers.

Gudmundson says that sometimes a home stager will recommend that homeowners rent a storage pod prior to listing their properties.

The emphasis is on decluttering. Are there so many small appliances on your kitchen countertop that you can’t really see the cabinets and the backsplash?  

Once homeowners items are removed, Gudmundson will shop, rent furniture and enhance the space with appropriate decorative items.

It doesn’t stop inside.

Gudmundson says curb appeal is reviewed.

"Is your door visible or obstructed by shrubs that need trimming? Does the trim on your house need painting? Is the sidewalk or patio level and walkable?"

Local realtor Jocelyn Heinrichs, of Maximum Realty, confirms that"staging your home can set your listing apart from the others, often resulting in a quicker sale. Staging a home can also make way for lifestyle spaces that are better in sync with how people live today."

Gudmundson sums it up succinctly: "Home staging is not decorating your home. Home staging is marketing your home. When that buyer walks into your house, I want that first impression to be, ‘Yeah, I could live here!’"

Valerie Chatain-White is a community correspondent for Headingley. You can contact her at valerie@thenext30years.com

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