Tag Archives: Home Staging

3 Reasons Why it’s Hard to Sell a Vacant Property

Family Room After/Bradbury
Bradbury Family Room Staged

It’s a Fact!  Vacant homes take a much longer time to sell because:

  1. Buyers see it as a gamble and are not willing to risk their hard earned money on something they can’t envision…
  2. They don’t know how their furniture/stuff will fit in this empty space.
  3. They will notice the flaws and work to be done. They focus on the negatives.
Bradbury43 Family Room Before
Bradbury Family Room Before Staging

What home staging does:

  1. It puts the buyer’s mind at ease. With proper furniture placement, they understand how their own furniture may or may not fit the space.
  2. When fully staged, the house will feel like a ‘home’ to them.
  3. The WOW factor is undeniable! When they see how beautiful it can be, they are willing to make an offer, hoping to buy the house before someone else does.
    Besides, when a house is empty, what else is there to look at?

Staging a house will reduce its time on the market by upwards of 90%. Most homeowners prefer a quick sale. Home staging will draw the attention of the buyer through awesome online photos. In turn, the buyer will ask for a viewing. Satisfied, they will make an offer… often times, above the asking price!

Remember: less time on the market = more money in your pocket!

If you want to avoid the carrying cost of owning two properties.
If you want the largest return on investment.
If you understand the benefit of home staging and are motivated to sell.
Your answer is just an email or phone call away!

Visit our website:
Groovy Chick Redesign & Home Staging
Designed to sell… decorated to stay


5 Ways That Home Staging Makes Realtors Money

Realtor/Homeowner staged Living/Dining Room
Realtor staged, but unable to sell property

Dear Realtor,

Are your online listing photos magazine worthy?  Are they creating a stir with home buyers?  You may have hired a professional photographer to take the shots but if you or the homeowners have ‘staged’ the property yourselves, then would you consider it to be a professional looking job?  Chances are, and you may not even realize it, but… no.  A professional home stager will make the space look magazine worthy because she/he has that critical eye and knows what/how to adjust for the camera lens.  Home staging involves updating the artwork, décor items, and possible repositioning, removal, or replacement of furniture.  Today’s buyer isn’t interested in purchasing ‘Grandma’s house’ and that look will not bring traffic through the front door.  Question: How many adult children do you know who will take hand-me-down items from the family?  Answer: Very few.  Why?: Because it’s just not their style.

Online photos alone, as professional as they may be, will not attract today’s buyer.  This is the misguided premise of many a real estate agent… ‘I’ll just send my photographer over, and Bob’s your uncle’.  Uh… no.  If you want your listings to sell fast you will include, at the very least, a home staging consultation as part of your service.  You may even want to go further than that and pay for part, or all of the staging.  This will justify your commission upon the sale of the home.

Partnering with a home stager will:

  1.  Create a reputation as serious about getting top dollar for your clients
  2.  Show that you are the expert in today’s housing market
  3.  Bring you more clients when they see your staged listings
  4.  Produce quicker sales, allowing you to move to your next listing that much sooner
  5.  Increase your overall profit margin!

And who wouldn’t want all of the above to reflect on them?

Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging is looking to partner with this type of real estate agent.  Could it be you?

Styled to sell living/dining rooms
Groovy Chick styled property… SOLD!

– you have a future listing or one that currently isn’t selling in the Durham Region or in the (eastern) Greater Toronto Area,
– you don’t have or haven’t used a home stager before,
– you’re losing clients to realtors who do offer home staging,
then please give us a call at 905-683-9136.

We would like to help you be a standout realtor!

Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging
Our homes are… Designed to sell, decorated to stay!

Will IT Sell?

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 12.30.57 PM

While browsing through Realtor.ca, I come across this image.  What the???  There are no interior or exterior pictures.  Is this real estate agent serious about selling this… home… telephone pole… whatever it is?  What were the circumstances?  Was it posted by mistake, or as a joke?  I can’t imagine marketing my home to sell with something like this… can you?

A good real estate agent will want to cast the largest net in order to catch the most fish!  How they do that is with awesome pictures on MLS.  Showing an exterior picture with ‘Coming Soon’ on it will work for a little bit, but the actual listing pictures had better WOW the buyers.  People like pretty things and will move on to the next listing if they don’t feel emotionally drawn to a house through the online photos.  The best way to do that is to hire a professional photographer and, of course, a professional home stager!  Every good REA must include a home staging consultation with the sellers.  The more serious and successful agents will actually pay for all or part of the staging.

My analysis is this:
If the REA is the fisherman, trying to catch the most fish in a very big pond, then the online photos are the lure.  Fish will only go to what attracts them.  Hence, buyers will only want to visit homes that appeal to them visually… and we all know that you only get one chance to make a good first impression!

Anyway, I don’t know what eventually happened with the above property.  Did it sell?  Who knows?  Did anyone care to visit it?  I doubt it.  Why even show that kind of shot if a house isn’t ready for the market?  Am I right?

If you are a homeowner and want to sell your house, are perhaps shopping for another house, ask yourself: “Would I want my home to be represented as in the above photo?” or “Would I be interested in purchasing the property in the photo above?” Or would you want something like the photo below to represent your property or to want to see it in person?

If you are a real estate agent in the eastern GTA and would like to work with a proven home stager, please contact: Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging.
Our homes are designed to sell, decorated to stay!

For more info, please visit our website: https://www.groovychickdesign.com/

Viewing sofa through coffee table top
Vignette of coffee table to sofa view


Do-it-yourself Home Staging?

Master bedroom before staging
Homeowner staged master bedroom

Have you ever diagnosed your own ailments?  If you have, would you then represent yourself in court, prescribe yourself drugs, do a root canal, or massage therapy, etc. on yourself?  Of course you wouldn’t… you couldn’t.  You would go to the specialist in a particular field to make things better… right?

The same can be said for getting your home ready to sell.  You should be looking to a professional home stager who will show you the best way to ‘market’ your house (appeal to the majority of buyers) to sell quickly and for more money.  It could be as simple as a two hour consultation, or involve a partial (for an occupied house) or complete (for a vacant property) home staging .

You, as the homeowner, are too close to ‘your stuff’… whereas a home stager is not.  They will give you an honest third party opinion, and show you what does or doesn’t appeal to today’s buyers.  Don’t be afraid… a consultation is not an attack on you or your lifestyle but will open your eyes to the selling potential of the home.  The majority of today’s buyers are not interested in nor can they afford to make upgrades.  If a property looks tired, dated, or old it will not appeal to them.  They have to feel excited about it, want to see it again, and to purchase it.

Think of it this way… you are getting ready to go out on a date.  You shower, put on your best outfit (or go out and buy a new one), make sure that no hair is out of place, that you smell fresh and your teeth are clean.  You want to be asked to go on a second date, better yet… a commitment to the future.  See where this is going?

Now… you’re getting your house ready for the real estate market.  You’ll clean, paint, purge, declutter, depersonalize, and update the look.  You want your home to attract those buyers, to get them to purchase it and to offer much more money for it…right?  The bottom line is this, whatever negatives a buyer sees will be directly related to what kind of offer they will make.  If they believe the homeowner to be negligible, lazy, or out of touch, they will offer much less money.  Why?  Because they believe that they will have to spend a lot of money to get that desired look.  However, most first time buyers are cash poor.  They don’t have the extra funds to make those changes and will look elsewhere to find their perfect home.

Fact:  For every dollar that a homeowner invests in getting the house ready to sell will generate $3-5 in profit above asking price.

Example A:  House is listed for $800K, with $20K spent on improvements (including staging) and sells for $890K in two weeks time.  That’s a profit of $70K.

Example B:  Same house goes on the market with no upgrades or changes.  Furniture is old, carpeting is stained, paint colours are different in every room, kitchen is dated, etc.  It sits on the market with little or no interest.  Price is reduced by $20K but still no good offers.  Best offer is $70K below asking.  If the homeowner must sell, they take the offer.  If they don’t have to sell, they take it off the market and either make improvements and try it again or don’t bother.  If they take the low-ball offer, the homeowner will have lost $90K from the original list price.  That’s a difference of -$160Kouch!

If you live in the Toronto area, Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging can help you. Please give us a call at 905-683-9136 or email us at catherine@groovychickdesign.com
Our homes are designed to sell, decorated to stay!


After shot of staged master bedroom
Groovy Chick staged master bedroom

How a Home Stager can help you in a Divorce

The holiday season bills have come in causing financial stress. The lack of daylight hours, and the frigidly cold temperatures are getting to us. Depression may be setting in. Is it any wonder then that January is considered Divorce Month?


Here’s a scenario:
Your spouse has filed for divorce. You had no idea that there was a problem in your marriage. You feel shocked, hurt, angry, devastated, and afraid, as the lifetime partnership that you thought you had is now gone and you feel all alone. You go through the seven stages of grief: shock, numbness, disbelief, reality, alienation, reinvention, and finally… acceptance.

Once you’ve come to terms with what’s happening and are able to think a bit clearer, you may be speaking to a lawyer, a grief councillor, etc. but have you considered speaking with a home stager?

The reality is that divorcing couples will go their separate ways and that leaves the communal home in limbo. Most likely, one person will stay in the house but that may not work out as a single income could find it very difficult to carry the monthly expenses of a house and possibly, childcare costs.

Your house is the single largest financial investment that you’ll probably make in your lifetime. It’s where you put your heart and soul into decorating, entertaining, making memories… good and bad, happy and sad. A divorce is not the time to turn your back on this home and cast it out into the real estate market, while expecting to get top dollar for it. Buyers will realize soon enough that the homeowners are separated and will take advantage of it by offering lowball bids. Don’t let this happen to YOU!

Today’s homebuyers are looking for an emotional attachment to a home. They want to be WOW-ed. Divorcing couples generally have no interest in making the house feel warm and fuzzy for others. They just want out. Does this speak to you? Do you not want the highest possible return on your investment? You may realize that it will take some effort to showcase the home but your heart isn’t in it. Well, a home stager can do that for you. Your house will look warm and inviting. Homebuyers will get excited (as you once did) when they see your house and will offer you much more money for it than they would in its current condition. You and your spouse will leave with more money in your pockets to put towards new and brighter futures.

A home stager is a neutral third party who doesn’t know the homeowners and will not prejudge them or their home. What we have is the knowledge of the saleability of a house once seen and what improvements/extras are required to attract today’s buyers.
A home stager views a property through the buyer’s eyes. It begins with a consultation and, depending on the homeowners’ situation and mind-set, can evolve into a showcasing of the home. This is very important for web photos since over 95% of home buyers shop online.
Great photos = more buyer interest.
Poor photos = little or no interest, which will once again result in lower or no offers.

If you are considering a consultation with a compassionate home stager, please call:

Catherine of Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging at 905-683-9136 or visit our website: https://groovychickdesign.com

Please LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GroovyChickRedesignHomeStaging

We would love to hear from you and help you at this difficult time.

Sole Fan In The Stands

A Tale of 2 Vacancies

There once were two houses for sale.  It was spring, a time of year when the housing market is known to be red hot.  These two homes were located on the same street, in a quiet middle class neighbourhood, with all the amenities one could want.  Both were modest in size and sure to sell quickly!  Or would they?

House ‘A’ was put on the market in early spring… snow, still on the ground.  It sat and sat, and sat and sat.  No buyer interest.  It continued to sit for one month, two months, three.  Still no interest.

House ‘B’ went on the market in the spring, after the snows had melted, and sat.

Why were these houses not selling?  It was time for an investigation.  After searching online, I found both homes.  House ‘A’ was vacant, had a dated 80’s look, multi-colour painted rooms, wallpaper, etc.  It was on the market, then off, then on again.  House ‘B’ was also vacant, but it was newly renovated from top to bottom.  House ‘A’ now had to compete with a neighbour (House ‘B’) who was looking current and move-in ready.  House ‘A’ then dropped its’ asking price, and still didn’t sell.  House ‘A’ finally bit the bullet and renovated the inside and guess what?  It didn’t sell.  What?!  During the prime real estate selling season?  Why didn’t it sell??  Heck, why weren’t either of them selling?

Because my friends, people (buyers) need to see with their own eyes, and to imagine how a house could look with their furniture and stuff in it.  Staging a house helps the buyers to see what their lives would be like in this home.  A house is the biggest purchase of one’s life and buyers will be very reluctant to gamble their hard earned money on an empty house!

… back to my research.

House ‘A’ listed at just under $600K, came off the market, spent money on renovations, re-listed at $590K, and after a total of 110 days on market (not including the days in between) finally sold (in July) for $585,500.  That’s $14,400 less than the original asking price… and don’t forget the cost of renovations!  It went back on the market… empty again, asking $619,900, and guess what?  It’s now up for lease!

House ‘B’ took 32 days to sell, was listed for $615K and sold at the end of June for $590K. That’s a difference of -$25,000.

The bottom line is this:
The cost to stage a home is less than that of the first price reduction.  A clearer explanation of the cost of staging versus not, is in the following link:
Just click or copy the above link and visit my contact page on Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging website.  The RESA statistics say it all.

Don’t feel alone and unwanted like the fan in the stands.
Remember: Stage First, Sell Fast!


Numbers and Statistics


 Here are some interesting home staging statistics that most people do not know…

8   The number of seconds that it takes to make a first impression (good or bad)

Attracting buyers with great online photos and marketing is so important as you only get one chance to make a good first impression! We live in fast times. We want everything now. We expect perfection. If we don’t like what we see, we move on to the next. Perfect magazine-type photos entice buyers to visit a home. Those that aren’t, won’t.

21   The number of days on the market that you want to avoid

The house that is on the Toronto area market for three weeks or more will be deemed as having something wrong with it. Newer listings will take precedence over the older ones, pushing them down in the rankings. A listed home should be memorable, attractive, and entice online shoppers to look no further!

1/2   The percentage of asking price that you should expect to spend on staging a vacant home

Prices vary as every house is different, but the average cost to stage a home should run between 1/2% for a basic job to 1% for the WOW-factor. Occupied homes will obviously cost you less.

5   The minimal number of rooms recommended for staging a vacant home

Vacant rooms don’t sell houses while well decorated and furnished rooms do. This is why builders have model homes for buyers to walk through. Given a choice, the ones with only floor plans will not sell vs. those with actual furnished models. Why? Because nine out of ten buyers cannot visualize how their furniture will fit in an empty space, let alone on a floor plan. This is where home staging comes in, by showing them how best to layout furniture and by wowing them with the décor. The more staged rooms that a home has, the better the buyers can picture themselves living in it.

90   The percentage of less time on the market that a staged home spends, compared to a home that is not staged

Homes that are perfectly styled to sell will set the standard for the local market. All other homes will be judged accordingly. Offers will be reflected based on where a home stands in the buyer’s mind.

2   The average number of hours that Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging will spend with you during a consultation

We will start at the curb, work our way through the house, room by room, and into the back yard, all the while making recommendations on what attracts today’s home buyer. By following all of these recommendations, sellers should see their property sell quickly and for much more money. Partial follow-throughs won’t be nearly as lucrative as complete ones.

100   The percentage of satisfied Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging customers

Homeowners often wonder why they hadn’t done it sooner after seeing the end result. You don’t have to wait to sell, in order to fall in love with your home once again. Call us. We would be happy to help you redecorate, or redesign your space. Your family and friends will be impressed.

To get a better understanding of the statistics for staging first and selling fast, please visit our website:  https://www.groovychickdesign.com/home


3 Senses that will Affect the Sale of Your Home

We are emotional creatures and make purchases based on emotion.  Buying a home is no different.  We are ruled by our senses and the 3 senses that can make or break a deal are:

  1. Sight.  We like pretty things.  We like to imagine ourselves living in a home that is current, trendy, clean, and move in ready!  We don’t like to see clutter, personal ‘stuff’, too many colours, a mish-mash of furniture, patterns, etc.  It must ‘look’ inviting and not offend our sense of sight.multiple outdoor wires
  2. Smell.  We like pleasant smells.  They take us back to a special time, place, memory. Smell brings up those old emotions.  Anything foreign or unpleasant smelling will offend our sense of smell.
    ashtray full of cigarettes
  3. Sound.   We like calm when we come home from a hard day’s work.  We like to read a good book, listen to music, meditate, play with the kids, enjoy our space.  That is all taken away from us when we hear loud noises, sudden sounds, constant droning.  It offends our sense of hearing.
    overhead shot of plane
    These 3 senses rule our emotions.  If a buyer’s senses feel in any way ‘offended’, they will not make an offer on a home.  However, not all homes are ideally situated on a cul-de-sac or back onto a greenbelt.  Some homes are in close proximity to highways, airports, train tracks, manufacturing plants, and the like.  These homes need some help to lessen the negatives and to show off some positive features.  A staging professional will help to attract potential buyers and make them feel welcome!  Now, you may not live near any of these unsightly places but we are creatures of habit and what we accept, or overlook as part of our home may be a big ‘miss’ to potential buyers.  We may not even realize for example, that our cooking or pet smells are a turn-off to others.  Family and friends may be too timid to tell you so.  Something may have bothered us initially about our home, but we got used to seeing it, paid less attention to it, and eventually didn’t even notice it.  We forgot that it bothered us in the first place, and that old feeling of yours will be your buyer’s own first impression. A third party will tell you the truth and help you to circumvent those problem areas.  The staging professional will know what will get those buyers in through your doors and want to buy your home.

    Let Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging help you!

cartoon man missed the boat

Missed the Boat? Now What?

The spring market was crazy HOT in Toronto and the GTA.  Believe it or not, houses in this area sold for ($100,000 – $400,000+) way, way OVER asking!  The real estate market was nuts!!  The average house in Toronto was valued at over a million dollars and we in the suburbs experienced a ripple effect.

Houses sold unconditionally… without inspection, without staging… cars parked down the streets, people lined up outside of homes… C R A Z Y !!  It reminded me of the mid-1980s when house-flippers drove prices into the stratosphere.

First time home buyers were constantly out-bid on properties… and if they were lucky enough to buy one,  I’m hearing now that many are walking away from those properties because:
1. they can’t afford to bring them up to code (per after-purchase home inspection)
2. having been pre-approved for a mortgage, they got into a bidding war and no longer qualify for a mortgage based on the current market value
3. due to becoming cash poor, they’re unable to turn it into their ‘dream’ home

These buyers would sooner walk away from a $100,000 downpayment and pay a fine than to be stuck with a money pit.  This has caused problems for the sellers who purchased another home.  I see potential lawsuits.  I’ve also seen properties with ‘For Lease’ or ‘For Rent’ signs as a result of buyers walking away.  What a nightmare!

On April 21st, a law was passed to deter foriegn investers from speculating and driving house prices up in Ontario (specifically Toronto and the GTA).  Now, the market is settling down, prices are closer to where they should be and yet, sellers still think that they can ride the gravy train… by not investing in home staging.  The pendulum is swinging the other way folks!  Where you once got away with selling your properties ‘as is’ and received well over asking for them, you may now be getting ‘low-ball’ offers.  Remember… buyers expect to be WOW-ed and if your home’s current condition doesn’t do that, it will be reflected in their offer!

A simple consultation may be all you need to get your home ready for the market.
Let Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging help you get there and to set sail!


2nd Bedroom After W

Why Hire a Professional Home Stager?

There are lots of simple things homeowners can do on their own to decorate their homes to sell. They can get rid of clutter, repaint, clean or put out fresh flowers. So why hire a home stager?

Many homeowners are unsure of what paint colors to choose or where to move the clutter. The process of selling a home can be completely overwhelming. They often lack real estate knowledge about their local markets and how homes in their price range should look.

A home stager has the ability to look at a home with a fresh pair of eyes. They view the home as a highly critical buyer would see it. Home staging expert Debra Gould provides five examples of how a professional home stager can benefit you:

1.    A home stager knows what’s needed to create the right environment quickly and at the lowest cost.

2.    A home stager knows what homes in different price ranges look like and what’s selling. They will give homeowners suggestions that their real estate agent may be afraid to offer because the agent does not want to risk losing the listing.

3.    A home stager is not emotionally attached to any of the home’s contents, which means that they can see the home in a way that someone who has been living there for years simply cannot. Using their fresh vision, they recommend the optimal way to rearrange existing furniture, art and accessories.

4.    A home stager can quickly choose new paint colors, flooring, tiles, countertops or any number of finishes. They have a ready source of painters, cleaners, handymen, off-site storage and a myriad of other services that may be needed on short notice.

5.    A home stager can bring in replacement furniture, accessories and art if what is there isn’t appropriate for the home’s target market or the home is empty.

Home staging is not just for multimillion dollar homes. Even for modest homes, staging can have a dramatic effect on the selling price and the number of days spent on the market. For example, one of the homes Gould staged had previously been on the market for months with the best offer being $350,000. She spent 90 minutes with the owner rearranging the furniture, putting items in storage and telling him what needed to be cleaned. He sold the house the following week for $361,000!

How many other (legal) ways can you think of to invest $600 and get an $11,000 return on your investment the following week?

cropped 2nd bedroom

2nd Bedroom After W