Why home staging works

Top agents, home stagers and research with buyers all agree on one thing: staging your house to sell nets you more money and a faster sale.   So what is home staging & how does it work?  The best way to show you of course, is with before and after pictures, and this post has lots of them! 

(I always love before and afters, don't you?)

Home staging is the art of preparing your home for sale.  Whether you are selling in a hot market or a cool market, staging is proven to net more money and a faster sale.   It doesn't matter if your home is for sale in Scarborough, Toronto, Pickering or Whitby - home staging works! 

Although many people think of it as removing and replacing all your furniture, I lump de-cluttering, painting, repairs, cleaning and decorating all under the topic.  

In this article, I am sharing my secrets to home staging! 

There are basic rules then there is how I approach it:

Basic principles:

  • Each room has a defined purpose
  • Furniture and decor items are removed or added to enhance natural light
  • Public storage spaces (cupboards & closets) are de-cluttered
  • The home is sparkling clean
  • Personal items (family photos, religious items) are removed)

Each of these basic principles shows the buyers what they want to see - like so: 

  • Each room has a defined purpose - I can clearly see what furniture fits, and the best use of the space for me
  • Furniture and decor items are removed or added to enhance natural light & flow - the space feels open & bright
  • Public storage spaces (cupboards & closets) are de-cluttered - there is enough storage for my needs
  • The home is sparkling clean - it looks so well maintained! 
  • Personal items (family photos, religious items) are removed) - I can picture my family living here

How I approach home staging:

It's the art of preparing and decorating your home to sell.  I like a house to feel cozy & warm, not like a furniture showroom.  So even with an empty house I like to stage it with eclectic, down to earth pieces. 

I like to start with a blank canvas, repainting in neutral colors & removing wallpaper and heavy drapes - it immediately brightens the space: 

I use the homeowners own furniture, if possible combined with the professional stagers art, decor items & furniture.   For example in the pictures below we took out the ornate dining room chairs and replaced them with modern linen covered parson chairs to update the look: 

Here's an example of how a vacant condo looks after painting and staging with appropriately sized furniture for the space: 

Finally, how some simple paint and decluttering open up this bedroom (we just moved some extra furniture to stage another bedroom).  Oh and we replaced the old blind with new mini-blinds, too.

For more before and after pictures you can check out my preferred stager's website at: 

Retreat Staging and Redesign

To see how decluttering and home organizing works, check out my preferred de-cluttering expert at: 

The Next Step Forward

To see the final walk through video of a Scarborough home for sale I recently staged visit my Youtube Channel:

42 Ravenview Dr.  Scarborough Video Tour

Other benefits of home staging:

A staged home helps potential buyers visualize themselves in your space.  In fact, a 2019 National Association of Realtors study on home staging reported that 83% of buyers' agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. This is why it's important to de-personalize your space, removing family photos and other personal items. 

Do you really need to stage a home when the market is hot?

When a market is hot, buyers have a greater sense of urgency. This means they have to move quickly and are more easily swayed by first impressions and emotions. Homeowners can use this to their advantage by staging their home. You can also strengthen a buyer’s connection to the home by staging it for the season in a subtle way. 

In a hot market, a staged home will stand out from the competition, drawing buyers to your home making it more appealing than other homes that may not be staged.  

Pictures of Staged homes are more appealing

The process of searching for a home almost always starts with online shopping. This increases the need for staged photos.  Great photos can determine whether or not a future buyer will even visit your home.

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Explore this incredible opportunity in the heart of Markham's housing market! This centrally located 4-bedroom Markham home is now for sale!  It sits on a deep private lot with an expansive backyard – perfect for family living. Recently renovated with brand-new flooring and a fresh coat of paint throughout, this residence boasts an inviting eat-in kitchen equipped with stainless steel appliances. The spacious bedrooms and separate side entrance offer versatility and comfort. Enjoy the bright, airy atmosphere thanks to ample natural light streaming through the large windows in the generous basement, ideal for relaxation and gatherings. Situated on a serene, low-traffic street, this home epitomizes convenience. 

It's a short walk to schools, parks, public transit, Centennial GO station, Markville Mall, and the vibrant shopping district along Highway 7.  You can even walk to grocery stores! This is great for commuters – an almost unheard of walking proximity to everything you need that’s rarely found outside the city core. Don't miss this opportunity to make this fantastic home in one of Markham's prime locations yours!


A disturbing trend I've come across recently is the fraud in the rental space.   As an agent who handles a fair share of rentals; these issues have shown up over several ways this year.   I'll tell you about 3 instances I've had and the red flags that appeared with each! 

When I'm representing a landlord and an application comes in, I spend a lot of time going through an applicants documentation and getting references and looking through their background.  Here's what I do:

  • Call their employer by finding the employer's website and calling through their office to confirm employment.  I don't just call the supervisor on the application
  • Look carefully at the documents to see if they are real; company letterhead & credit reports can be faked or bought
  • Check social media & linked in
  • Call past landlords
  • Make sure there is a building at the address they're currently renting
  • Check that the landlords name and property owners names match.   If it's an apartment building call through the property management company if it's an apartment rather than calling the number provided.
  • Look at the credit report for signs of altering

With those things in mind, let's look at 3 things that have happened to me this year!

1.  Student rental Scam - fake rental and landlord

First of all, you should never have to pay to submit a rental application, or be asked for a deposit before you get a chance to see the place.   These scams are generally ads on sites like Kijijii and Facebook for rentals that look too good to be true.  They also steal MLS listings for homes and advertise them at lower rates.  I came across one recently through a family friend desperate for some student housing.  It was a big scam; and when I called them out they 'protested too much'.    Here's how to spot these scammers:

  • They demand payment to submit a rental application
  • They demand a deposit before you see the unit
  • Makes excuses why they are not available to speak to on the phone 
  • Will only communicate through messenger, text or email
  • The advertised price is way lower than other rentals
  • Their Facebook profile was just created
  • Their Facebook name does not match their user name ID (see the URL) 

2. Fake Rental Applications   

There are some very good forged documents out there.  I had some people submit an application on a lease I was advertising and here's what I found during the checks, among the other checks I did as above :

  • Inconsistencies in addresses on the application
  • Employment letter does not look real - no header or footer with information on the company letterhead

3. Forged Tenacy Papers

I had a call from a gal who had a great story, good employment, good credit, moving to Toronto from outside the city for work, can't come in to look for a place so needed virtual showings.  Could I help her find a place.  Sounds great right?  

Now I don't usually check tenants out before I help them (and I'd helped out a client with an out of town move this year already in a similar situation)  But with everything going on right now, I felt it couldn't hurt to see what her references would say.   So she sent in her application & 

then came the paperwork - the address of her job didn't match up with her story.  The company had never heard of her or her supervisor.  There was even no property listed at the home she had put for her address!  Other red flags for scammers include what she did:

  • get overly upset when called out 
  • provide complicated excuses for 'mistakes' on application forms
  • call the fact checker a liar, unprofessional, etc.

So be careful out there folks! 


A big thank you to the communities of Guildwood, West Rouge & Port Union for the terrific support last Saturday for my Community Shredding Event.  About 30 families participated - and their generous food donations filled our Jeep to the brim!   The food donations were taken straight to Feed Scarborough - the Scarborough Food Security initiative and will be distributed to local satellite food banks in the area.   Judging from the huge line up outside the Manse Rd. food bank Saturday, it's much needed. 

Chartwell Guildwood was my partner for this event and provided the venue and great snacks.  Thank you Kelly & Dianne for your wonderful support.  As always, Papersavers was gracious, friendly, professional and helpful!  

One interesting sideline - My husband, myself, Dianne and Alex from papersavers all grew up within the same area!   Such a big city/small world!