Does a home stager really add value and how?

As your real estate agent, my job is to make sure we sell your house within a reasonable time frame and for the best price possible.  I put together a marketing plan that considers the best way for us to do this.

We will look at having great photos taken, putting your house on MLS (the multiple listing service), and we will also look at an array of other marketing tools best suited for your particular home and location.

One responsibility you will have is making sure your home is in tip-top shape.  This might look like de-cluttering, putting away certain ‘personal items’, or possibly beautifying your home in other ways.  As part of this process, I sometimes recommend clients seek out the help of a professional home stager.  Of course it’s only a recommendation but there is often a huge benefit to enlisting the help of one.

The home of a client we recently had staged by Chrysalis Creative Home Staging.

What is a home stager?

One of the biggest misconceptions about home stagers is that they are interior decorators when, in fact, their roles are very different.  Ellen Mann, of Chrysalis Creative Home Staging, puts it really well:

“A decorator’s job is to ask the client questions to determine their particular taste, and then to cater to that.  They create a space that fits the owner’s vision and personality in terms of color, décor and furnishings.  In other words, they work hard to reflect the owner in the space.

A stager’s job is to create a warm and welcoming space that’s generic enough to appeal to the widest possible group of people. In other words, my job is to take the individual owner, OUT of the space.  Sometimes we stage in a style the owner doesn’t like, but we aren’t decorating for them, we’re decorating for the next owner.”

How do I know if I need the services of a home stager?

As your agent, I will help you determine when, and if, the services of a home stager would benefit you.  Here are some examples of scenarios where I might suggest a client consider using one:

Your home is showing more personal items than we should show…or maybe even too many items all together.

Too much ‘stuff’ in a house can be a huge distraction for potential purchasers (as can too many personal belongings, such as photographs).  Clearing out the right items can open up a space and keep people focused on the other great features that your home might offer.

Your home has great furniture and/or décor already but, with a little bit of re-arranging, can showcase your space the BEST way possible.

Some examples of this could be changing a furniture layout to open up a room or better define a space.  It could also look like moving around some décor pieces to highlight particular home features.

Your home could use a little ‘warming up’.

A minimalist approach when re-selling is great but, we also want prospects to feel ‘warmth’ when they enter a home.  Sometimes a home can benefit from a few extra accessories or a piece (or two) of furniture. Small changes, like these, can really add warmth to a space.

sometimes a home can benefit from a few extra accessories

Sometimes a home can benefit from a few extra accessories.

In an extremely competitive market, we may need to put our absolute BEST foot forward.

During slower times, or when there is a surplus of competition, we need your home to look absolutely pristine. The help of a home stager can give us the extra touches we need to make your house look absolutely amazing!  This can be the difference we need to keep prospective buyers focused on your house (and not the competition’s).

Your house is vacant.

Empty homes just don’t show the same way and, generally, tend to fetch a lower price that a furnished house.  An empty home can actually look smaller than it is and also, sometimes gives prospective buyers the idea that you might ‘need’ to sell your house quickly.  This can trigger ‘low-ball’ bids.

What kind of feedback am I going to get from a home stager?

Every home is different.  The recommendations that a home stager might make are going to vary based on your home, needs, timeframe, and budget.  Having said that, there are some common themes that home stagers see often, here are some that Ellen Mann has shared with me:

  1. If a client has rooms painted a rainbow of colors, or their walls are not neutral, the BIGGEST bang for their buck may be in painting the walls a light, neutral color
  2. Art sells houses.  Nearly every home we go into has art that is too small for the wall, and it’s hung too high.  Art should be to scale, and should be hung so the midpoint of the piece is at eye level for someone between 5.5 feet and 6 feet.
  3. The view from the entry of your home is the most critical place to stage.  If buyers don’t feel an immediate connection, they will go no further.  You have 3-6 seconds to capture their hearts.  If you’re successful there, they will look for reasons to keep you on the short list, rather than looking for reasons to eliminate your house from their list of potential properties.
  4. Investing in smart upgrades can yield a big return.  But knowing, and understanding what will give you a return is critical.  Flooring, paint and lighting can help make a home look updated.

Here is a home that was staged showing some examples of making a home neutral, beautiful, and desirable (staging by Chrysalis Creative Home Staging).

a living room before staging.

A living room before staging.


updating the space to make it neutral.

Updating the space to make it ‘neutral’.


adding layers of furniture and accessories to make the space inviting to a potential buyer

Adding ‘layers’ of furniture, lighting, and accessories to make the space inviting to a potential buyer.

How much will a home stager cost?

The cost of a home stager really depends on what services (or items) you and I might like to provide for your home.  Do we just need some furniture moved around to create the best layout possible?  Do we need a paint colour recommendation?  Do we need to rent furniture, or art, for several rooms in your home?  Depending on what our needs are, the costs can vary from a couple of hundred dollars and up.

The good news is there are no surprises.  We can get quotes ahead of time and I can easily help you choose the best professional home stager to suit your personal needs. Remember though, spending a little bit of money up front can save you time, and money, in the long term.

A client’s bedroom we recently had staged by Chrysalis Creative Home Staging.

What is staging for living?

Even if you’re not considering moving, sometimes giving a home stager some time with your own things, in your own space, can really freshen up a space!  This is called, ‘staging for living’ and I highly recommend it.  I have used it in my own home and love the fresh feel it has brought!

What are some quick and easy tips to add a decorated feel to any home?

Lucky for us, Ellen has offered up some little tidbits can be used for home staging – either for sale or, for living…

  1. Layer, layer, layer.  Use linens, pillows and throws to give a home an elevated feel.
  2. Secondary lighting is critical to adding warmth to a room.
  3. Symmetry without using identical items.  Meaning we no longer use 2 sets of matching pillows on a couch.  Mixing patterns and using good quality pillows can add a casual elegance to a living space or bed. 


There can be a cost for staging but that cost often translates to value!  The touches a home stager adds really can save you time and money.  I have seen this first hand!

I work with several home stagers, in the Calgary area, and would be happy to make a recommendation to you based on your home, needs, and budget. Please reach out to me with any questions you might have about finding the right home stager.  Of course, I would also love to hear from you if you have any questions, at all, about buying or selling your home– I’m here to help!

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An Ambitious and very hard working lady! Refreshing to be around her with her hilarious and down to earth personality! Wouldn’t trust any other person when it comes to looking for or selling my home.

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Palvisha Khah

Most personable, down to earth and caring agent I’ve met!  Truly one of a kind – always has customers best interest at heart.

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Emily Prue’homme

What a breath of fresh air to deal with. Jennifer is the perfect mixture of friendly and professional.  She’s my go-to for selling my home, and recommending to friends and family.  Love her!  You won’t be disappointed.

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Kerri Seguin

Jennifer – what can I say!! Amazing to deal with, very knowledgeable, professional and friendly! Building our home with her taking care of us was great!  I would recommend her to all my family and friends to work with

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Teresa Heatley – Rudoski

Jennifer keeps her clients interests at the forefront of her listings. She understands how stressful a move can be, and does her best to ensure her customers’ listings stand out from the crowd.

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Ellen Harris Mann

Jennifer – my deal closed and the owner took possession (as you know) on Friday. THANK YOU!  For all you did in taking this crazy journey with me in selling my place. We met you in the purchase of our new home, and selected you as our agent to sell our old home.  You have been professional, honest, caring and a wonderful to help navigate the difficult 2016 real estate landscape. You have exceeded my expectations in a real estate agent. Thank you so much.

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