Staging a house to sell
Lisa McIntee has 15 couch sets. Fortunately, she’s also got 450 accent pillows with which to decorate them. MIKE DIBATTISTA /NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW
NIAGARA FALLS – Lisa McIntee has 15 couch sets. Fortunately, she’s also got 450 accent pillows with which to decorate them.
When you stage people’s homes to help sell them more quickly, you’ve got to have options. And McIntee has plenty.
The owner of The Staging Professionals rents furniture to people selling their houses. The idea, says the St. Catharines native, is to decorate a house the way the buyer wants to see it, and not the way a homeowner who has lived in the house for years thinks it should look.
“The number one mistake is they can’t fathom the fact they’re moving, so they don’t want to put stuff away,” she said. “People don’t disassociate themselves from the house. But as soon as they can remove themselves emotionally, it makes it easier for the real estate agent.”
McIntee started The Staging Professionals in Toronto six years ago and moved her family, along with the business, to Niagara three years ago.
In Toronto’s highly-competitive real estate market, the idea of home staging was an easier sell.
“They’re years ahead of this market,” she said. “Where we’re getting here with staging, Toronto has been for five years. Here, it takes lots of advertising and marketing, but in Toronto, real estate agents won’t list a property without staging.”
Stored in a small warehouse in Niagara Falls, McIntee has dozens of dining room chairs, a handful of couches, tables lined with accent pillows and countless photos and mirrors on the walls. But it’s only a fraction of the $100,000 worth of furniture and accessories in the collection. McIntee currently has 10 fully-staged homes around the region.
The cost depends on how many rooms are being staged and how expensive the pieces are that customers want to rent, but the price can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
McIntee is as much of a consultant as she is a decorator.
“Sometimes people don’t need anything … I’ve gone into homes and said, ‘Clean it up and you’re fine’ because you know that area is a hot sell,” she said. “You have to know the real estate market.”
She works closely with real estate agents and said many of them will pay the staging consulting fee for the homeowners because they know the advice will pay off in the end.
Oftentimes the home buyers like what they see and buy some or all of the rented furniture or accessories. Only once has a seller seen the makeover in their own home and decided not to sell.
“She bought everything we staged and stayed in the house,” McIntee said.