Written by Laurie Mustard, Winnipeg Free Press, Homes Section, March 18th, 2018

Do you know what staging a home is all about?

Many of you will. I didn’t until a short time ago, and now, because of some on-the-job volunteer experience in the field, I think I’m pretty much up to speed.

According to the brainiacs at Wikipedia, staging a home is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money.

My introduction to the world of staging began when my talented and artistic friend Karen L. Silverman, the owner and operator of Staging Works, a professional staging business, invited me to come along and watch her work her magic transforming an empty home into a comfy, warm and inviting living space.

I took the opportunity to consider myself sort of a co-designer, perhaps even an artiste-stager for the day, but when I heard Silverman describe me as her helper to a furniture mover on the phone — my fantasy flopped. My station: lift and haul, don’t break anything. Got it.

The before and after pictures included with today’s column tell the story of the tremendous difference staging makes. And fortunately, because only a small number of areas were chosen to be staged, my lifting and hauling was a good cardiovascular workout — which I so badly need.

Silverman, however, didn’t even break a sweat. She was once a gymnast who dedicated two years of her life training for Olympic competition, which was ultimately cut short due to injury.

We all know the dedication, effort and work ethic it takes to reach the elite level of competition and from my own observation, I can tell you Silverman brings that same level of intensity, focus and commitment to everything she does.

There are numerous staging companies out there, all offering essentially the same core service, with varying options.

The Staging Works umbrella includes the following: home staging to sell, home staging to live, vacant-home staging, deck/patio staging, curb appeal staging and colour consultations.

Yes, staging companies will even come to your home for a consult on how to upgrade your current household, simply because you’re tired of the status quo, but you just don’t have the expertise or the “eye” to do it for yourself. Dad may not be happy you’ve moved, or even replaced, his chair, but he’ll get over it.

So, what potential positive impact is staging having generally when selling a home? “Statistically, staged homes sell three times faster and for a higher return on investment,” Silverman says.

Professional home stagers in Sweden claim “homestyling,” as it’s called there, yields about 10 per cent higher pricing compared to just cleaning the house.

U.S. research states home staging can reduce a listing’s time on the market by one-third to half, and could fetch as much as six to 20 per cent more than an empty home or a home not properly staged.

“Our designs, while beautiful, are much more than just that,” Silverman says. “They’re strategically constructed to induce the widest swath of buyers to envision themselves living there.”

And that, pretty much sums up the purpose of staging, for the real estate market. Do whatever it takes to increase your odds for a quicker sale and higher selling price. A common-sense approach if ever there was one.

To get a more in-depth understanding of what the world of staging hereabouts can do for you, check out the Staging Works website at stagingworkswinnipeg.com, or any of the many other staging companies serving your particular area, book a consult and let the pros guide you from there. You just may be thrilled that you did.

Professional stagers are also an excellent resource to seek advice before actually listing your staged home to advise you what prep has to be done to make your home ready for that silk-purse cosmetic treatment down the road, because no amount of glam in the world can add sales appeal to a cluttered, rundown home.

Always an excellent idea to pick an experienced (qualified) pro’s brain to put you on the critical path to the most positive, profitable outcome.

Should you hire Staging Works for your personal home sales quest, and you see me hauling stuff through your door, don’t call the police, please give me a cookie and a gentle pat on the head. I’m an excellent helper…