Staging your home while you’re living in it – it can be done!


At Elegant Strategies, our specialty is staging occupied homes. I pride myself on my ability to use or ‘redeploy’ as much of the client’s furniture and accessories as possible. This keeps rental costs to a minimum. Rental fees are the charges that really add up. If a client’s furniture and accessories are in good condition, I’ll find a way to use them. “Making the most of your home” is my motto.

First steps:

  1. Essential repairs must be addressed. Safety issues will destroy a sale.
  2. Pack your valuables (whether they have sentimental or dollar value or both).
  3. De-clutter. This means packing your photos, electronics, collections, and the non-essentials in each room. Think of seldom-used tools in the garage or basement, off-season equipment and clothing in bedrooms, family room and closets, and all the things you meant to discard but didn’t have the time. Now is the time! Don’t pay to move items you don’t intend to keep.
  4. Professional cleaning. Once your home is pared down, professional cleaners are worth every penny.

Before you list with an agent, consider the carrying costs of your home. These are the expenses you pay every month you own the property:

  1. Mortgage, if any
  2. Utilities – heat, water, hydro
  3. Property insurance
  4. Property taxes

Add them up. If you’ve already purchased a new home, you do not want to pay two sets of carrying costs each month until your old property sells. It is in your best interests to sell your home as quickly as possible. In a recent RESA® study* of over 1,000 homes, un-staged homes spent an average of 184 days on the market. After staging, these homes sold, on average, in 41 days. Homes that were staged prior to listing sold on average in 23 days.


How to find a professional home stager:

  1. Visit for a list of trained and insured home stagers.
  2. Choose 2-3 who will provide you with a bid for their services. Do not base your decision on price, as you get what you pay for. Ask to view their portfolio. Check references. Do they use a professional photographer? Choose the stager you think will give you the best results.
  3. Be sure you understand their contract. If your stager does not offer a contract, this is a red flag.

*Real Estate Staging Association


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