What will set your home apart from amongst the many houses for sale in the local market?
That’s a question Carrell-Ayne Whalen will ask her clients after they’ve sought her out to help stage their home while the for sale sign is posted outside.
Whalen owns Simply Staged To Sell (www.simplystagedtosell.ca), based out of her own home in Sidney.
Her job is to assist people with a makeover of their homes once they are on the market.
Staging rooms for show is a lot different than interior decorating, she says, and serves a much different purpose.
“Staging is designed to help sell a home,” she explains. “It removes those extreme personal touches and decor (such as a sword collection mounted on a wall) that can distract potential buyers.”
The goal, she continues, is to get people to see how the home looks when it’s lived-in and how their own furniture will look in the same space.
Interior decorating, Whalen adds is the act of putting a personal touch on a home’s decor — generally what happens after someone moves in. That’s the main difference between the two styles.
Whalen says she works with her clients on staging the main rooms — living, dining, kitchen and master bedroom. The rest must be neat and tidy, she adds. Those are the rooms where potential buyers do the most visualizing of how their new home might look.
To make it happen, Whalen works with what people have and within their budgets, rather than simply opting for rental furniture. Often that’s out of reach for seniors and others who do not have those kind of resources or storage space for their own stuff. The key, in the end, is to create a welcoming space.
With a background in personal shopping for major department stores and 15 years in the antique business, Whalen has some unique approaches to staging homes.
“I have that experience in antiques but more importantly, I have a business background.
“My dad was a follower of the Dale Carnegie method and always told me no matter what I do in life, make sure other people are as important as you are. Really listen. Only then can you help others.”
At work in the field for four years, Whalen approaches each home with a main focus: accentuate the positive and camouflage the negative. Then look to the details to help set a room, and a house, apart from the rest.