An interview with Home Stager extraordinaire, Keisha Telfer
When it comes to preparing your property for sale, the all-important home staging process is an essential tool to present your home in its best possible light. This goes beyond the decluttering, which we have already addressed prior to this preparatory phase. It isn’t simply about decorating either. Home staging takes a different type of approach which ultimately helps potential buyers visualize an improved lifestyle if they lived there. It shows off its good features and hides its flaws, turns weird spaces into usable spaces and when done correctly, it sets the stage for an emotional response.
We like to think of it as the dress rehearsal before the opening night of a live performance, in this case, a property being listed for sale. In this month’s Up-close & Personal, we didn’t have to look too far to find a seasoned and successful home stager. Transitions Realty Co-Founder, Keisha Telfer, is a certified home stager, with an established company: Village of Style, where she combines her real estate expertise with strategic home staging. In this Q&A, we will discuss her process, the extra steps she takes for her downsizing clients and how she works her home staging magic to assure an expedient and robust offer on a client’s home.
Up-Close & Personal with Keisha Telfer
Transitions Realty: The benefits of staging a home in preparation of a showing are well documented. Simply put, a well-staged home typically sells quicker and at a higher price. Keisha, can you take us through your process when you embark upon a home staging project for a client?
Keisha Telfer: Our first focus is to assess the exterior of the home and what can be done to boost the curb appeal. This includes making improvements, if necessary, to the landscaping, driveway, and decks. We then turn to inside the home, where we pay close attention to the small stuff like: leaking faucets, burnt-out light bulbs, etc. If left unaddressed, these little things make people wonder what else is left neglected in the home. If repairs are necessary, we bring in a handyman to ensure every little detail is addressed.
The next step is deciding which pieces of the homeowner’s furniture and accessories stay or go. Armed with this information, we design a layout and source additional pieces for staging the home.
We also ensure, prior to staging, all homes are professionally cleaned and, if weather permits, this includes power-washing driveways, decks and cleaning the windows.
Once staged, we provide our clients with a showing and open house checklist to ensure their house shows beautifully every time.
Beyond this, it is worth mentioning that getting the lighting right throughout the home is very important. Homes ultimately show better when they are brightly lit.
Transitions Realty: Potential buyers need an emotional connection with a home, and need to visualize themselves living there. How do you pull that off? Depersonalizing the space may also run the risk of making it seem like a sterile environment, how do you add the features that pique interest and evoke emotion?
Keisha Telfer: It important to understand who the potential buyers are for the home. As a Realtor®, I have the advantage of doing the research of the area ahead of time. It is essential to anticipate the needs of potential homeowners, for instance, if it is a four-bedroom home I am selling, it will appeal to young families and I ensure there is at least one bedroom for a child as well as a play area. A home office is a desirable space to include as well. There also may be cultural aspects you can speak to by choosing the right accents for the home.
As far as combining the task of depersonalizing the space without running the risk of the space feeling sterile, I choose furniture pieces that are inviting. Colour, of course, plays a major role as does adding texture and pattern in a space. Basically, neutral walls with bright pops of accent colour enliven a room and add warmth.
It is also important to ensure there are seamless sightlines and the layout of the furniture is functional and offers good flow. In spring and summer, it is easy to infuse colour in the landscaping by adding flowers, outdoor furniture and lighting and using a similar or complementary colour will ensure consistency and continued flow, inside and out.
Transitions Realty: You’ve staged a multitude of homes for your clients over the years, is there an extra step (or steps) you take when your downsizing clients are selling the family home? Do you need more time to deal with the excessive belongings when someone has lived in a home for a few decades?
Keisha Telfer: There is no doubt that downsizing clients undergo more of an emotional process when they decide to sell. One of the first things we do is listen to the seller’s story, so when we are staging the home, we incorporate one or two features that the homeowners love and cherish. This gives the buyer a bit of history about the house while still allowing them to visualize their life in the home.
This approach often helps the sellers embrace the letting go of the family home, while attracting buyers who would give the home a renewed life.
However, before we even get to this stage, the decluttering process involves more time and preparation and ultimately is an emotional hurdle they must overcome. Sorting through the Keep, Discard and Donate piles is no small feat when homeowners have lived in a home for decades.
Another factor we often face is bedrooms filled with all the things kids left behind when they moved out. Some homes also have bulky and dated furniture, and overly patterned wallpaper, which clashes with the rest of the home. It is imperative to give these spaces a more modern feel by removing the wallpaper and repainting the rooms in a neutral colour.
Finally, with all the prepping and effort put into home staging, we ensure that the end result appeals to buyers, while ultimately ensuring the seller gets the best deal for their beloved family home.
For more information and a home staging consultation with Keisha, visit Village of Style.