The art of home staging

March 31, 2016   ·   0 Comments

On the one hand: “Sellers don’t want to spend  money with renovations because they believe people shouldn’t mind putting some effort and their own mark on the place.“

On the other hand: “Buyers, especially between the ages of 25 and 35, don’t want to renovate. They want the house to be picture perfect – just ready to move in.”

These conflicting approaches to the exchange of funds for a house were outlined to us by Samantha James, a Certified Staging Professional.

Coming into the business of home staging from a background of a BA with a major in Sociology at York University, Ms. James has a long list of academic and arts credentials to her name. She earned a Business Analysis Certificate at University of Toronto, where she also attended a course with the Athena Program for women in business. She did a General Arts program at Sheridan College and has taken other classes in the arts. These are only part of her studies.

Her final step for her current career was completion of the program with Canadian Certified Staging Professionals (C.C.S.P.), earning her certification. She presently works with a team, a group calling itself  Sold by Style.

She says that, according to the National Association of Realtors, some 90 percent “of the market look first on the internet. So, you really have to have pictures that are appealing and inviting.”

She went to reinforce her point by saying, “When they come through the doors, they have get the same impression.”

However hard boiled that sounds, in fact, Ms. James is clear that she approaches the issues in any home from a very caring attitude. “I have to be sensitive to people’s situations. People are selling their homes for a reason. You want to sell your home and I’m there to help you get it ready.”

There is always an initial consultation which, as Ms. James explained, “The way we work,… we assess the condition of the house before we list it.

There may have been an overall inspection for possibly replacing windows, doors or floors. Otherwise, we leave that to the experts to check the home.”

Adding to the real job of home staging, Ms. James said, ”Sometimes, this is mistaken for home decorating, which is appealing to an individual person’s or family’s taste.

We are making your home more appealing to the widest range of perspective buyers. That is an art form – making the house look homey and a place where a person might want to live.”

In her initial consultation, Ms. James takes time to learn about the people selling the home: “I love learning about people. I love caring for people,” she commented. “ You have to have a feeling for just people.”

She explained how many people learn about the services of Sold by Style, Ms. James’ group of Staging Professionals. “The home owner trusts their [real estate] agent who recommends us, so we can come in and have that conversation.”

Most often, the sellers are still living in their houses, while other properties are empty.

Either way, the team can be helpful. Sold by Style has an inventory of furniture and accessories to install in staged homes as necessary.

Primarily concerned for the  sensitive issues involved, Ms. James remarked, “There’s the training [in home staging] but I think it’s also about being human; what we are doing is we’re getting ready to move…There really is perspective and it’s about getting on the same page.”

She said, “It’s about being sensitive.”

There was another aspect of the whole business of staging as Ms. James made it clear:

“Anyone can say, ‘I can do this.’ but there is a level of training and standards that have to be met.

The majority of agents understand the importance of home staging.”

Ms. James was raised in Etobicoke. Further to her studies, after she was married and had three children, she and her family were living in Brampton. They found the city changed too much for their liking over the years.

“We decided we wanted to make a change,” she said, “going back to some traditional charm and move to more of a green space.”

They found what they were looking for in Shelburne, where “we are very happy.”

In her work, Ms. James is very happy too.

“We can’t make any promises about the final sale as a result of staging,” she asserted, “but, definitely, your house will be attracting more people to your property.”

Of needing to care for each situation of a house sale, she said: “These are people’s lives.”

Ms. James can by contacted at

Written by Constance Scrafield


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