Heather Sorgat has been obsessed with putting colour, texture and patterns together since she bought her first home in 2001. It was a run down, old war time house in Ottawa. “I was amazed at what a lot of elbow grease and gallons of paint could do to transform a space. “I’ve always been able to see through the cosmetic issues and find affordable and easy solutions to bring a room back to life”. It started with 7 coats of white paint to cover up the “Barney purple” doublehung windows (yes that’s what the former owners painted the trim on the exterior and inside each of the windows) on the entire main floor. My friends thought I was crazy to tackle that sort of project, but I could envision the end result. It turned out beautiful and I sold the property for $45,000 more than I paid for it in less than 2 years. I’ve loved transforming spaces every since”.

Along with redecorating and redesigning 5 of her own houses, she’s been a source of advice for friends, colleagues and family for the past 15 years.
She recently received honours in both Home Staging – Residential Decor program at Algonguin College, and her Canadian Staging Professional designation.

What is staging?

Everybody has heard the term “staging” but what does it really mean?

Staging is the preparation of a property for sale to increase its competitive advantage in the Real Estate marketplace by showcasing its valued features to appeal to the broadest buying demographic. In 2015 a recent study shows that people in their 30’s are purchasing the most homes.

Technology and access to online pictures, has dramatically changed the way people research and decide if they want to see a property. Most buyers will view their potential new home online before deciding which ones to visit.

This means that having a PICTURE PERFECT property is essential to attract the most available buyers.

Did you know?

Not only do people have an emotional reaction to colour, they also have a psychological and physical response when a room doesn’t feel right. When spaces are too small, too dark or over cluttered, this creates tension and a sense of being overwhelmed. This will deter a potential buyer from seeing the room’s potential. Hiring a stager can turn uninviting spaces into harmonious and tranquil rooms, that buyers can see themselves living in.

What do young professionals and young families want to see?

Most buyers want to see a turnkey property that is ready to move in. They don’t want to see a lot of clutter or dated furniture. According to the Canadian Certified Staging Professionals, today’s buyers want to see freshly painted walls, current flooring (i.e. hardwood throughout) and a property that offers organized storage solutions.

First impressions sell homes.

Did you know that potential buyers will make a decision whether or not to purchase your property within the first 15 seconds of entering? Creating the most appealing site lines as soon as you enter is a necessity. Staging your home will provide your potential buyers with the “wow factor” as soon as they open your front door

Why invest in Staging?

Staged homes sell faster. Period.

Other facts

  1. Staged houses sell for 7% MORE than unstaged houses in the Ottawa and outlying areas;
  2. Investing in staging will reduce an Agent’s marketing and advertising costs;
  3. Every box of clutter that is removed from a room can increase the value of the home by up to $600 .
  4. The longer a home sits on the maker, the less likely a seller will receive their asking price. Depending on the market, Agents may ask a seller to drop their price by $10,000 for every 2 to 3 weeks the house sits on the market. That’s extremely costly to the homeowner.
  5. The investment of staging a home is ALWAYS less than the first price drop.

My job as a Stager is this….

  • To showcase the property’s greatest architectural features and assets.
  • To draw attention to updated features in the home.
  • To turn cluttered or unclear rooms into inviting spaces that feel and look like they belong.
  • To turn wasted spaces into a defined area with a specific function.
  • To restyle mismatched and dated furniture into fresh and current trends.
  • To create a consistent decor throughout the house to create continuity and good flow.
  • To utilize accessories to bring proper scale, proportion, colour and texture to a space which connects buyers emotionally.

Top four interior features when selling a home were:

  1.  Updated kitchens
  2. Freshly painted walls
  3. Updated Flooring (like hardwood floors)
  4. Organized storage spaces


What are the differences between Staging and Decorating?

  • Decorating is a luxury; Staging is a necessity
  • Decorating is for the homeowner’s enjoyment; Staging is for the future buyer
  • Decorating is personal style; Staging is a universal style targeted to a specific demographic who are coming through the house
  • Decorating can involve a large, expensive budget; Staging includes a limited budget that will provide maximum impact
  • Decorating can take months to achieve a total transformation; Staging is working with tight deadlines to transform the space quickly
  • Decorating is optional; Staging is mandatory if the homeowner wants to secure the most return on their investment in the shortest time

Who are today’s buyers?

Homeowners tend to forget that the potential new buyer isn`t the same age as them. The Millennial generation (30 somethings) occupy the largest buyers in today’s marketplace.  This generation are looking for turn-key properties that have updated, modern kitchens and open-concept family rooms. These buyers are willing to spend more a bit more money for their ideal home, but aren’t interested in spending the time to renovate. They have trouble seeing through dated décor and furnishings.
In a recent poll, it was suggested that 63% of buyers preferred a higher priced home that does not require any renovations over a lower priced fixer-upper.
When asked which room of the house had the most significant impact of their purchasing decision, 52% of buyers said the kitchen.

Most homes sell in 6-10 visits. If a home doesn’t sell – it`s either price or buyers aren’t falling in love with the house. It`s the buyer who sets the price on their perceived value of a home.
Studies show that staged homes, on average sell for 6.9% more than an un-staged home, or homes that aren’t properly prepared for sale.
In a 2015 National survey, the average dollar value spent on home staging was: $675.00
In the 2015 National Association of REALTORS® report,

  • 32% percent of buyers’ agents believe staged homes increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by one percent to five percent. That could mean $4,000 – $20,000 more than an unstaged home.
  • 19% say there is no impact on the dollar value but 16% believe it increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by six percent to 10 percent. That could mean $24,000 – $40,000 more than an un-staged home.
  • Among REALTORS® who typically represent the buyer, 49% report most buyers are affected by home staging and 47% report some buyers are affected by home staging.
  • An astonishing 81% of buyers believed it is easier to visualize the property as a future home when it`s been staged. As well, 46% of buyers are more willing to walk through a home they viewed and liked online.
  • 45% of buyers said that it will positively impact the value of the home if it is decorated to the buyer tastes. Also a surprisingly 28% of buyers have said they are more willing to overlook property faults.