Barbara Barry & Peter Block Architects

Stage Craft: How To Sell Your House Quick

If you want to cash in on the current real estate boom by selling your house, here’s what you can do to sell it quick.

Barbara Barry & Peter Block ArchitectsTIPS & TRICKS | The real estate market is so white hot across Metro Vancouver right now that I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me you were  thinking about selling your place—or knew at least six other people who are contemplating selling their homes, too. But when there’s a plethora of properties to choose from, how do you make your home the one shoppers need to buy?

We’ve all watched enough HDTV to know that home staging, tweaking a property so it will appeal to the highest number of potential buyers, is worth the investment. Wikipedia claims that a properly staged home can reduce a listing’s time on the market by one third to one half and increase its selling price by 10 to 20 percent. Still, there are a few slam-dunk staging tricks you can do by yourself to start your sale rolling. If these don’t generate immediate action, then by all means call in—and pay—a styling crew.


Without a doubt, take stuff out—of every room, and on two levels. Having fewer things on view makes any space (be it closet or living room) feel bigger and brighter. And having fewer personal mementoes lying around will help potential buyers picture themselves occupying your rooms. If you’re unsure how to proceed with your purge, buy a few decorating magazines (Canadian House & Home and Style At Home are excellent for this purpose) and see how their stylists and photographers edit and depersonalize the very personal spaces they shoot.

In the photo above, Los Angeles designer Barbara Barry has put together a room every adult can relate to, and not just because it’s expensive. What makes it feel comfortable and harmonious is that the furniture items are few, bold and similar and that the accessories are simple, graphic and impersonal. And lest the space look too obviously staged, imperfectly arranged flowers add a human touch.


Bathroom - CantuNot long ago The New York Times ran an article on the changes New Yorkers make to their homes to sell them. One anecdote in particular stood out for me. It’s about how a real estate agent spent $700 on new towels and throw cushions for her client’s home and how that investment netted an additional $25,000 for the sellers (CLICK HERE for the whole story).

Towels, throw cushions and duvet covers are obvious eye-catchers in a room, and dowdy versions, no matter how clean, will take the décor down a notch. Invest in new, fresh versions of these items, set them out for open houses and then take them with you when you leave.—C. Rule

Photos, top to bottom: living room, Barbara Barry and Philip Block Architects; bathroom, Cantu

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