Carol Palfrey Associate Broker
" The Eastside is my Neighbourhood "

1 (604) 818-7422

Carol Palfrey Associate Broker
Cell:1 (604) 818-7422
Office :1 (604) 263-1911

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David C. Salvatore, of Edge Mid-Century Designs, irons a pillowcase while staging an apartment.CreditJennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Like many sellers, Fran Sarro and David Waite were initially reluctant to stage their apartment.

Their agent, Anna Kahn, an associate broker at Halstead Property, had already helped them declutter and identify home improvements for their two-bedroom ground-floor co-op at 134 West 82nd Street.

Following Ms. Kahn’s advice, the couple had spent about $45,000 tearing out carpets, installing hardwood flooring and new light fixtures, painting, repointing brick and replacing siding on a wall in the rear garden.

But they stopped short of hiring a professional stager to swap out their furniture and art. “I was extremely skeptical,” Ms. Sarro said. “I couldn’t see why things that I had collected over my life, sparsely placed, would be a problem.”

They listed the apartment for $1.85 million in June 2014. Then they watched, dismayed, as it sat on the market for six months, while they gradually cut the asking price to $1.65 million. “I had over a hundred showings, and could not sell it,” Ms. Kahn said. “Not one offer.”

The couple took the place off the market that December, and at Ms. Kahn’s behest, sent for the home stager Nahila Chianale, the owner of NCC Luxe in New York.

To Ms. Chianale, the home’s décor was too eclectic, “like Victoriana meets ’80s meets Ikea,” she said.

She instructed the couple to empty the apartment, except for one small bench that she deemed attractive. Then, for about $26,000, she had the kitchen cabinets, shelving, doors and door frames painted white, and moved in an entire home’s worth of contemporary furniture, including shapely clear acrylic dining chairs and a white pedestal table, an Italian linen sofa and a chrome-and-glass coffee table placed atop a cowhide rug.

When Ms. Kahn relisted the staged property last April for $1.495 million, “the place was mobbed,” at the first open house, Ms. Sarro said.

A bidding war ensued, and the apartment soon went into contract for $1.8 million, before closing in July.

“I can’t believe how it worked out,” Ms. Sarro said. “I still shake my head.”

The practice of home staging has long elicited strong reactions. Agents and professional stagers point to examples like the Sarro-Waite apartment, and say staging can usually help a home sell faster, and for a higher price, offering a larger return on the investment.

Mr. Salvatore carries a chair to the Park Avenue apartment being staged. CreditJennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Homeowners, reluctant to spend the money or admit that their decorating choices might not be catnip to buyers, are often loath to pay strangers to impose their tastes on their premises.

But as staging has evolved over the past decade, many real estate professionals say it has become more important — and more sophisticated — than ever.

“It always makes a difference, and is essential in this market,” said Richard Balzano, an associate broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate who frequently refers his clients to stagers and even pays for the preliminary consultations.

In the past, many stagers focused on decluttering and implementing minor tweaks in furnished homes. Or they appointed vacant apartments with basic rental furniture to prove that rooms were large enough for regular sofas and queen-size mattresses.

Today, they are increasingly tackling all-out transformations that aim to present compelling contemporary design, while projecting a complete aspirational package.

“It’s not just about solving a problem now, but much more about presenting a lifestyle to prospective buyers,” said Jane Saidenberg, the design director of Studio D, a staging company with offices in New York and San Francisco. “People want it to look like a shelter magazine, or like something they’ve seen on TV. It’s more elevated than it has been in the past.”

“The bar has definitely been raised. The glamour apartment is really what sells,” Mr. Balzano said. “People will walk out if it looks ugly, or they think it’s dark, claustrophobic or has other warts they don’t want to deal with.”

The reason, said Frederick Peters, the president of Warburg Realty, is simple: “In New York, in recent years, there have been so many opportunities in newly constructed buildings where you don’t have to do anything, that buyers have lost both the appetite and ability to see through years of debris.”

Robby Browne, an associate broker at Corcoran Group Real Estate, shares this opinion. “Things have changed, in terms of people’s expectations — they expect apartments to be bright and fresh,” he said. “That’s a result of all the new developments coming on the market, where they have beautiful sales offices and staged apartments where everything is done.”

That’s why Mr. Browne recommended a complete home staging for a co-op his team is selling at 170 East 78th Street. This was even though Architectural Digest magazine had featured the place in 2011, describing “an ethereal dining room modeled on a czarist winter garden” and one of the two bedrooms as “such a perfect Empire bijou, with striped silk on the walls, an exotic nude over the mantel, and a steel campaign bed, that you half expect to meet Napoleon’s ghost.”

Ghosts, even Napoleonic ones, don’t play all that well in today’s market.

“Ten years ago, I would have never suggested it,” Mr. Browne said. But in the age of the television series “Million Dollar Listing” and online real estate porn, more buyers expect up-to-the-minute style.


Get the Straight Facts About What Can Make or Break the Sale of Your Home.

Choose an Experienced, Professional Realtor!

Selling your home is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Your home is likely your largest asset - this may be the biggest financial move you've ever made, one that requires significant thought and strategy.

Countless questions are unearthed during the process. How much is it really worth? How long will it take to sell in the current Vancouver real estate market? How do you handle buyers making undesirable offers?

As a top Vancouver Realtor with years 10 years of experience and a proven track record, it is my job to guide you through this complicated process, from beginning to end. I want you to get the maximum value for your home, within your own time frame.

Here are some tips to help you begin:

  1. Establish the Reasons You Want to Sell Your Home.

    Before you begin the selling process, closely evaluate why you're moving. Do you have too little space or too much? Has your company transferred you to a new city and you're relocating from Vancouver? Or are you simply looking for a change?

    A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your home-selling strategy, as well as for your next home hunt. If, for example, you have already purchased a new home and your goal is to make a quick sale on your current home, this reason will chart the path you take in the home-selling process. If, on the other hand, you aim to net the highest price possible for your home, you need to prepare yourself for a potentially slower process.

    Be clear about these reasons, as they will directly influence the amount of time and effort you put into preparing your home for sale, and the amount you set for your asking price.

  3. Buy or sell first? Be clear.

    This can be a tricky question. After all, if you find a purchaser for your existing home before you've found a new home, you may find yourself living out of a suitcase if convenient closing dates cannot be negotiated. On the other hand, if you find your dream home before you've sold your old one, you may be faced with having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell.

    So how do you manage? It can be quite simple. Do your homework and have a good idea about the Vancouver neighbourhood and type of home you're looking for. Do an honest evaluation of your family's needs and budget.

    Speak to me start your new home search in Vancouver as soon as your existing home hits the market.

    If you've found a home before you've sold your existing one, use "sale of your existing home" as a condition on your offer. If you don't sell your house within a fixed period of time, you can choose not to go through with the offer. This, however, is a difficult condition for many vendors to agree upon and you may find that you have to forgo your price negotiating power.

    Purchasing a home before you sell could be a risky strategy if you're counting on the proceeds from the sale.

    If you've found a purchaser before you've found your next home, use "purchase of a new home" as a condition when you sign back the agreement.

    Again, it will only be for a fixed time. Even if you have not found the ideal next house by the time the deal closes, you may still wish to proceed with the offer. As a buyer with a "sold house" you will be in a better position to negotiate price.

  5. Pricing.

    The competitive nature of the current Vancouver real estate market means that over-pricing by a few thousand dollars could make the difference between your home selling quickly or not selling at all.

    Overpricing your home might mean minimized offers, fewer showings, fewer agent responses, limited financing, limited buyers qualified for your type of home, or a smaller net price. Avoid these outcomes by setting the price of your home at its market value when you first list on the Vancouver market.

    Contact me I'll help you price your home competitively to attract qualified buyers. The first step I'll take is to generate a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) report, which will show you a range of prices being paid for homes in your area.

    Visit my short online Home Evaluation form that will give you an initial idea of your home's market value.

  7. Make Your House More "Sellable".

    While we all believe that our home is our castle, our personal tastes may not appeal to everyone. I will work with you to provide you with an impartial analysis of your home - how it relates to other "competing" homes on the Vancouver real estate market and how your home reflects current design and style trends. I'll also closely evaluate the general condition and upkeep of your property.

    I'll work with you to position your home on the market so that the selling process will take place as expeditiously as possible. Here's how:

  9. Use my Professional Marketing Program to Sell Your Vancouver Home.

    I will work with you to develop a unique marketing program, catered specifically to your needs and goals. This begins with my Automated Internet Marketing System - Online Presence: 24 hours a day! This system allows me to respond immediately and directly to every prospective buyer. On my website, buyers can get information immediately about your home. They can access my site any time and view your property listing!

    Through my Personal Home Search, your listing will be sent to every prospective Vancouver buyer in my database, where your home meets their personal criteria. I will continue to e-mail it to prospective buyers as long as your home is on the Vancouver market.

    As soon as you list your home with me, I will enter your listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. Other agents can immediately access your property information by computer. Plus, your property will be included in any printed MLS books.

    I regularly publish in Vancouver area magazines and newspapers and send out direct mail pieces to potential buyers.

Remember, I will be working with you every step of the way to ensure you get the highest possible price for your home in the shortest period of time.