Does the “Counter” affect the “Offer”?

 One common question I hear from clients when offering consultation is, ”Should I replace my countertops?”

If your countertops are damaged, no matter the price point of your home, they should be replaced. No one will purchase a home that is not well cared for. If they do, they expect a much lower purchase price. It would cost less to replace the countertops.

home staging dead


Another downside to not replacing them is that most potential buyers are in the market for move-in ready. So even if you lower the price to accommodate, you are more likely to lose some potential offers altogether.

So the next question is, “What do I replace the counter with?”

Will updated Formica do?  There is granite, quartz, Butcher block, and so many, many choices.  The answer is based on a few questions about the property.


What is the condition of your home?

What are the comparables in the area?

If your home is in good shape and has had many upgrades throughout then having updated counters will give you the edge to show your home as move in ready.

There are many grades of granite at different price points, so your choice should depend on the price point of your home. In $200 and $300-thousand and under, stone countertops are not typically expected but would give you the edge over your competition. If your price point is more than $300.000  plus then most buyers are looking for granite and are willing to pay extra.

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Last consideration when  replacing countertops is the condition of your kitchen cabinets. They should be solid and in good condition. Shiny new counters, especially a higher-end countertop like granite, added on top of dated old cabinets makes those cabinets stick out like a sore thumb and just serves to highlight how awful they really are.

So clean them up, replace the hardware, re-stain and/or paint the cabinetry and it will compliment those beautiful new stone countertops and make your investment shine.

If you have a question for “Ask The Home Staging Expert”, please contact 

Images Staged with Flair


12 of the Best Home Staging Fails, ever.

12 of the Best Home Staging Fails, Ever.

By Anna Topolinsky

Around the Internet you can find great ideas for staging your home to sell at the best possible price. For the crafty and the DIY expert alike those ideas can add a great deal to your return on investment.

For the less talented, staging your home for resale can be a fruitless pursuit that resembles less Martha Stewart’s “It’s a Good Thing” and more Marge Simpsons’ “I Don’t Think That’s a Good Idea”.

So here for your amusement, if not your information are 12 of the very best home staging fails from around the world of the internet!


1)Place mats for valences!!

Even if they all match, using place mats for valences will not fly (nor will that parrot, I am guessing)

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2) See-through air conditioner covers.

If you can’t find or make a custom fitted one you could at least trim the excess material.  So much is wrong with this picture….carpet in kitchen And that table setting!!

home staging tips

3) People in your the staged real estate shots.

Also, you may want to replace that dated ceiling  but really, light bulbs are $1.99.There is no point in having pillows on your sofa if they are only an inch thick!

home staging tips

4) Throw pillows..

Almost anywhere else in the room would have been better….  this one makes me LOL!! People THIS IS NOT staging!

home staging tips

5) We mentioned that people in the photos are a no-no (see #3). Mannequins are just creepy.

This one made me speechless which is very rare! Can you imagine the nightmares children will have after viewing this room with their parents.

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6) To help prospective buyers picture themselves in their new home, limit the personal interest items on display. I always tell my clients to remove personal momentous along with most of their personal pictures BUT this is a little obvious!

The 4 bottles of wine on the table probably says everything about you that we need to know.

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7) Trying too hard for “high-design”

It’s like the “centre-justify” for apples. I couldn’t help myself I would have to eat one and throw the whole design off!

home staging tips

8) A spare room for guests – that you don’t really like.

home staging tips


9) The mark of a true amateur is stashing stuff you don’t want seen. Because no one will wonder when the Realtor says, “There is nothing behind that door. Really. Nothing.” YIKES!

home staging tips

10) It is possible to go to far clearing the clutter. And those pictures are hung far too high looks like Mildred has a spot to check out the neighbourhood and see what everyone is doing.


11) Amazing what you can do with a little paint if you really want to be creative! Oh my!


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12) Finally, leaving a can of raid out in the open is definitely a deal breaker.

Bonus Fail

Of course the biggest fail is not hiring a professional stager

 Images Staged with Flair

To book your consultation call


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Don’t Look under the Rug and Other Practical Tips for Staging your Home.

home stager

Here are a few practical tips for staging your home. There are some big issues, like the oxblood feature wall, that are best handled through an extensive consultation (if not through a sound psychological examination), but today I’d like to address some short tips I have for you on some niggling little issues you might find when staging your home for sale.

Continue reading Don’t Look under the Rug and Other Practical Tips for Staging your Home.

Six costly staging mistakes in preparing your home for a quick sale and high profit.

home staging blog

Written by Anna Topolinsky

De-cluttering and cleaning jobs are high on the list that real estate professionals recommend to home and property sellers.

Continue reading Six costly staging mistakes in preparing your home for a quick sale and high profit.

Most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale. Clean then clean some more!

Most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale. Clean then clean some more!

Many times I have surfed MLS and I cannot believe that some of these homes are being photographed and listed in such a terrible manner.

cleaning before stagingI am a Home Stager and have been in business for almost 8 years and have had the privilege to see many homes before they are listed. Some of the  homes that I want to run out of, I am usually kicked in the face with odors that are at times very unbearable or I encounter major clutter, like shoes, hats, gloves, keys etc…. to the point where I am tripping over this clutter. This does not make a great first impression on anyone!

Then there are the occasions when I am pleasantly surprised by a nice odor, and a clean entrance way, only to look at the walls and see that there are small holes, dirt marks and fingerprints that could of been removed by a fresh coat of paint. Almost zero to no investment in cleaning before you list, except for some muscle and time invested, cleaning everything will be the best thing that you could do before listing.

I give credit to homeowners that have watched many t.v. shows that give them ideas on how to prepare their home for sale. With good intention people will de-clutter, take down personalized pictures, but they forget to paint or they think that” new owners are going to paint the walls the colors that they like”. In painting you will invest minimal investment, but painting will yield you one of the best return in your investment.  Paint in soft muted tones, keeping the color the same throughout to create continuity, soft tones are  buyer friendly and they also make a room look fresh and clean.

painting before stagingDon’t forget that two of the most important areas to paint are

1) Front door; if it looks worn and uninviting people will move on, makes the home look not well taken care of and will leave a negative first impression

2) Front entrance inside … that is usually the most used area of the home (unless you have a back entrance  or mud room). This front entrance must be clutter free, clean, painted, bright and welcoming, and maybe your potential buyers                                                                     might just want hang around permanently for years to come!


cleaning before stagingSome clients  ask “Should  a home not look””looked lived in”? Yes it should  is my answer, a sterile cold empty room/home, devoid of any personality is not the best scenario. But does that mean that your potential buyers have to smell what you have had for supper in the last week or smell the little accident that Fido had on the living floor!! So please open your windows let the fresh air in, launder some of those throws that kitty and Fido have been lounging on and freshen them up… remove and discard old worn out mat’s they hold bad odors. Purchase and replace old bed pillows, they are usually flat as pancakes and make a bedroom smell. Pack away toys that are not played with, most of the time the kids have so much they will not miss them. Every square inch of your home needs to be cleaned…and then cleaned again, DO NOT STOP! This must be kept up for the entire length of your listing until you are sold firm!

Enlisting the help of a Certified Home Stager will be a great investment in preparing your home to be market ready. Hiring a  home stager can help you connect with any professional trades that you might need to work with. Most  professional home stager will work with your  occupied home and all your existing furniture, or they will offer you current  furniture and accessories to fully furnish any vacant rooms that you have in your home.










This home was SOLD FIRM in 10 days!

We all love color, come on I dare you to add some to your life!

staging a dining room

We all  love color, come on I dare you to add some color to your life!

Whether you are remodeling, freshening up or preparing your home to sell, you will be thinking about which color palette to choose. Come on, I dare you to add some color!! We are constantly bombarded with images and information that we need to keep everything neutral, well I challenge everyone to think outside the box and bring in some color!!

Continue reading We all love color, come on I dare you to add some to your life!