Professional Kitchener-Waterloo Home Stager offers Candor and Diplomacy to Make Sellers See the Light!

Home Stager with Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design ~


While its great that home owners are getting more savvy about my profession - home staging - its also made things more difficult. Sometimes, with the issues I have to address as part of my job, regardless of how I give the feedback, it’s not always well received.

What do I do?

I am a professional home stager in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and contrary to the current trendy perception of my career, my job isn’t for the faint of heart. In any given week I can see between 5 – 20 homes and although the primary focus of my job is assessing the houses I visit, much of my job is talking to home owners and discussing subjects which can result in them being hurt or offended. I empathize with how they feel however that does not stop me from doing my job – it can’t – because if I don’t address the issues in a home, then the house won’t show to its fullest potential. Which means I’m not doing my job, the house won’t show well and my clients won’t be pleased. Let’s face it an ineffective stager isn’t going to get referrals or repeat business.

I’m bringing this up because over the years we have had instances where we did inadvertently and completely offend clients. It didn’t matter how gingerly we handled subjects such as a wall of swords (honed and dangerous) or eye blinding decor choices that a home owner was extremely proud of – these were areas of contention which had to be addressed because if they remained they would put off a lot of buyers. Most of the time we manage to diffuse the situation, but sometimes it doesn’t matter what we say, our clients just aren’t open to our recommendations in fact they are offended we even brought them up. This inevitably leads to complaints to our realtor partners which of course leads to us explaining why and how we discussed things – even though our realtors fully understand and back our recommendations. Bottom line is because we are on the front lines, we tend to take a lot of heat.

We have broad shoulders and we understand that selling a family home is a stressful and emotional time. No question about it. However, our goal is to help our clients and show them how they can maximize their biggest investment - their home – by making their property appeal to as many buyers as possible. Not only does this shorten their selling time, it also means that they won’t be waiting for ‘the right buyer’ or dealing with low ball offers. Buyers viewing their home are much more likely to see the value in the property and justify the asking price.

Our philosophy is simple. We believe every home owner is different and deserves to have his/her home treated with respect. This isn’t TV and we don’t make snide comments behind our client’s backs. We never make clients feel as if their furnishings are lacking, we always try to work with what they have but maybe put a new spin or finish on them. If that’s not possible then we move forward with rentals – with the client fully on board – so that we can do what they hired us to do – help them sell their home fast and for top dollar. It’s all about how we treat our clients. That’s what makes our clients open to suggestions and once we’ve done our job well, it paves the way to referrals and design business down the road!

However, as I’ve mentioned it doesn’t always go well. Clients aren’t always open to change. It’s our job to make sellers see the house from our point of view and that requires a combination of empathy, determination and finesse.

Clients and realtors have a job to play in this scenario too; it’s called trusting the professional you hired. We don’t take our job lightly and we endeavour to get the best possible results. This will mean addressing issues and situations which may prove uncomfortable for you and you clients. It’s a job we have been trained to do and in most cases, have years of experience doing. We know what works. We know what doesn’t work. We work hard to make sure the recommendations are delivered in such a way so that clients don’t get upset but it’s a fine line to walk. We can’t afford to not tell our clients the truth because then we’re gambling with their biggest asset: their home.

So, if you have hired a professional stager or you have chosen a stager to partner with as part of your real estate business, understand that as part of our job we’re going to have to address things that may make you or your clients uncomfortable. It’s not because we want to cause offence, it’s because we have been hired to help you or your clients see the property objectively. By helping you or your clients understand that in order for your house to sell fast and for its full value, we may have to take down those flowered borders, pack away the doll collections and pull up that pink carpet. All these things pave the way to making buyers fall in love with your home and want to buy it – which is the whole point. 


Posted by

Heather Cook  is Co-Owner and Principal Staging Designer of the award winning Rooms in Bloom Home Staging & Design Inc. based out of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON.


Contact us today so we can help you create the WOW Factor in your home.



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  1. Janice Ankrett 07/27/2010 01:50 PM
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ActiveRain Community
Ontario Waterloo Region Kitchener Kitchener-waterloo
Advice for Sellers
Canadian RE/Max Agents, Mortgage Brokers, Home Staggers Etc.
Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate
Real Estate In Hamilton and Surrounding Areas
Stage It Forward...
home staging
design to sell
occupied staging
real estate staging
renovating to sell

Comments 12 New Comment

Janice Ankrett
Burlington Ont. Accredited Staging Professional
Janice Ankrett Home Staging

Heather what a well written post! Timely for me because last night I had a very resistant client. Instead of listening the client spent the consult blaming it all on their spouse.

July 27, 2010 11:35 AM
Judy Colburn
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging
ProStaged Homes

How true Heather. You are so right. I feel really sad for the sellers who don't want to hear or listen and their homes sit on the market for months on end. I checked MLS yesterday to see if 2 certain homes where this was the case and they've both been taken off the market. They were gorgeous homes and with just a few changes would have sold quickly.

July 27, 2010 01:18 PM
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design ~

Pam - You hit the crux of the issue, absolutely. Sometimes it doesn't matter how we deliver the message, the client simply isn't ready to hear it. Until they are, there is very little that we can do. I have done consultations for clients who, in the end, opted to not implement any of the recommendations we gave them and put the house on the market 'as is'. Most of those homes either didn't sell (and the clients called us back) or they did but after 1 - 2 price reductions of tens of thousands of dollars. 

Lori Kim - I think finesse is absolutely the right term for what we have to do sometimes to get the clients to see that the recommendations we're making for their home are in their best interest to do. We need to be candid, open, empathetic and strong - all the while listening to our clients and reading their body language. 

Janice - I'm sorry to hear about your consult and hope that your client re-assesses things once she's had time to digest all the suggestions you gave her. Sometimes people just need a little space and time before they commit. Its happened that way to us a lot. I'm glad you liked my post - I've been struggling awhile with 'do I write it .. do I not?' Its been a topic on my mind for awhile ...

Judy - I feel sad too for the homes which never seem to sell and all you want is half an hour with the home owners to help them. There are a few that I have seen, and one I did a consultation for which wouldn't have taken a lot to get them to a point where they had broader appeal. 

July 27, 2010 05:07 PM
Shar Sitter
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M
Rooms With Style

I had a client that couldn't believe I wanted her to paint the bright green and hot pink bathroom that was done to look like tree bark. Yes.....tree bark in bright green and hot pink. She did it herself and was so proud of it. I guess the good news is she didn't pay someone to do that. But she did refuse to paint it and the bathroom was right inside the front door, ugh.

July 27, 2010 08:49 PM
Leanne Zumbrunnen
Z' Touch Home Staging

Heather, I sure hope a lot of homeowners read this. 

I had a client who had wallpaper borders in every room.  I feel wallpaper borders have been out for several years.  When I found out she did all of them in the last five years, I was really surprised.  I covered it up by saying "Wow!  I can't believe you did all that work in only five years.  I guess if they keep selling wallpaper border than obviously people will think they are still in vogue.

July 29, 2010 11:24 AM

Heather Cook

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Blog written by Heather Cook, award winning home staging designer for Rooms in Bloom Home Staging & Design Inc. Great information on home staging & re-design for realtors, sellers and buyers!