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Home Staging Tips – Appeal to All Five Senses


If you want to sell your house quickly, you need to look at it as a commodity rather than your home – a product and a lifestyle to be sold in the open market. You have to essentially become a retailer with a product to sell.

A general rule I follow when preparing a home to impress potential buyers is to satisfy as many senses as I can in each room. Use these tips as a guide to create a special experience during viewings, and keep them in mind when walking through your house.


#1 Smell

There was a time when it was rare to hear of someone having allergic reactions to typical scents such as perfume, candles, incense and air fresheners, but it has increased to a degree that it is best to avoid having these scents linger in your home during showings and open houses. A scent that will appeal to people with allergies and everyone else in general is the smell of freshness that comes with cleanliness. Just before a showing or open house, wipe all the floors with hot water and a mild cleaning solution.

The smell of cookies or bread baking, or coffee brewing, makes it very obvious that you are working hard to impress. If you feel that it will work for your particular target market, go for it – but for experienced buyers, it will only look like a phony act.

#2 Touch

Buyers respond positively when they touch something that is velvety soft and plush. They cannot resist a blanket strewn over the end of a bed or the back of a chair, luscious bed linen and curtain fabrics, or extra plush white towels. Equally memorable (and not in a positive way) is when they touch something sticky or gooey on a banister, door handle or cabinet pull. This is a big turn-off, so make sure that everything they may touch is clean.

#3 Taste

If possible, leave a candy bowl or cookie jar available for people to help themselves. Leave a small, discreet card of thanks next to it that says something like, “Thank you for stopping by. Please treat yourself.”

#4 Hearing

If you are fortunate enough to have stereo speakers wired throughout your house, play soft background music that caters to your target market. If not, play music in the living room or family room on low volume. Currently, soft jazz seems to be the overall favourite genre but other gentle music works well too.

#5 Sight


It is very important to consider lighting when preparing a room for staging. It will improve a potential buyer’s ability to determine whether the space is large enough for their needs, so it is important to illuminate all of the walls. If you cannot see a portion of a room due to a lack of lighting (such as a dark corner), a room may appear or feel smaller than it really is.

Use as much natural light as possible. This may require cutting back the overgrown bushes or pruning a tree around the exterior of the house. If appropriate, remove drapes to open the space and allow more sunlight into the room. If the drapes are in style, of good quality, and positioned so they do not interfere with the window, leave them up but keep them wide open.

Add extra lamps everywhere they look natural. Position a lamp on a table or place a floor lamp next to a chair. Every lamp needs to be anchored by a piece of furniture or it will look awkward and unnatural.


Colour is a fabulous, versatile tool when preparing a house for sale. It can depersonalize, create a mood, add warmth, attract or distract attention, encourage the direction of the tour, and increase memory. All of this can be done with little money and time. For more on the use of colour on walls, see Home Staging Tips #3: Paint it Right.

The use of vibrant colours can attract attention to a particular highlight of a room, such as a fireplace, custom window or architectural detail. Place a large piece of art above the fireplace that consists of reds, oranges and/or yellows, and it becomes the focal point. Vibrant colour can also be used to distract the eye away from a less desirable aspect of the room, such as an outdated fireplace, by creating a focal point in another area of the room – such as above the couch. Stage the room to display a desirable lifestyle and you’ve just minimized the importance of the fireplace to acquire a certain design or feel in the room.

Whatever vibrant colour you choose to use as your attention-getter, do not use it for any other purpose. Reserve that colour only for attracting (or distracting) attention. The other colours used in a room should be the chosen primary, secondary, and tertiary colours. Repeat a colour in a room at least three times so it does not look like an accident.

Using colour to highlight a special feature in your home will also increase the chances that potential buyers will remember your house over someone else’s. The house will be remembered through reference to the attention getter, for example, “We loved the house with the bold painting above the fireplace. Remember? The room was so inviting and warm.”


I firmly believe that hardware is jewelry for the home; for example, cabinet hardware, sink faucets, lighting fixtures and bathroom accessories. Consider what jewelry or accessories can do for a plain black suit. If you want to make a large impact on a room, change or update the room’s “jewelry” and it will shine. Try to keep all your choices similar in metal type; for example, if you choose chrome in the kitchen, use chrome throughout the house with perhaps just one exception.

A popular trend in the bathroom is still the “spa” look and feel. This can be accomplished with chrome, white and glass. Use white for fabrics, such as towels. You could install chrome plumbing fixtures and towel bars, glass cabinet doorknobs and a glass shower enclosure.

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Maximize Functionality in Your Condo Bathroom

transitional-bathroomYour condo bathroom is undoubtedly one of the most important rooms in your home.  Unfortunately, designers and architects may not always give this highly functional space the attention it deserves to maximize each inch.  Before considering reno ideas you need to identify any limitations that may exist through your condo strata.

The most popular design theme for bathroom renos is a spa-like atmosphere, complemented by low-maintenance features. When working within the restrictions of limited condo space and strata guidelines, it may be best to work with an expert, to maximize every inch of that tiny space.

The following are a few tips to create a spa-like atmosphere and maximize your bathroom space:

bathroomGlass-enclosed showers/tubs

The shower typically takes up one-third of the space, based on a standard-sized tub. By eliminating the shower curtain, the visual space extends through the entire room. Sleek, minimal fixtures create a low-maintenance barrier, while creating a spa-like feel.

Shower seats

Seen in luxury bathrooms, seating is becoming more commonplace. The built-in seat lends itself to relaxing in the shower, with the added functionality of storing products.

Neutral tones and natural materials

Soft neutral colours in the white and beige categories help create that spa atmosphere. Stone and wood add a soothing touch of nature. With this smaller space the overall cost will be far less,  compared to installing stone tiles in a kitchen. The use of natural stone and wood also add a touch of luxury, while adding value to your condo design.

Wall-mounted vanities and toilets

These extend the site line, creating a sense of increased floor space, without detracting from storage space. Rimless toilets also add to the spa-like effect with a minimalistic style, while increasing ease in cleaning. Work with your builder to determine what is possible with the existing plumbing and strata guidelines.

Get Excited about Shower-heads

The options are plentiful when considering fixtures to turn the shower/tub space into a total spa experience. Think beyond the traditional and visit showrooms for the complete array of options when designing your condo bathroom.

Tip: Installing a steam shower will require special insulation so be sure to consult your builder and strata before purchase.

Before you splash out, reach out to a certified builder or designer experienced in condo bathroom renovations. Strata rules, and common walls and plumbing will determine the parameters of your renovation. Using a builder knowledgeable in strata rules and bylaws will save you time and money, with maximum results.


The Importance of Communities for our Wellbeing

Some clients express frustration when looking for a home due to a dying sense of community in neighbourhoods. It is often something they can not define when I ask them what they are looking for; but something they definitely feel when it is absent.  What does community mean to you?  Recently, a friend sent me a link to a TedTalk by Charles Montgomery which presents solid evidence for the importance of communities and social systems for our well being as humans.  I found it very interesting and would like to share it with you in this edition of Corner Lot.

Comments welcomed!

5 Hot Trends in Home Décor

Painted Front Door

Trends come and go…. As a realtor I see many homes, from fresh off the press designs by highly rated interior decorators, to the spectacularly staged  and newly renovated. The following are a few hot trends in home décor which are showing signs of longevity:

  • 50 Shades of Gray

Warm grays with yellow or reddish undertones are the new neutrals. These shades are versatile, warm and enticing, shedding the old boring reputation of gray. If you have beige walls, switching to a warm gray is easy yet impactful. The shades are distant cousins, so the switch should not be too difficult if you find the right shade of gray to replace your beige.

  • Colour is knocking at the Front Door

A front door painted in a vivid colour might be all your home needs to give it a face lift. Popular shades include cherry, dark purple, emerald and teal.  This can be an easy do it yourself project and the colour does not need to be replicated on other accent pieces.

  • Black & White & Marsala

Black & White  combos, as well as Marsala can add sophistication to a room. Black & White patterns can be incorporated in wall paper, table linens, cushions and ceramics.  Marsala,  is a newbie, in that it is a less bold variant to burgundy and wine, which have both been popular over the years, allowing the colour to be used as a neural which adds to its appeal.  Consider using Marsala on accent walls, cushions and drapes to replace darker shades of beige for a punch of colour that adds class and warmth.

  • Holy matrimony of Wood & Metal

This combo revives ordinary wood furniture with a touch of industrial contemporary for a timeless clean-line design.  Wood, especially warmly stained or unstained and heavily grained varieties, plays up the natural look, while bold metals add interest and modern appeal. Dining sets, cabinets, bar stools, bookcases and coffee tables can become more appealing with the marriage of wood and metal.

  • Wallpaper Revival

Forget everything you know about wallpaper.  There are now many great options on the market. You can find just about any design, the only problem you may have is deciding which to choose.  The trend is to use wallpaper for an accent wall or a small space, such as an entryway or powder room.  Transform the dullest room to a chic Parisian escape or go bold for a contemporary oasis.

Time to sell?

vancouver, todd johnson,realestate ,sutton

Todd Johnson Real Estate

“How much could we get for our house or condo in today’s market?” “How long would it take to sell?” “Does it make sense to make a move now, or should we wait?” “What’s pushing and pulling the market? Interest rates, exchange rate, foreign money?”

Even if you’re not the least bit serious about making a move, you probably ask yourself questions like these from time to time. Most home owners do. It’s natural. So why not find out the answers? How? Give me a call! I’d be happy to drop by to give you a clear idea of what the current market value of your house is and what to expect should you decide to sell. There’s no obligation.


Why You Should Order Your Own Credit Report

“I don’t have a problem with credit, I pay my bills on time. I will never have trouble getting a loan.” That may be true. However, according to several surveys, most people are surprised by at least one piece of information on their credit report. And it only takes one derogatory item to create an obstacle to getting the lowest mortgage rate possible, or even getting a mortgage at all.

That’s why it’s important to check your credit report before you shop for a new home. You will then have the opportunity to deal with any unexpected issues.

For example, you may discover an error, which is not unusual. If you do find there is a mistake in your credit report, inform the credit bureau immediately. They are required, by law, to promptly make a correction.

If there are late payments noted on your credit report, you can write a letter of explanation to the credit bureau telling your side of the story. This will accompany the credit information that goes to your lender. Assuming everything else in your credit report is fairly good, most lenders will accept a reasonable explanation for late payments, such as being laid off from a job, an extended illness in the family, or military service overseas.

How do you get your credit report?

There are three major credit bureaus in North America:

* Equifax (<>)
* Trans Union (<>)
* Experian (<>)

You can order a credit report at a reasonable fee from all three bureaus. It’s a good idea to order all three credit reports as not all companies report credit information to each bureau.

Getting your credit report, and checking that it’s accurate, will make the home buying process go a lot more smoothly.

Seven Easy Renos to Modernize Your Home

If you are concerned that your home may look dated. Read on for 7 easy renos that can increase your home’s value without breaking your bank account.

Kitchen backsplash: Modernize your kitchen with a new backsplash.  A backsplash uses minimal tiles which means you may be able to splurge a bit to instantly improve the appeal of your kitchen. If you are on a tight budget, a clip-and stick-adhesive backsplash may be a good option as you can install it on your own.

Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can work wonders for a room. Consider using an environmentally-friendly paint, there are many options on the market now that are cheaper than regular paint. Selecting an accent wall is also a good way to add a burst of colour to liven up a small space without overwhelming your audience.

Enhanced bedroom lighting: Change the look and mood of the room with flattering lighting. Rather than splurging on a chandelier a beautiful semi-flush pendant light will do the trick. It will add some instant elegance and doesn’t have to be centred over the bed to get the right look.

Fireplace: Cozy up your living space with an electric fireplace. No need to go with the chunky built-in ones, consider a sleek, chimney-free electric fireplace, which can be installed by you. It can be placed against a wall or mounted on an entertainment stand. Installing one at eye level will allow for viewing from greater distances.

Laminate wood floors: There are some great laminate floors on the market that are durable and look like the real deal. Laminate is a good alternative to a worn carpet and gives the home and instant modern appeal.  If you cannot afford to redo your entire home, focus on the living and dining areas.

Accent wallpaper: Drastically change the look of a space by creating an accent wall with patterned wallpaper. Wallpaper has resurfaced has an excellent way to glam up a dull room. The life span of wallpaper is around 15 years, which means it is worth the effort to install.

Paint kitchen cabinets: Refresh tired looking cabinets by sanding them down and painting them. Add some extra punch with some fancy knobs or sleek handles for an updated look.

Simple Energy Boosters to Keep You Buzzing

We’ve all been there, packed agenda for the day……………but, you just don’t have the energy. You think of grabbing a coffee or some chips to fill you up for a quick burst of energy, or maybe an energy drink. You had a good breakfast and a healthy filling lunch, yet you feel so drained.  Did you know there are a few simple essential foods that can give us a natural energy boost when we incorporate them in our diet at the right time and in the right quantity during the day?

Eat more iron from plants

Certain nutrients, especially iron, may help you feel more energized. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue and impair physical and mental endurance. Iron is needed to deliver oxygen to cells, and too little has also been shown to decrease immunity. Great plant sources of iron include beans, lentils, spinach, and sesame seeds; eating them with vitamin C-rich foods can boost iron absorption.

Eat the right food combos

For maximum energy, combine a portion of fruit or vegetable, a whole grain, a lean protein, a plant-based fat (such as nuts) and a herb or spice. This combination work wonders for boosting energy levels and keeping our body in balance.

Up your intake of Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps produce carnitine, a molecule that helps our body burn fat for energy. You’re likely to have up to a 50% drop in muscle carnitine levels if you’re vitamin C-depleted. A glass of orange juice a day is a good source of Vitamin C, in addition to fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli and brussel sprouts.

Incorporate lean proteins and complex carbs into every meal

Including lean protein and complex carbs in every meal (e.g. yogurt, nuts, beans, chicken, turkey, cheese, milk, granola, oats, quinoa and brown rice) will boost your energy by giving you a constant source of fuel during the day, as opposed to simple carbs such as sugar and white bread which only provide a short term energy source, leaving you tired and fatigued.

Let’s Make You Some More Money!


Most people don’t know where to start once they’ve decided to sell their home. Do you start with those creaky stairs you’ve been meaning to fix, or repaint that outdated color in the kitchen? A lurking question for many sellers is how will this add to the resale value of my home? I’ve created a checklist to help clients focus on key areas that can woo potential buyers. Follow these 10 simple steps to get your home ready for the market and add more value to your investment.

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