Staging Options in Winnipeg - Is it worth the money?

If you are landing here, you are likely debating whether or not staging is worth the expenditure in your situation. I am here to say, that in the majority of cases - IT IS!  A well-staged home, on average, sells for around 10% more than it's unstaged counterpart.  But more importantly, I want to tell you that:

Staging a home doesn't have to break the bank.

Staging is one of the most important tasks in preparing your home for a potential buyer.  Good staging will accomplish a few tasks:

  1. It will present a blank canvas that buyer’s can envision themselves in
  2. It will improve flow of the space and actually make the home feel bigger (think less congested)
  3. It will eliminate or reduce buyer objections
  4. It will statistically get your home sold more quickly.

I've likened it to creating a blank canvas - which is NOT to mean sterile or devoid of emotional appeal.  Instead we focus on the the importance of neutralizing a space while preserving the emotional appeal that will attract our buyer.  Blank canvas does mean a touch of minimalism and muted colors. Why, you may ask? Because the majority of potential buyers prefer not to see the current homeowner's personal life on display when considering a property for purchase. Instead, they want to envision their own life in that space. Therefore, we always recommend depersonalizing the home by packing away family photos, religious items, and the like to be taken to the seller's next residence.

Our staging techniques revolve around crafting a lifestyle that resonates with the neighborhood and the demographics of the area. We tailor our design plans accordingly, ensuring they align with the potential buyers' preferences and aspirations. Staging a home truly involves much more than merely arranging furniture. As Realtors, our ultimate objective is to diligently represent our clients' best interests, taking into account the nuances of each property and its potential buyers. 

There are a variety of options when it comes to staging:

  • Full home stage
  • Accessory stage
  • Rework stage
  • Virtual stage

All of our listings begin with sending a stager in to assemble a plan for the property.  As your agent, we will have likely determined just which stage would be best for your property and given instruction as to goals with the stager.  During this staging appointment, the stager will then go with you room-by-room and give her recommendations.  There is a written plan to follow, so don't worry too much about taking notes! She will also talk to you (if we haven't already) about projects around the house that can minimize buyer objections – for example touch-up painting, etc.  The idea is to have the canvas ready when furniture starts to be brought in.

Full Home Stage

Let’s start with what is involved in a full home stage.  This is usually staging a home from a vacant position or nearly vacant position.  The stager will be bringing in a full suite to dress up your house including Living Room furniture and accessories, dining room, bedroom, etc.  You name it, they do it.  The process itself can be incredibly quick. They show up with their movers on staging day and unload a truck and have the entire place staged in a matter of hours.  Oftentimes, this does also involve some hanging of art, etc.  One of my favourite tasks that stagers do is bringing in mirrors to reflect natural light coming in. A strategically-placed mirror can brighten up spaces and make rooms feel larger. Here are some homes we have fully-staged recently:

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There are a few different homes used above ranging across various price-points. All of these homes were staged in under 5 hours with the assistance of a full team of movers, stagers, stager assistants, and or course - the Realtor.

This staging is best utilized when a home is mostly vacant or next to vacant and needs a lot of help in demonstrating just how to use the various spaces. Bonus rooms are great, but if a Buyer can't see a vision for how to use it, it can feel like "too much house" or "wasted space".


The cost for a stage such as this is typically around $2500 and upwards (depends on the size of the home and how much furniture is required) for the first month, should the seller wish to pay out of pocket. Then, there is a monthly ongoing fee for rental (around half of the initial "installation" amount). Usually, I will take on the expense of this and wrap it into commissions, should the Seller not be comfortable with a huge cash outlay. 

I am happy to take on that risk, I believe in staging that much!

We will discuss these options with you, and let you decide what is right for you.  Sometimes, staging isn't right for your situation.  In all honesty, maximizing dollar return, while often the most common goal, doesn't ALWAYS have to be the end-goal. And that's okay, too! 

A recent case study: In the case of the home pictured above with the blue furniture, this owner had three opinions of value given. Myself and two others. The two other Realtors suggested selling the home in as-is condition without paint touch-ups, a few minor updates (upgrading a few light fixtures, flooring repair, deep clean, etc). Weekend-warrior type items, really. I suggested the opposite, to tackle these projects as there was a substantial dollar return to doing so. I accepted wrapping the fee of the proper home prep (staging, minor painting, deep cleaning) into the commissions, at a cost of $5000. The Seller informed me upon sale, that we had gotten him $25,000 more than the other two Realtors had quoted him as his "max" selling price. A worthy investment, if you ask me!

Accessory Stage

The next option is an accessory stage.  This is a more commonly-used option, I find. Most sellers already have furniture that suits their home, and sometimes it just needs help in a few key other areas.  For this type of stage, our stager comes through and makes a list with the seller, of items that need to be brought in.  Sometimes the seller might already have the items the stager needs elsewhere in the home and we simply move things around.  Other times however, a second visit is scheduled and the stager brings in the missing pieces.  Sometimes this can be art, sometimes it means bedding, towels, throw-pieces, smaller chairs, etc.  This does not involve hiring movers and is much less costly as a result.  Usually, we are paying less than $500 for these accessory-type stages and are already including it in our commisison.  Below is a recent accessory stage we did for a client.  He was downsizing (in his 90's), and keeping some of his "favourite" pieces - this couch included. Here, we brought in pieces to accent and modernize the home.

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This home had a bidding war, despite selling in December right before Christmas, and in a declining market (and no, we weren't underpriced). Well worth the investment!

Virtual Staging

Another option for a vacant listing stage is virtual staging.  I’ll include some before and after pictures so that you can see what I’m referring to.  In essence, no staging is physically done within the property.  We are paying a graphic designer to take the pictures of vacant rooms and doing an overlay with furniture to show size and scale.  Some before and afters:

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The bedroom picture above was a condominium we sold in Tuxedo. The condominium was next to vacant with the exception of a couple of lights in the bedroom to brighten things up.  We had the photos virtually staged and we put the listing up for a few days prior to allowing showings to begin.  Day one had several showings that resulted in two offers.  Competing offers on a condominium in Winnipeg are NOT common.  The owner was thrilled with the results!

This is most appropriate when timelines are tighter, or when the budget doesn’t allow for a full physical stage – because the pictures can be edited for as little as $20 USD per picture.  The impact is pretty significant though.  I would say the majority of listings that we have with virtually staged pictures, have much higher-than-average traffic visiting them. The process itself is quite simple – we take the images from our photographer, send them off to our graphic designer that does our virtual staging.  We usually get them back within 48 hours from the time the pictures are originally taken. Now just a couple notes for this- you need good pictures to work from.  Professional quality, ideally.  I’ve seen virtual staging on bad pictures and it just looks awful.  Secondly, not all virtual stagers are created equal.  I’ve seen some very poorly done examples on even good quality photos. Thirdly - you should denote in your listing that some images are virtually staged, so Buyers aren't shocked when they show up! We have found using a blend of virtually staged combined with unstaged images to have the best result. And last but not least, we do not have the technology YET to virtually stage a video - but that will hopefully change soon!

In Conclusion...

There are a variety of staging options when selling.  However, the type of staging that we will recommend will be specific for your house, situation and timeline.  Always seek advice from your Realtor on just what needs to be done to show your home in its best light. But what I do want you to take away from this, is that homes really do benefit from staging in some regard. In a recent study done by the National Association of Realtors, 96% of buyers agents agree that home staging has an effect on how buyers view homes. Further, when it comes to your bottom line, a staged home will typically sell more.  So quite frankly – if you aren’t properly staging your home – you are likely leaving money on the table!

More on that study, here:,statistics%20may%20change%20some%20minds.

best real estate agent in winnipeg MB#AgentJen

Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945

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