Five tips for successful home staging

In a competitive housing market, if you want to sell your home faster and get your asking price, a degree of home staging is a must.

“In my opinion, staging is mandatory,” said Robyn Moser, a REALTOR® and team lead with Robyn Moser & Associates, members of RE/MAX Realty Professionals.

“We’ve actually studied the difference staging a home can make and the result was that staging, on average, was worth another $3,000 to $5,000 in the selling price.”

Staging can encompass a wide variety of actions, she says, from a few easy tricks to bringing in new furniture or even a professional home stager who will provide their own furnishings.

“You want to have just enough furniture so that people can see what it’s like furnished, but not cluttered or with too many personal items on display,” said Moser.

“Staged actually sells better than empty, so for some people, it might even be worth it to buy some inexpensive furniture on Kijiji and then resell it afterwards.”

She says the investment of a few hundred dollars up front could be well worth it when the home sells.


It’s OK to leave some family photos out, she adds, but not so many that it comes off as cluttered.

“People still want to buy from real people,” said Moser. “They want to know that real people with real lives lived there.”

She recommends “hiding” all pet items, religious items and things like ashtrays that might have a subconscious impact on potential buyers who don’t subscribe to those lifestyles.

In addition to the common-sense moves mentioned above, Moser offers the following five tips for successful staging:

  • “Use all white sheets, towels, bedspreads and shower curtains. Nothing says ‘clean’ like white.”
  • “Paint has an 80 to 100 per cent return, so freshen it up if you can. Get rid of bold colours and try to keep things neutral.”
  • “Plug in an apple-cinnamon Glade air freshener and turn all your lights on before showings. Try to engage as many of the buyers’ senses as possible.”
  • “Turn the heat up, so it’s a little warmer than usual. You want people to be comfortable, not cold – especially in winter.”
  • “Have some soft music playing. Spotify even has an ‘Open House’ channel.”


April 2020: Calgary real estate market feeling impact of COVID-19

After the first full month with social distancing measures in place, the housing market is adjusting to the effects of COVID-19.

April sales hit 573 units, a decline of 63 per cent over last year.

“The decline in home sales does not come as a surprise. The combined impact of COVID-19 and the situation in the energy sector is causing housing demand to fall,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Demand is also falling faster than supply. This is keeping the market in buyers’ territory and weighing on prices.”

Sales activity eased across all price ranges, but the largest declines were for homes priced above $600,000.


With a greater share of the sales occurring in the lower price ranges, the average price decline was more than eight per cent. Prices for the average home are also declining, reflected by the benchmark price, which fell by nearly two per cent compared to last year.

New listings this month totalled 1,425 units, a decline of 54 per cent compared to last year. Inventories also declined, but with 5,565 units available, they remained high enough to push the months of supply above nine months.

The economic impact of the situation is significant and early indications point toward more job losses and higher unemployment rates. Several government incentives will help cushion the blow, but challenges in the housing market are expected to persist throughout this year.



  • Detached sales eased by 63 per cent this month compared to last year, with the largest decline in the West district.
  • Slower demand was also met with easing supply, as new listings declined by 57 per cent. Overall, inventories eased by 25 per cent compared to last year. Despite the decline in inventory, the months of supply rose to more than eight months.
  • The detached benchmark price eased by one per cent over last year, totalling $479,100. Prices managed to remain flat in both the South and South East districts. The highest price decline was in the City Centre, with a drop of more than three per cent.


  • Apartment sales slowed to 95 units. This is a 62 per cent decline over last year. New listings also slowed, but it was not enough to support a larger decline in inventory levels, which only eased by 13 per cent compared to last year. With 1,349 units in inventory, the months of supply rose to 14 months.
  • Condominium prices were falling before recent developments in the market and the pace of decline remained relatively unchanged at more than two per cent compared to last year. Since the first energy crisis in 2014, the citywide apartment benchmark price has declined by nearly 19 per cent.
  • Year-over-year prices have eased across almost all districts, but the South East district saw the largest year-over-year decline this month at nearly six per cent.


  • Semi-detached and row properties recorded a significant drop in sales and new listings, causing inventories to decline by nearly 20 per cent. However, with a combined inventory of 1,441 units compared to just 138 sales, the months of supply rose to over 10 months.
  • Semi-detached prices eased across all districts for a citywide year-over-year decline of nearly three per cent. The City Centre recorded the largest year-over-year decline at four per cent.
  • Row priced declined in all areas except the East district. Citywide row prices declined by more than two per cent for a total of $278,300.



  • Sales in Airdrie slowed to 60 units in April. This decline in sales was met with a similar decline in new listings, which totalled 107 units. This helped reduce inventory levels, but with 407 units still in inventory, the months of supply rose to nearly seven months.
  • Overall, the benchmark price remains comparable to last year. Average prices have declined, but some of this is due to more homes being sold in lower price ranges, as there was a significant decline in sales for homes priced above $500,000.


  • April sales in Cochrane dropped to 29 units. This is 55 per cent below levels recorded in the previous year. However, new listings also eased. With only 61 new listings in the market, inventories declined to 281 units.
  • Prices were easing before social distancing measures were put in place and April’s benchmark price totalled $398,900. This is nearly two per cent lower than last year. However, both the median and average price rose compared to last year. This is likely due to more homes being sold in higher price ranges, as there were no sales recorded in the lowest price range.


  • Both sales and new listings dropped, with totals of 17 and 44 units, respectively. Inventory remained well below last year’s levels, but weaker demand pushed up the months of supply to nearly 12 months.
  • Prices were trending down from the start of the year, but levels have remained relatively stable compared to the previous year. In April, the benchmark price continued to trend down, totalling $402,300.


The Bank of Canada has not changed it’s Prime lending rate

The necessary efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a sudden and deep contraction in economic activity and employment worldwide. In financial markets, this has driven a flight to safety and a sharp repricing of a wide range of assets. It has also pushed down prices for commodities, especially oil. In this environment, the Canadian dollar has depreciated since January, although by less than many other currencies. The sudden halt in global activity will be followed by regional recoveries at different times, depending on the duration and severity of the outbreak in each region. This means that the global economic recovery, when it comes, could be protracted and uneven.
The Canadian economy was in a solid position ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak, but has since been hit by widespread shutdowns and lower oil prices. One early measure of the extent of the damage was an unprecedented drop in employment in March, with more than one million jobs lost across Canada. Many more workers reported shorter hours, and by early April some six million Canadians had applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
The outlook is too uncertain at this point to provide a complete forecast. However, Bank analysis of alternative scenarios suggests the level of real activity was down 1-3 percent in the first quarter of 2020, and will be 15-30 percent lower in the second quarter than in fourth-quarter 2019. CPI inflation is expected to be close to 0 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This is primarily due to the transitory effects of lower gasoline prices.
The pandemic-driven contraction has prompted decisive policy action to support individuals and businesses and to lay the foundation for economic recovery once containment measures start to ease. Fiscal programs, designed to expand according to the magnitude of the shock, will help individuals and businesses weather this shutdown phase of the pandemic, and support incomes and confidence leading into the recovery. These programs have been complemented by actions taken by other federal agencies and provincial governments.

Weekly Real Estate Showing Report

The showing activity over the past week on CIR’s listings….is up??  We estimate the amount of showings to have declined approximately 80% compared to where we would normally be for April.  While the showings are substantially lower than what would be considered normal for an April market, they have increased 27% week over week with the highest uptick of activity being in the $200,000 – $400,000 price ranges. We could speculate that this activity could be due to investors and first time buyers still making moves in the market.   The sales have continued to lag behind the decreased showing activity as we are currently seeing 50% less sales in the first two weeks in April compared to the same time period in 2019.  While it is too early to tell if we have hit a baseline for showings, we will continue to monitor to keep everyone informed.Weekly Showing Report April 13

CIR Realty

CIR Realty Monthly Showing Report

It was a tale of two markets in March!  We came out of the gates with the momentum that was building through the last half of 2019 and the first couple months of 2020.  The first two weeks of the month were well ahead of 2019’s sales numbers, and in line with the past five years trends. The last two weeks of the month told a very different story as sales and inventory levels both dropped substantially.
Even amidst the fear and the uncertainty there are bright spots within the markets. While much of the Province experienced sales drop between -4.6% (Lethbridge region) to -38.7% (Alberta West region), there were two areas that remained remarkably balanced compared to March of 2019.  The Edmonton (down -1.8%) and Central Alberta (up 1.6%)  regions both had comparable sales to the year before. Now both of those areas are trending below the five year averages, but all things considered in the World today, I would look at that as a win.
The more challenged areas are the most Northern regions of Grande Prairie (-19%) and Fort McMurray (-29.7%), as well as Alberta West (-38.7%). This is likely due to a combination of the Corvid-19 virus, and the troubles in the energy sector. The markets in Calgary and surrounding area were middle of the pack losing -9.8% in sales compared March ’19. The other very real challenge ahead is that the longer this lasts, the more likely it will become that there will be more sellers in the market that need to sell compared to buyers that need to buy. This will then offset the inventory and we will begin to see prices adjust.
The showing volume for CIR listings is a great indicator of how the markets are adjusting as we ended the month with just over 4,000 showings which is down 35% from the month before. The decline in showings continued to drop week over week until we ended with a third of what they were in the first week of the month. This tells us that the markets will continue to slow in the coming weeks.

Monthly Shwoing Report March

CIR Realty

CIR Realty Weekly Showing Report

When looking at the Showings for CIR’s listings, this past week brought with it another increase in showings with a remarkable uptick of 172 showings for a total of 604 in the $300,000 – $400,000 price range. Perhaps the relaxation with the mortgage stress test combined with news of lowering interest rates sparked more interest in the markets. With the recent news in regards to the Covid-19 virus, the volatility in the stock market, as well as the rapid decline in oil prices, we will see what the next few weeks bring and what that will mean for the Real Estate markets. As of right now, the showings volumes are holding strong coming into Spring

The Real Estate Market has continued to show signs of strength coming out of February and into Spring.

The Real Estate Market has continued to show signs of strength coming out of February and into Spring.  With sales across the Province increasing by over 11% compared to last February, that brings the year to date sales slightly above the past five years average activity. This still remains below the longer ten year averages but continues to show signs of stability in most of the markets. While the inventory levels climb coming into the busier Spring markets, the sales have been strong enough to offset it in most markets, allowing the months of inventory to drop which is ideal for price stability.

The hot spots in the Province were in the Lethbridge, Grand Prairie, and Calgary regions.  According to the Alberta Real Estate Association, the surge in sales year to date of over 21.6% year over year in Lethbridge has surpassed numbers as far back as 2008! The listing inventory has continued to climb in as well, but it has not kept up the pace to sales, so the months of inventory has been dropping. This is a great sign for the area as we have been concerned about the rising inventory levels in the Lethbridge region, but buyer confidence seems to be strong in the area. The Grand Prairie markets appear to have picked up steam due to the recent downward pressure in prices, whether that area has hit bottom remains to be seen as inventory levels remain quite high. And finally, Calgary where the sales have continued to outpace the new inventory coming onto the market which has led to the largest drop in months of inventory across the Province.
The challenged markets through the first couple of months are the Central Alberta and Medicine Hat areas.  The Red Deer area continues to be challenged with a rising unemployment levels. The Medicine Hat markets appear to be more of an over supply issue where the inventory is outpacing the sales activity.
As for CIR, we are seeing the showing activity for CIR’s listings significantly increased in February over January jumping to over 6,200 showings. The high sales activity that we saw in the $300,000 – $400,000 range in February correlates with the above average showings in that range in January. We anticipate the same to happen in the move up markets in the coming months as a result of the higher than average number of showings in that range.
Weekly Showing Report Feb 24
As a company, we have also experienced a significant uptick in sales. While Alberta had an increase of 11% in sales in February, CIR Realty had an uptick of 39% in February. We have been very happy to see that trend continue with an increase of 40% in the first week of March compared to last years numbers. While the numbers in 2019 were less than ideal, the numbers in February and March are the third best in the past decade.
There is a large degree of uncertainty in the world today which could end up slowing things down, but if these trends continue we anticipate a very busy Spring market. The necessity to understand the markets with in the markets continues to be so important in today’s Real Estate Markets. The “new norm” for markets requires an understanding of how to position a home into the marketplace based on the activity occurring in order to get it sold. Having a strategy, pricing the home properly with a compelling price, and keeping the home in ideal condition for the pricing strategy are all key components to a sale in todays markets.
-CIR Realty

Weekly Real Estate Showings

The largest slow downs were in the $300,000 – $600,000 price ranges however the showing activity in these price ranges continue to be above average since we started tracking this information.  The most notable changes are the increase in showing activity in the $200,000 – $300,000, and the $600,000 – $700,000 ranges.  The upper price ranges remain remarkably consistent for showing activity as well.

Weekly Showing Report Feb 24