Money: Toronto houses often don’t look like the million bucks they cost. Enter luxury homestaging - - PressFrom - Canada
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MoneyToronto houses often don’t look like the million bucks they cost. Enter luxury homestaging

10:30  11 august  2019
10:30  11 august  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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What was once a million -dollar home has changed dramatically in Toronto . Our expectations haven’ t , experts say, leading realtors to use elaborate homestaging to When you picture a - million home , what does it look like — a sprawling mansion or a modest bungalow? In Toronto , where prices have

A million dollar house isn' t what it used to be Toronto . The picturesque area of Howth to the east of central Dublin is home to many expensive houses , but If you're willing to push the budget beyond a million bucks in Melbourne, you can snag this freshly renovated three bedroom in the Flemington area.

Toronto houses often don’t look like the million bucks they cost. Enter luxury homestaging© Sahar Fatima Luxury labels are one way realtors filling the gap between Toronto’s price tags and buyers expectations, experts say.

When you picture a $1-million home, what does it look like — a sprawling mansion or a modest bungalow?

In Toronto, where prices have more than doubled over the last decade, what was once a million-dollar home has changed dramatically. Our expectations haven’t, experts say, leading realtors to use luxurious and elaborate homestaging techniques in order to make up that gap in buyers’ imaginations.

That can include spending hundreds on fresh flowers. Dragging in designer couches. And even parking a BMW or Porsche in the driveway.

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Homestaging has been long-used to spruce up a place for showings. But in an increasingly inaccessible market, where average home prices sit at $806,755 in the GTA and mortgage debt has nearly doubled over the last 20 years according to Statistics Canada, industry experts say luxurious homestaging helps convince buyers the high price tag is worth it.

“I certainly think in some cases buyers end up overpaying for a property,” says John Pasalis, president of real estate brokerage company Realosophy. There are plenty of homes on the market that aren’t staged and have a good value, he said, but staging remains a clever way to attract buyers.

“Part of the challenge is people want kind of the dream home from day one,” he says, adding that can impact affordability as the homes that fit that mould are the most competitive.

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A search through MLS listings shows many ways in which homestaging beams luxury into the minds of buyers, such as Chanel bags lining a condo closet, a Tom Ford book strategically set on a coffee table, and a Louis Vuitton shopping bag placed in an apartment.

Upping the ante, Toronto-based real-estate team Heaps Estrin recently partnered with BMW to place their high-end cars in the driveways of some of their properties.

“We’re trying to connect the dots in terms of how people live, what they drive, what neighbourhoods they want to live in, what their lifestyle is and we want to create a picture for our clients,” says director of sales Manisha Dayaram. “We’re really trying to incorporate lifestyle into our marketing.”

Despite home ownership becoming increasingly out of reach, it’s still what many Canadians aspire to, says University of Waterloo assistant professor Nancy Worth, noting it’s “part of our cultural expectations in Canada.”

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Like this post? Like us on Facebook to get the next one right in your feed. It’s practically magic. According to official stats from City Hall, Toronto had 1.11 million occupied homes and John tory said there are 65,000 empty homes in Toronto .

But then buyers hit the market and realize they have to spend close to a million dollars or more to get a house in Toronto.

“This home staging is a way of sort of tapping into (the fact that) when we think about a million-dollar home, we think we’re getting a mansion with granite and stainless steel, and that’s not what a million dollars buys you in Toronto,” says Worth, who studies how young adults navigate the housing market.

“A million-dollar home in downtown Toronto can be something that’s pretty modest, actually, because the land is worth so much money.”

Staging allows realtors to offer a version of the dream or what that modest home could be in the future, Worth says. “So it’s sort of selling that dream, which is a dream you’re already holding on to.”

Not all homes are given the luxury treatment. As part of the BMW pilot program launched in June, vehicles were staged on three properties, in Rosedale, Leaside and Bennington Heights, ranging in list price from $2.9 to 5.9 million. One has sold and one is in the process of being sold, Dayaram says.

Realtor Shea Warrington says realtors need to strike a balance in making a home seem luxurious while still being attainable.

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Luxury Homestaging & Interior Design. Your home is a highly valuable asset – so think of homestaging not as a cost , but rather as an investment. Your property will look its best during the sales period without the cost or expense of a renovation.

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populous city in Canada, with a population of 2,731,571 in 2016. Current to 2016, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA)

“I think you have to create that luxury feeling, no matter the price point,” Warrington says, but, “you also don’t want to make people feel like they can’t live up to the house.”

For luxury properties, Warrington says she makes sure to use lighting, furniture and even champagne from high-end brands that would be recognizable to prospective buyers. She has spent $13,000, on high-end furniture to dress up a home, bought at a discount. She’s also put up original artwork, and spent $500 on fresh flowers.

But for some homes, she’ll draw more on sentiment than labels. For example, in a Beaches home of a woman in her late 50s, Warrington converted one room into a nursery even though the house had no baby to speak of.

“I think sometimes people forget how emotional real estate is,” Warrington says.

She says families who came to view the house would even change their babies in the room. She’s also commissioned an artist to do portraits of fake families to put up on the walls.

“You really are creating a stage because you want people to be able to walk in and feel that they are living that dream,” Warrington says. “When I take a house that really isn’t a luxury house, you’re demonstrating the possibilities.”

It’s a strategy that works for her, she says, noting she’s sold $25 million worth of real estate this year. Warrington says she makes up for the staging costs, as it helps her sell houses well above their asking price. That semi-detached home with the baby room, for example, was listed for $899,000 and sold for more than $1.2 million, she says.

Realtor Richard Silver says agrees a staged home will sell for higher than the same home left empty. Whatever sellers spend on staging can be made up by three or four times in the final offers. Plus the home sells faster, he adds.

“We’re living in HGTV syndrome,” he says.

Still, he warns that staging can also mask potential problems. A too-narrow room can be styled and photographed to appear spacious, and it could be too late by the time you realize a king bed and end tables don’t fit.

Warrington highlighted a long-term family home she once sold in midtown that she staged from top to bottom. It got 14 offers, but “really, it needed a complete renovation.”

“I think buyers have to be very careful sometimes,” Silver adds.

“What they see is a better product.”

Sahar Fatima is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @sahar_fatima

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