All the world’s a stage

Everything I know about staging a home I learned from the TV show, Sell This House.

I staged my first condo and sold it in less than a week. Then I staged my first fix and flip. Potential home buyers told my real estate agent that they thought it was professionally staged. After being on the market for a week and a two-day open house, I received seven offers for the house.

When staging your house, remember to de-clutter. Remove all unnecessary furniture, small kitchen appliances and knick-knacks from your end tables, book shelves and bedroom side tables. This helps each room appear larger and provides better flow through the house.

Clean the house from top-to-bottom. You want to make your house sparkle. A spotless house also shows potential home buyers that it is well taken care of.

Patch and paint any scuffs or cracks on the walls. The more the house appears turn-key ready, the better for re-sale.

Remove all personal photos of yourself from walls, bookshelves and end tables. This will help potential home buyers picture themselves living in your home.

Let light in. Draw the curtains and blinds to brighten up the room and turn on all the lights. Natural and artificial light help make the house appear bright and cheery as opposed to dark and gloomy.

And lastly, fill the rooms with fresh cut flowers. The look and smell of fresh cut flowers will help entice any potential home buyer.

Fresh cut sunflowers from the market
Fresh cut sunflowers from the market

8 must see ‘before & after’ home reno photos

The renovations of my first flip lasted two and a half years. It was worth it. I would do it all over again. Here are some ‘before and after’ photos:

Front Room - Before
Front Room – Before
Front Room - After
Front Room – After
Middle Room - Before
Middle Room – Before
Middle Room - After
Middle Room – After
Kitchen - Before
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen - After
Kitchen – After
Master - Before
Master – Before
Master - After
Master – After

The secrets to house flipping

Over seven years ago, I took the plunge and became a first-time house flipper. I was obsessed with the TV show, Flip This House, and watched it religiously. I thought to myself, I can do this. And so began the journey.

The house was a two-storey, semi-detached, Victorian fixer upper. It sat on a quiet, tree-lined street in an upcoming neighbourhood with nosy neighbours. The house had a lot of charm, including a stain glass front window, original hardwood flooring throughout and a claw foot bathtub. But it was in need of a lot of work.
It had absolutely zero curb appeal. The rickety front porch would need to be replaced. Walls would need to be torn down to create an open concept. Every wall in the house repainted to cover the hideous peach paint colour. The carpet on the stairs would need to be torn out, steps and risers sanded and painted. A tiny closet in the master bedroom would need to be removed and replaced with built-in closets. Every light fixture and faucet would also go. The un-kept backyard had to be cleared to turn it into a livable, outdoor space. It was no small feat and would take the better part of two and a half years.


First, the budget. How much would I need to spend in order to turn a profit? My real estate agent helped determine the going rate for comparable homes in the neighbourhood. It was up to me to figure out how much I was willing to spend to renovate the house. The magic number would end up being $45,000.

Second, the master plan and timeline. What was I going to renovate and how long would it take to get it all done? The master plan was a long one and it included; a rebuilt front porch, open concept living room/dining room, built in closets, new light fixtures, new kitchen and bathroom faucets, refurbishing the claw foot tub, painting the entire house, new siding, sod for both the front and backyards and a flagstone patio. I would live in the house and aim to have it completed in three years.

Third, the help. How much could I do on my own and when would I need to hire a professional? The smaller projects, I took on my own with the help of my husband, family and friends. The bigger, more complex projects, I would need to hire a professional.

I worked full-time, so every evening, weekend and vacation time was spent renovating the house. It consumed my entire life.