By Diane Peters
Thanks to a changing market and the increasing popularity of real estate TV shows, more Canadians are getting their homes professionally staged before selling. Still, Connie Nedergaard, owner of Canada’s only staging company, Staged N Sold Properties, still finds herself educating clients about this new, up-and-coming service while building her national franchise system.
On becoming a stager:
When my husband’s job moved us from Barrie, Ont., to the U.S. in 2000, I decided to become a real estate agent, after a career in information technology. I’d always loved homes and looking at how people lived. We moved to Dublin, Ohio, which was an upscale town where everyone knew everyone; it was hard to break into the industry. So I took the Accredited Staging Professional (ASP) course, so I could add staging to my real estate practice. As soon as I walked in that classroom, I knew this was the path for me.
On coming home:
I knew we’d eventually come back to Canada, and we did in 2005, to the Ottawa area. Around that time, I was asked by the head of the Association for Home Staging Professionals to do the training for Canada. So I started up Staged N Sold in Ottawa, and also travelled all over the country doing training and education people about staging.
Every time I taught, at the end of the classes people would come up to me and say: “I want to do what you’re doing. I can’t wrap my head around setting it up myself, I want to be part of your company.” I kept getting these questions and emails asking if I was hiring.
On franchising the concept:
Franchising wasn’t something we planned. We started off as a business opportunity. But under that format, you get people who, once they realize they have to start working, walk away. Eventually we hit a point where we couldn’t go any further under this format. So last November, we decided to become a franchised company. We’ve grandfathered in our four existing franchisees under the system and we’re now starting to grow slowly.
On what stagers really do:
We don’t hide anything. What we do is we help you market your property. We’ll look at a room and try to figure out what the buyer needs to see it terms of the room’s best attribute and what it will be used for. Buyers won’t imagine what the house or property could be, they need to see it, and it’s our job to make that happen.