The First Time is the Best least in memory!

Home Stager with The Scotts Group Inc.

Last December a Realtor I had met, while Condo shopping for friends in from London (UK), was explaining to me how hard a time she was having finding a stager that could do a job on short notice, due the boom happening in Toronto at the time. After a bit of discussion I agreed to "help" her out.

FLASHBACK: Over my lifespan I had been an agent in the UK and Canada, an Equestrian in NYC and Palm Beach and most recently, (after breaking my hip riding), I had worked in the Hedge Fund world of finance in the UK, NYC and Toronto, (Thank the heavens for getting a university education all those years ago i hadn't ever used!). All during that time I had helped people furnish and decorate their Condo's and Homes and had seriously been thinking about Home Staging... especially as I was a casualty of downsizing in the finance world.

Back on track... I had no budget (well very little), and no personal inventory for the vacant, renovated semi, but I really wanted to make a good impression and see if I could actually do this. I moved out of my own condo and in with a friend to gather up some cash to get the job done and continue to live on the small amount of money I was collecting on Unemployment insurance. How was I going to do this and not end up with Mud on my face???

Then it dawned on me, I had just put a huge amount of inventory into storage... i quickly found "Two Guys & a Van" and moved my belongings from storage into the house. For a bed i used a futon platform with an airmattress on top and a piece of foam on top of that to get the height, my own bed was the only thing I had kept when I moved in with the friend and decided that getting some sleep on something comfortable was the best thing! I bought a few extra pieces from Ikea and borrowed some other pieces from my agent... talk about multiple trips back and forth and all over the city... thank god I had the trusty "Wilson" the 11 yr old Volvo station wagon to load everything into!! (This car can hold the 3 seater sofa pictured below).

The days were long, as I was working alone, save for my sister and a friend that came over to help do the final cleaning. 

The result is below... I've learned a lot since then, (like renting furniture... getting help... taking before shots... and getting help), but I will always remember how I got into this great business and the fantastic feeling I had at the end of the project. Especially during the agents open house when the feedback was great. The agent that got me started has become a great friend and refers me lots to other agents.

Even better news is the house sold in 7 days at 40K over asking! I did actually make a bit of money on the deal too!

I have "lots" still to learn, but having the support of other stagers here on AR and the other organization I belong to has been great and not something I would have expected.

Flash forward... my furniture, and some new pieces are now happily sitting in my new condo and no longer used for staging... FOR NOW!

Living Room

Duncan Scott is the Founder and Owner of The Scotts Group inc., A Toronto Based Home Staging Company


Comments (7)

Elaine Manes Gage
Home Staging Online Services - Denver, CO
Staging done ONLINE!

WOW, Duncan!!! That is SOME story! And your staging is wonderful! Love the touches of red, which really make the fireplace surround POP!!! I'm so glad it all worked out for obviously have talent. The world of finance's loss is the staging world's gain!!!

Jul 23, 2008 05:11 AM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Duncan - thanks so much for the energizing photo of your great work!  I loved your comment:  "...and get help...and get help".  I'm the stubborn type that resists asking for help, even if it costs little or family wants to pitch in!  AR is truly the best resource for Staging - enjoy!  Julie

Jul 23, 2008 06:11 AM
No Longer Active in Staging. No Longer Staging
Hickory, NC

Duncan, that is a great story and congrats on doing a wonderful job and ending up in this great business. God bless,

Jul 23, 2008 06:23 AM
C. Bartch
Newark, OH

Hi Duncan, That was quite a story and an impressive first staging, well done!

Jul 23, 2008 07:03 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

HI Duncan, great photos, you know I love your work. Help is always here if needed, even on short notice.

Trust a man who shoves a 3 seat sofa in a Volvo.

Jul 23, 2008 07:43 AM
Duncan Scott
The Scotts Group Inc. - Ottawa Valley, ON

Thank you all for your comments!

Elaine - I don't think the Finance World realizes it yet... but hopefully soon! :)

Julia - i'm totally with you... I'm always afraid that if I hire someone I won't have enough for them to do as I have an issue with letting go! Though I am getting better at it! The fact that hiring someone actually saves me money and allows me to get more jobs has finally hit home!

Cheryl & Cynthia - Thanks! I really feel I've come a long way and have finally found a profession that rewarded me as much as when I competed professionally in Show Jumping.

Michelle - You know I'll be calling you!!! I love your work too! The same goes the other way around too

As for the shoving the Sofa in the Volvo... as they say "It's Boxy & Safe"!!  Though what I would really love is an Old School Bus painted like the "Partridge Family's"...with NERVOUS STAGER DRIVING painted across the back! Then I could also say "Move That Bus" at the end of each staging!!

But for now it's just me and Wilson, (Named after the soccer ball in Tom Hank's Movie "Castaway")...

Jul 23, 2008 09:05 AM
Jackson West
Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

Talk about "hitting the ground running"! Exceeding client expectaions, as you did here, will take you far. Nice job Duncan.

Jul 30, 2008 04:15 PM