Home stagers do not hide problems!

Amen. Great article !

Home staging does not hide anything significant. As an inspector I’m going to locate and open the electrical panel as a matter of course. I’m not looking at furniture, art, wall colour or window treatments. I will note significant paint or floor finish defects.

What can ‘hide’ things from inspectors are repairs, repainting and renovations that are done prior to listing the home. Not that there is anything wrong with doing that, but often evidence of past or recurring problems can be covered of masked, even inadvertently.

The words of wisdom here are ‘declare any known or suspect conditions of the home or it’s systems and its’ history of past events’; “ice storm damage” for example.

As for Mike Holmes, I watch his programs with interest and amusement, but those of us in the home service – real estate field have to remember this is ‘entertainment television’. The shows format and the channels that air it give you the impression of ‘public service education’ but that is not accually the case.

I have great respect for Mike and the values he espouses on his shows. They show real problems, give good advice and platform many ‘best practice’ techniques and good products.

But you’ve got to expect a sprinkling of head turning, declarative statements that are meant to grab your attention (that’s just good television). “How did the inspector miss that?” “What was he thinking?” “I can’t believe the inspector didn’t see this?” (Naturally they don’t emphasize or even mention that the inspector is not permitted to demolish significant parts of the building to inspect it.)

If you watch the segments behind the ‘headliners’ there is usually a fair (and far less dramatic) discussion of the subject. However your feeling of being stung is correct because viewer walk away with those impressions.


Home stagers do not hide problems! 

I know many of you believe that we do, because I’ve seen the surprise on your face when I refuse to do it.

And who can blame you for believing this when even the revered Mike Holmes, TV star and general contractor extraordinaire, puts out an article in The Montreal Gazette stating “…staging suggestions…hide real problems.”  (Which is too bad, because the rest of his article on getting your home inspected before it goes on the market was bang-on.)

Oh for the love of God.  Enough already.

If your home stager suggests that you hang a piece of art in the upper right hand corner of the wall so that it will cover the hole your sons made playing baseball in the family room, RUN AWAY!  Fast.  This is not the person you want preparing your home to go on the market.


Professionally staged Montreal condo.It’s true that home stagers bring out the best in a property.  It’s true that we help show its full potential.

But we don’t use magic or sleight-of-hand to accomplish this.  We use colour to make a home feel fresh and warm, smart furniture placement to show the space in a room, accessories that bring life, light so you can see, art to touch your heart.

BUT BEFORE WE DO ANY OF THAT, we tell our clients that the best bang for their buck will be to take care of outstanding maintenance issues, to fix the things that need fixing, to clean up!, to de-clutter (yes, we all have clutter) and to paint where needed to freshen things up.

At least that’s what good stagers do.

If you’re in need of a good Montreal West Island home stager, I happen to know one. She can also sell your home for you.

And she’s pretty passionate about what she does – and doesn’t – do. You can see some of that passion in this here blog of hers.

This article was originally published @ www.readysetsold.ca/blog



Did you know?  I stage all my listings…at no extra charge.  It’s part of my service package as a Montreal West Island real estate agent.  I also hire a professional photographer to take photos of your home for the MLS.

Professional home staging and professional photography: two critical factors to making sure your home looks its best, both in person and on the Internet, and neither of them cost you a penny when you list with me.


Tanya Nouwens

Montreal Real Estate Broker, JJ Jacobs Realty Agency jjjrealty.com 

Owner & President, Ready, Set…Sold! Inc., a Montreal Home Staging Company  www.readysetsold.ca  T. 514-919-8468    tanya@readysetsold.ca

Logo for JJ Jacobs Realty Inc.Logo for Ready, Set...Sold! Inc.

This blog is written with my opinions. My opinions are presented with accuracy but not guarantees. Please talk to a professional before making any real estate or financial decisions. Tanya Nouwens – 2010. If you want to reprint parts of this, just email me for my permission at tanya@readysetsold.ca.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

If this were found in my territory there would be 2 plumbing issues and several insulation concerns.

The swollen water pipe shown is a repair job and an indicator of seasonal freezing in this local.

The second plumbing issue is the lack of a drain valve after the shut off valve. The shut off valve is there so you can seasonally close that section of pipe that runs to to exterior. But here the pipe rises before exiting through the rim joist. So you can turn off the water and open the hose bib on the out side but the vertical piece of pipe and the part running back to the valve will still be filled with water. There is no means to drain this water so the home owner is relying luck with the weather and basement heat loss to keep the pipes from freezing.

This is a classic example of under-insulating the rim joist area. Note the water staining on the wood where the pipe enters. Assuming there has been no leakage from the exterior this is water accumulated from condensation on the pipe.

Here (Canada) the whole vertical height of the rim joist space is expected to be filled with insulation (from the sill plate up to the subfloor). That insulation has to be sealed behind continuous vapour barrier, usually 6 mil polythene and all joints and edges covered and sealed with (red) vapour barrier tape.

Massachusetts’ climate is not much different than here, so full rim joist insulation and vapour barrier installation would better serve this home and improve energy efficiency.

Sadly, even here this, detail is often omitted or left to the home buyer to do as developers don’t understand its importance and know it to be a fussy, labour intensive job (read cost).

The good news is that a handy informed home owner can do this improvement in a few weekends and very low cost. They often see a dollar saving on heating bills that will pay for the materials in the first calendar year.


Swollen Water Supply Pipe

ANSWER: Swollen Water Supply Line In Need of Repair

It’s not uncommon to find swollen water supply lines in those parts of the country that experience freezing temperatures. However, it’s only when the line bursts that the average homeowner becomes aware of the situation. Then it becomes an insurance claim and possibly major damage to the home.

This line is connected to a hose faucet or sprinkler system valve at the exterior of the home. The swelling is the result of improper winterization of the sprinkler system or a garden hose left connected to the hose bib. Residual water in the supply line froze and expanded, swelling the pipe to its current near-bursting dimensions. The water supply valve pictured above needs to be turned off prior to the first freeze and residual water drained from the line running to the exterior. This particular supply line is defective in its current state and needs to be repaired.

Always ensure all your outside water sources are properly prepared for the coming winter season. This is a simple task, but can have huge consequences if ignored.

A big thanks to U.S. Inspect’s Rob Amaral for sharing this snap-shot from one of his Massachusetts inspections.

Posted By: U.S. Inspect Blog


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the Chimney and Noxious, It Came With No Sound

Here in Montreal area most peoples fireplaces are not primary heasting devices for their homes.

They are most ofter used for ambience and comfort pleasure when you have company in of an evening or family visiting on holidays.

This blog is a timely sage safety reminder from a respected home inspection colleague.


SantaTwas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
But nobody knew that CO gas was there.

(And wait–those aren’t sugar plums dancing in our heads!)

With the Holiday Season decidedly upon us, we’ve got homes full of guests and we’re snuggling up by the fireplace–and that’s already two great reasons to be absolutely sure that our homes are protected from harmful carbon monoxide gas. After all, the only thing we want sneaking out from the fireplace this year, is Santa!

Because carbon monoxide is a completely orderless, colorless and invisible poisonous gas, we can be completely unaware that it is filling up our home until it is too late. But that is why they make carbon monoxide detectors; and as long as we use them and place them in all recommended areas, we can keep our families and friends safe this holiday and always. Here is a video from the U.S. Inspect library all about carbon monoxide and how to prevent poisoning:


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post