Fascinated by how people created environments as a child, Jessica Hagel turned that fascination into a business of her own as of January 2011. Fresh Moves Home Staging offers full services for those staging to sell as well as move-in decorating services. Hagel took some time to chat with CREB® Now about the importance of home staging and her thoughts on the best way to spend a day off in the city.

CREB®Now>> What drew you to home staging?

Hagel>> Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by how people create environments. From simple to sumptuous to streamlined, the way we live expresses a lot about who we are. And I’ve always been captivated by the idea of transformation — personal, physical or even observing the seasons. When we stage a property, we are helping our clients transform not just their spaces, but their lives — helping them to move on to the next phase and often to see their own belongings in new, positive ways.

CREB®Now>> Tell me a little about the background of Fresh Moves.

Hagel>> I’ve always had small business in my bones. Launching Fresh Moves in January 2011 confirmed this for me. The first year was a steep learning curve — deciding who we wanted to be as a company, learning the ropes of running a business and honing the art of staging. The learning hasn’t stopped — which is one of the things I love about what I do. Every project is unique, every client brings a new perspective, and we’re never bored. In the past two-and-a-half years we have developed an awesome client base, expanded into more decorating projects and have now taken on commercial ventures, including decor redesign for a realty brokerage and a restaurant in Kensington.

CREB®Now>> How can staging a home help with making a potential sale?

Hagel>> We are continually blown away by the difference that staging can make — whether owners are simply following our advice, or we stage a vacant property that’s been sitting on the market for six months, only to have it sell in five days. The stats tell us that professional staging sells houses 80 per cent faster. That means less hassle for the owners (because having your home on the market can be quite inconvenient), plus protecting your financial investment by not having to drop your list price. Staging is so effective because it transforms any home from being a personal refuge into a highly appealing choice for potential buyers who can happily envision themselves living there.

CREB®Now>> Is staging just for people looking to sell their home?

Hagel>> Nope — many homes can benefit from staging. Staging for selling or dwelling gives an update at an affordable price point. Staging is like curating an exhibit you can live in. But this is no handsoff display. We highlight the best features of the owners’ collection as well as the home itself maximizing functionality, focal points and flow. As stagers we consult on paint colours all the time, this common update has a big impact for selling or dwelling. Keep in mind that 40 per cent of paint sales worldwide come from people who chose the wrong colour first. We like to help people to get their paint, tile and flooring choices right the first time.

CREB®Now>> Are there specific rooms/living areas in which staging can be more beneficial than others?

Hagel>> First impressions really count, so curb appeal and the main living areas (typically near the entrance) have a big impact on buyers’ feeling for a house. The master bedroom is also very important as it will be a daily sanctuary for the people who are making the buying decision.

CREB®Now>> What’s the best way to spend a day off in Calgary?

Hagel>> A nice walk or bike ride along the river, taking in the unique shops in Kensington or Inglewood then enjoying a locavore restaurant is a perfect Calgary day for me.

CREB®Now>> What, if anything, could be improved in Calgary?

Hagel>> We are on the right track, I think. The plans for densification of the city; for beautifying, diversifying and redeveloping what we have rather than expanding ever outwards is a significant step in the right direction. I think of densification as adding depth and range, like adding layers of paint to an extraordinary canvas.

CREB®Now>> What makes a good community?

Hagel>> Amenities are important, but to me, what makes Calgary an exceptional city is its people. As a native Calgarian with several generations of roots here, I’m proud of our traditions of hospitality, of helping a neighbour, of rallying together to clean up a riverbank or build a community garden. To me, a good community is connected, caring and inclusive.

CREB®Now>> What’s your favourite room in the house and why?

Hagel>> I love the great room — an inviting place that can handle all sorts of activities. A soaring fireplace and windows that frame a spectacular view make this a perfect gathering place for friends and family. My favourite room in my own house is my dining room. It’s above the backyard and looks out into a leafy wonderland. The table is ideal for spreading out fabric samples and inspiring books — to my husband’s chagrin, since I do actually have a separate home office … with a less inspiring view.