An odd Title; Why does a hound turn round, but while swimming lap after lap this morning, I thought about how dogs make themselves comfortable just before they bed down . Does the hound unknowingly follow the earth’s Coriolis effect like the water swirling down the drain in our bathroom sink? A dog turns clockwise for the most part if he doesn’t stop and turn counter clockwise before laying down. In the Alex Colville painting of 1958 (Hound in Field) from the National Gallery of Canada pictured here, the dog is turning to the right. OK, so the real question is How do dogs relate to Real Estate Sales… right?

Dogs habitually turn and turn to make a bed, trampling the grass so to speak to get comfortable before settling down. Dogs like to be comfortable. People do the same when they choose a home. They unconsciously read the signs, gauging the size, the space, the light, the level of comfort, and the practical family needs that a prospective house will offer. They look for danger and they estimate the flattering qualities of the home. There is a lot going on in a Buyer’s head when they look at the front entry. That’s called “Curb Appeal”. Inside, they evaluate the space and task flow. They reflect on how the kitchen functions with the rest of the first floor-the dining room and the living area. The mom thinks how she’ll make the dinner and care for the children. The dad looks to see if there is space to work and play with the children. The mom and dad really do think differently about the use of space.

For the Buyer cleanliness is exceedingly important. Clean windows. Clean air, free from scents and deodorizers and cleaning supply odours is very important. Too often I find a house where every room in the house has a plug in puffer that periodically sprays a powerful scent into the air. It amazes me that people think they have to buy an electronic deodorizer because they see it on TV. Makes me gag for fresh air! Oddly single men seem to like these. Now kitchens will often smell of cooking. That’s fine. Bathrooms smell of fine soap. That’s fine. Basements smell of utility room; a little oil, cut wood, concrete or leather. That’s fine. Bedrooms smell of nothing but fresh air. That’s good. Garages smell of rubber and cars. That’s good too. It’s what you expect in those areas. There is no need to mask these normal odours with smelly products!

Second we look for a sense of calm. Home is a place of rest and shelter for both body and mind. A house well prepared for sale will allow the Buyer to see the room shapes and house architecture. Clutter will distract. Order will release the Buyer allowing them to imagine how the house would work for them.

The topic of dogs bedding down is really a parallel discussion on how staging or advance preparation affects the sale of a home and who can perform this special magic. I find home owners live too close to the problem and literally can’t see the reasoning, or can understand and don’t think the effort worth the fuss, however when pointed out or shown they agree that staging dramatically improves the visual impact of the home. It makes it more attractive and if you consider that 83% of the homes are unstaged, a prepared home not only looks more attractive, it beats out the competition. A staged home sells faster, with fewer Buyer visits and it sells for a higher price! Sounds like magic doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. It requires very practical choices and a strong background in visual arts. Simple. I my case I’ve an eight year background studying the arts and a Master’s degree. But it requires great confidence to employ this subjective training in front of sceptical eye of the owner.

Recently I worked on a lovely home. The young couple were practical and owned the home for only a few years. The furniture wasn’t new. Fruit boxes for side tables. Tables and sofas from the parents. The first thing I wanted to do was remove needless paintings, wall decorations and needless book shelves. I wanted to open the spaces. I work on a principal that each room has a function. Kitchen is kitchen, bedroom is bedroom, playroom is playroom. There should be no confusion as to primary usage of the room. Keep it simple!

Next I wanted to orchestrate a flow from room to room. Light has the quality of flowing like water and well used it can draw the Buyer from foyer to kitchen to dining room to living room. It does this through the law of attraction. People visit the home with anticipation and expectation of something special. They are looking for their dream home. Lighting will move them from light area to darker are to lighter area. All kitchen lights should be on as if someone just stepped out f to gather some cut some flowers. Consider a Vermeer painting. There is a special quality of light, of overlapping and the sense of arrested moment in time. It appears peaceful. Vermeer’s paintings are an invitation to enter the artist’s dream world.

Colour is another vehicle to create harmony and flow in a room. Like colours lead the eye. Soft colours are calming. Interestingly, in this house the front window curtains were a set of white curtains over a taupe coloured inner curtain. The walls were an off white. I was able to create a rich harmony by reversing the curtain order so that the main taupe colour was in front and it worked off the wall colour beautifully and richly. This simple act of reversing the curtain order subtly harmonised the room making it feel larger and brighter.

During the first Community Open House, visitors marveled at the strength of home. The solidity. I interpret this as a feeling of confidence in the home. One visitor asked if the house had been staged. I think she was impressed. Modestly, I replied that “the home had been nicely readied for the sale”. So what were the results of this staging? The home sold four days after the listing began. It had 5 Real Estate Professional visits. It sold with competing offers, $5000 over asking price!

So when you see your hound turning and turning before bedding down, consider how profound are the senses we rely on to tell us which home is right to buy. And , if you know anyone interested in Selling their Home, have them contact me for a helpful consultation.

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