Success Stories

Explore uplifting stories from homeowners who have successfully transformed their spaces and sold their homes using Marilyn Ball's expert staging services. Uncover valuable tips, view striking before-and-after photos, and learn how our staging can make a significant impact for you.


The Transformative Sale of 304-2441 Sidney Ave


This sale will always be a special memory to me, for it is all about relationships. Truly, all real estate sales are about relationships. People move away to be closer to others.They upgrade the size of their living space to get married or have a family, and so on. This one was no different, BUT this sale involved a very special Seller. You see, my client is 92 years old, and as smart as they come.

A Local Hero

It all started with a great relationship with my Bookkeeper, and then she referred me to her father. She wanted someone whom she could trust. Hugh had been a very successful businessman, and even a town councilor. He knew everybody. He told stories of being a Butcher in past days, and rescuing people as a volunteer Firefighter for the town of Sidney BC, running out to attend to people while still wearing his apron! Then he went on to sell cars, and lots of them... thousands! So this was a man who enjoyed being busy, and productive. I will always remember the first meeting. Gah. He seemed to be about 6 and a half feet tall. But with a smile as big as his height.

The Problem

His condo was a 1994 built corner penthouse with a great floorplan featuring two decks on either side, banks of large windows, and nice separation between the two spacious bedrooms. The kitchen was large for a condo and could hold a long table, even though there was a formal dining area. However, you could hardly see the good bones of the condo, for all of the cluttered furniture and collectibles. Unfortunately, Hugh's wife had passed away, and things had got a little behind.

Thankfully, Hugh trusted my advice, and was such a champ. He relished the idea of having a project, and due to his business background, knew the value of "polishing the car to create a better sale".  We both rolled up our sleeves to get to work.

The RX

The first thing was to remove the clutter. I brought in my ace Organizing Professional, Hailey Guille of Perfect Fit Strategies, and we worked for two straight days boxing up many, many items, and preparing piles of things and furniture to be donated or sold. Hugh was fantastic at pitching in to remove things as well, and he had some good friends to assist with the heavy items.

Once we could see what the rooms looked like, it was time to start cleaning. I hired a team called "Clean Victoria", and luckily they work in Sidney, too. They cleaned the doors of the cabinets and inside them, washed the decks and windows, and made the condo sparkle! This was after I had already washed a lot of the cabinets, but I couldn't reach the high ones. You know that greasy film that accumulates in a kitchen? Gone! 

The Carpets

Oh no, once the carpets were visible, it was apparent that we had some killer stains!  You see, Hugh had been a master hobby wine-maker, and the tell-tale red stains were there in the large bedroom closet where he had stored his bottles. Hmmm. Okay, remember that reference to top car sales? Thankfully, Hugh didn't skip a beat, and agreed with me that it was time to replace them. United Carpets in Sidney came to the rescue, and installed lovely neutral-coloured plush carpets in both bedrooms. 

The Magic of Paint

The condo had been painted in the early 2000s with a fashionable brown colour of the time, and then the kitchen was a cheery bright yellow. The guest bedroom was a sage green. There were nicks in the walls as there usually is over time, and at first, Hugh was thinking of simply repairing those. I got an estimate for either doing the essential repairs, or doing the entire condo. As Hugh was motivated to get top dollar for his property, he quickly ascertained the better decision. The darker interior due to the brown paint would have to go! ...David Hardy of Higher Standard Decorating to the rescue! Painting the entire condo in a lovely light creamy taupe was a revelation. It just made the penthouse look SO large, and bright, and so much more modern! We could hardly believe our eyes, and neither could Hugh's friends and family.

The Really Fun Part

Okay, time to get out the magic wand. I went shopping... Winners and Home Sense are my friends!  Decor galore, and new towels and bedding were brought in, plus some rented furniture to give this Penthouse the glamour makeover! I believe in dressing my listings like children on their first day of school - perfectly, and it makes a big difference in a Buyer's first impressions. I believe in bringing in plants for a more fresh, alive feeling, and as I have a "dusty" honours degree in drawing and painting, the right artwork (or at least nice reproductions) are important. Texture is also key. You know... plush velvet pillows, authentic sheepskin rugs, and crisp percale sheets with lofty feather duvets. You want to convey a sense of welcoming luxury.


And then it all came together. Literally, new Lights, the masterful photographer's Camera (Moving Pictures Studios Victoria), and Action! ...The first day after I launched the listing, we had a showing which resulted in a great Sale price from a great Buyer! Surprisingly, it was someone that I knew... my former Voice Teacher (singing), and her teenage daughter! They had their own agent, and he did a fine job representing them, but it was even more satisfying to know that I had helped create a beautiful space for them to enjoy, as well as having done a stellar job for my Seller! What an amazing feeling when you truly know that you used your talents for the greater good. It's not all about money, folks. For me, my pilot light... my raison d'etre is exactly this. I will always remember the tear in Hugh's eyes as he read the lovely letter from the Buyer, explaining why they connected with, and fell in love with his home. It made all the difference in the sale. He wanted to sell it to someone who loved the space as much as he had, and he did!


It meant a lot to me to work with this fine gentleman. I respected his years, and loved his persistent and fun personality!  Years ago, I took a course, and earned a designation called SRES. Senior Real Estate Specialist. Simply put, it means that I value the elderly, and know how to work respectfully, and hard for them. If you know someone who needs a patient and hard-working real estate agent, please think of me. These days, our seniors need to know that they will be protected, and not taken advantage of in a real estate transaction... that someone has their best interests at heart. This is what I can offer to my elder clients, and that gives their family great comfort as well. Hugh's daughter was very grateful, and after the sale, I treated them both to dinner to celebrate!

Contact or Text 250-818-6489 if you need a fairy godmother of the staging kind to help you with your Sale... the honour will be mine!

Text Marilyn

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Steps to Staging Success

I was recommended to this out of town seller by his Mother, who had seen me successfully stage and sell in her building. I went with her to see the vacant condo. Although in a good location in the Cook Street Village, this condo was depressing. The previous tenants had used inexpensive candles which had left a shocking amount of smokey soot on the walls, cabinets, vinyl window frames... you name it! Even the carpets were dark, and beyond hope. Ugh. This was in sharp contrast to the beautiful light from the many windows in this corner suite, and pretty outlook of the tree-lined boulevard, and flowering shrubs of neighbouring homes.

The Prescription

I knew that to get top dollar for this condo, it would require surgery of the MARILYN kind. I made a list of the repairs needed: Clean everything, paint throughout, new lighting, hoodfan etc, plumbing repairs... new showerhead and sink, fix toilets, repair tub chips. New laminate flooring. New Door hinges and knobs. Whew!... Thankfully, the seller was game, and had the resources to pay for this checklist. I just had to find the contractors, help choose the colours and materials, and get started. Really, I was being more of a General Contractor for Renovations on this job... something that I had been doing lately for a couple of other condos, and they had sold in less than a month of listing, so I was on to something here!

I have always believed in presenting properties well and offered my staging services, but this was at a whole new level. 

The Team

Having experienced and talented contractors that will step up and fit you into their busy schedule is a golden asset. My A-Team includes: James Price from Scorpion Mechanical, Plumber and Gas-fitter Shawn Callow of Victoria Doors, David Hardy from Higher Standard Decorating and Painting, David Audi of Absolutely Electrical, Jim Russell and Jeremy from the End of the Roll, myself as Stager, and Rented Furnishings from Freedom Rent to Own. Last, but of first importance is my very talented Photographer, David Gibson of Moving Pictures Studios Victoria who provided high-end photographs, and videography. 

The Process

I brought in the cleaners for the soot on the window frames, windows, and even the dirty deck. I scrubbed kitchen cabinets myself, and ordered a product on Amazon to mix the porcelain colour, and repair the chips in the tub! I bought a new bathroom sink and shower head, as well as a new hood fan, and had the professionals install and repair. The flooring was chosen, and ordered, and paint applied... in many coats, I might add! The final touches of new lighting, and new door hardware made a huge difference... even down to replacing yellowed thermostats, and t.p holder! Attention to detail is key. I even ordered a cute white kitchen trolley with butcher block top for staging, and put it together myself! There was an empty spot by the windows in the kitchen that needed something. 


I have an Honours Art degree in Drawing and Painting, and this means that I have an eye for beauty which translates into more dollars for the seller! I ensure that your property is shown in its best light. Furnishings and decor that aren't the best for the right vibe are removed, and the right staging pieces are brought in, arranged, and hung! This is the final and necessary magic in the process to prepare for Success. And it doesn't have to take ages to happen, either... I am poised for action!

The Results

On March 3rd, 2024 we signed the listing papers, and on April 9th we were listed. Then 24 Days later, we were Sold! ...What a great feeling, and for top dollar! 905 sqft at $724/sqft! This, in a tougher market with higher interest rates. The savvy buyers knew a good thing when they saw it. Currently, a unit with the same floorplan in the building is on the market at $619,000. (It hasn't had my staging procedures applied!). It looks like that one might sell for at least $45,000 less... when it only took circa $12 K for my client's renovation). These days, buyers will pay more for the convenience of having everything done for them. Remember this when you want to have Sales Success. The right agent matters. One that will go to the mats for you... Or the floors, in this case!

Contact or Text 250-818-6489 if you need a fairy godmother of the staging kind to help you with your Sale... the honour will be mine!

Text Marilyn

Learn About My Marketing Strategy

Get A Free Home Evaluation


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