Home stagers only buy items to return later

The real estate market in Canada continues to break records and some studies show that a professionally staged home with modern furniture and artwork could sell for up to 10% more.

Although internship professionals own or rent the items they place in homes, there are concerns that some providers are taking advantage of return policies at home improvement stores.

“It happens a lot. We see it all the time,” said Sylvia Ioannou of Scarborough, who works for a home improvement store.

Many sellers will use the services of a middleman to prepare their home for the market to make it look better and increase the asking price. A professional bringing in furniture, artwork, and lamps could charge thousands of dollars.

Ioannou said some middlemen were constantly buying items to return them weeks later and she was worried because the items had to be cleaned and repackaged and her employer was not making any money.

“They admitted to me that they are intermediaries and that they do what they have to do. Of course, after a week or two they return things and buy something else,” Ioannou said.

Ioannou said some real estate listings show lamps, tables and other items that still have price tags attached to them.

The practice may not be illegal, but some in the home staging industry say it’s unethical.

“We consider it unethical and a form of theft when you think about it,” said Nicole Schenck, president of Ontario’s Real Estate Staging Association.

Schenck said she was aware of the practice, but said staging professionals do not abuse stores’ return policies.

“All the directing professionals I know, none of us do that and frankly we’re too busy to do that. Either we have our own inventory or we rent from other sources,” he said. Schenck said.

Retailers say the practice is known as “wardrobe” when an item is purchased, used and then returned for a refund.

The staging association says its industry is unregulated, but stores dealing with repeat returns may want to review their return policies.

Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) North American CEO Shell Brodnax released a statement to CTV News that read, “RESA is the trade association for real estate professionals. RESA does not tolerate that real estate intermediaries buy inventory, use it and return it. »

“In reality, if this is happening, it’s probably happening with new people who may be operating as a hobby rather than a professional business. Professional businesses wouldn’t source inventory, use it, and then wouldn’t send it back. They buy inventory and hold it for years, using it over and over.”

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