Learning from HGTV Design Pro Hilary Farr!

Home Improvement

At a real estate conference in October, I had the opportunity to attend a design presentation by Hilary Farr, star of HGTV’s hit show, Love it Or List It. If you haven’t caught her show, HGTV describes the show’s premise as follows:

When a house no longer feels like home, homeowners are left with a big financial and emotional question: renovate or sell it? Love It or List It helps fed-up homeowners decide. In each hour-long episode Realtor David Visentin and designer Hilary Farr compete for the homeowners' final decision to stay or go. David's insider perspective on the real estate market helps target listings to prospective buyers, but Hilary is determined to show homeowners that, within their budget, she can transform their worn-out house into a castle they can love. If the owners decide to list it, Hilary's hard work adds to the home's resale value. It's a tough decision either way.

See http://www.hgtv.com/shows/love-it-or-list-it.

As a big fan, I’ve watched Love It or List It many times. It’s amazing to watch Hilary transform worn out and dysfunctional spaces into stylish and functional homes that anyone would love. Although I love the home after Hilary’s transformation, the realtor in me secretly wants the homeowners to sell it!

With home sales in mind, here are my top three tips that Hilary shared during her presentation that can help any homeowner improve a home's appearance when selling!


1) Use a Professional Stager!

Hilary is credited as the first designer to stage properties for sale in Toronto where she currently resides, and is a strong advocate for professional home staging. Hilary explained that “you have to figure out a way to get an emotional impact” because “buying a home is an emotional process as well as numbers [process].” Hilary offered that buyers are willing to go outside their budget when they emotionally connect with a home. Staging can help the home present an aspirational lifestyle, which resonates with today’s buyers.

2. Strategically Incorporate Design Trends

“Much of Farr’s success is attributed to her ability to anticipate industry trends . . . Drama, timeless glamour and functionality are Farr’s trademarks.” See HilaryFarr.com. In keeping with this philosophy, Hilary explained that it is wise to keep up with trends, such as the colors selected each year as “Color of the Year” by companies such as Pantone and Benjamin Moore.


But Hilary cautioned to be careful when adopting trends. For example, this year Pantone chose “Greenery” as the Color of the Year. If used on a large scale, “Greenery” could be off-putting; however, using Greenery as an  accent color (i.e., painting select walls or incorporating accessories such as pillows or lamps) or confining usage to a  small space (i.e., a powder room) can add drama and flare. Buyers will feel like the seller has gone out of the way to make the home something special.

3. Make a Great First Impression!

Hilary emphasized not to overlook a home’s entry. For example, pick a great color for the front door and garage door. Add planters with flowers (you can swap out the flowers to keep them seasonal). Finally, upgrade the lighting and make sure the pathway’s are nice. This will create a great first impression to buyers!

For more tips, make sure to catch Hilary on Love It or List It, and feel free to reach out to me for a referral or recommendation to a top stager/designer.