Photographer + Stager + Real Estate Investor

Hello. I'm Deena Cottingham, owner of GreenApple Staging & Images. I'm grateful for the opportunity to do something that I love while serving others. My goal, whether you are a Realtor, HomeOwner or Business person, is to join you in your efforts of marketing real estate by creating a great finished product. I aim to reduce your hassle and earn your trust by working hard on your behalf.

Through my own experience as a homeowner and real estate investor, I realized there was an easier way to sell than just "waiting for the right buyer" to come along—staging worked! I added to my art and design background with a Professional Real Estate Stager® certification, and am also thrilled to incorporate my love for photography into my work.

I found the best images got the most attention, so I also studied the artistic and technical challenges involved in lighting interiors with two leading US real estate photographers.

I hold a B.Ed. with Distinction and a diploma in Public Relations (which come in handy, too!).

At GreenApple, we believe in giving back to the community. We help those who cannot afford our services and support charities that reach out to individuals who currently find themselves homeless.

Deena's Staging Story
"My first staging experience occurred long before the industry was created. When my husband and I were selling our first starter home, he was impatiently waiting for me at the front door to quit fussing and "raking" all the footprints out of the carpet before the first showing (after cleaning, organizing and perfecting every space in the house). In my defense, I stated that I only intended to do this once, so it was going to be done right. Imagine our surprise when we really did receive an offer later that day for nearly full list price! I had no idea that it would actually work, given the sluggish market of the early 90's and all the typical inventory found in a Calgary starter neighbourhood."

Deena's love for houses and real estate go much further back, however. "As a kid, I was always drawing "dream" houses, building houses for my Barbies with moving boxes, or walking through construction sites in nearby neighbourhoods. I saved every floor plan I ever picked up, and often marked them up with my "improvements.'"

During high school and university, Deena worked part-time in a real estate office. Her instincts for houses and marketing quickly made her a go-to person for Realtors wanting help with an ad or a fresh set of eyes on a property. At 18, she became Calgary's first ever "Real Estate Assistant" to one of the top-producing Realtors.

Her initial career path (and family) took her away from real estate for a time, and she found herself applying her B.Ed. in math and science in the business world of computers and graphic design. "I loved the challenge of taking a blank piece of paper and creating a readable, attractive document—to me, it was just another space to design." Deena also became fascinated with the power of delivering the right message to the right audience in the right way, and completed a diploma in Public Relations.

It was through her and husband's foray into real estate investing that she finally came back to her first love, though. Her designer's eye and understanding of how to target a market all came into play when they decided to sell their family's home of 13 years.

"I was a little worried that location would work against us—we paralleled a busy street with just a developer fence in between. Despite our friends calling us crazy, I set out de-cluttering, pre-packing, re-painting and updating a few things here and there, even after a recent renovation, to hopefully create a greater emotional connection for a potential buyer. Because we became so confident in the product we had to sell, we took the risk of going against our Realtor's advice and broke a barrier with our list price (fingers crossed). All three of us were again a little surprised when we received a full list offer after just the second viewing!"

When they decided to sell several investment properties, the market was already slowing down. Deena decided to apply her winning formula and bought new furniture and accessories to stage the renovated, but vacant properties. Again, the properties had firm sales in a matter of a few weeks. One purchaser even bought the furniture they staged it with. That was enough to convince Deena that she could help others in the same way.

Get a Quote to find out what GreenApple can do for you.

We took a lot of your suggestions and re-listed last week and sold our house! Thank you for all of your suggestions. I know that it helped with the quick sale of our house. We had an offer within 5 days!!  Thanks again and all the best!!
Rebecca W., NW Calgary