Staging – what is it?

“Staging” hit real estate with a big bang a few years ago. What it means is getting a house pulled together so that it shows well.

Does it have be professionally done? Not at all, although sometimes having a professional stager can be a good idea if you don’t have a clue what to do, or lack the resources to do it yourself. But most realtors are happy to walk through your home with you and make suggestions as to what you can do to make your home more inviting.

Staging can range from as little as de-cluttering a house or rearranging the furniture to replacing a faucet, painting, replacing flooring, or doing other fixes. These shouldn’t be major renovations, however — the idea is not to rebuild your home but to make sure its best features aren’t hidden.

For example, I had clients who had a nice little bungalow with great bones but it had a saggy kitchen floor and some plaster damage. The back steps were badly worn and the paint needed a little refreshing.

I recommended some contractors to them and they decided on a great team who pulled up the old flooring, put down new plywood, and replaced the kitchen floor with ceramic tile. Plaster damage was repaired and painted; the back steps were resurfaced.

Once the trades were done and the clients had decluttered, I brought in some of my own linens and cushions, and even some of my own artwork (I’m an artist, as well), to freshen up the place and enhance what they already had.

The comments from agents and prospective buyers (and we had a great turnout at the Open House) was that the place was absolutely gorgeous!

The cost of all of this (excluding my contributions, which were free) was about $ 4,000, which may seem like a lot. But the house had multiple offers and sold for $20,000 over the list price only a week later. Needless to say, the clients were ecstatic.

Other clients of mine had a lovely home but some of the rooms lacked definition and the basement was very cluttered. Among other things, I suggested that they bring up a dining room table and chairs from their basement to carve out an eating area in the combination living/dining room. Now, these clients don’t usually eat in a dining room; they prefer to eat in the kitchen and so they hadn’t used that part of the living room for dining at all.

But remember, in staging you are not trying to meet your own tastes but those of prospective buyers. And most buyers are still looking for a place to put a dining room table and chairs.

I also suggested  that they repair and replace some damaged drywall and do some major decluttering.

Once again,  when they were done, I brought over cushions, flowers, even an area rug from my own home to pull things together.  And once again, the home showed beautifully. We had five offers a week later–the most I’ve ever had on a listing–and the house sold for well over the asking price.

Most times, staging doesn’t require new flooring, but it almost always requires decluttering.

In both cases, my clients rented PODS. These are storage units delivered to your driveway so you can use them to store clutter, like the piles of boxes we all seem to accumulate, unused clothing, old furniture, toys, and so on. PODS removes the units (we don’t want them in your driveway once your house hits the market) and delivers them wherever and whenever you want at a reasonable price.

The nice thing about that using a storage unit for all the clutter in both cases was that not only did it help show the splendid bones of both homes, but those were things the homeowners didn’t need to pack on moving day!

And in both cases, the homeowners used the decluttering process to throw out things they didn’t need  or to donate them to those that did, so it really was a win-win situation.

So that’s what staging is. If you have a home that you’re thinking about selling, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to walk through with you and make some suggestions as to what you can do to present it at its very best.

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