Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Walking Out The Door

One of the hardest aspects of my job is doing Real Estate staging.  Not because it's physically taxing, or takes hours of work...it's because I have to convince the seller to let go of their "home".  Real estate staging is "neutralizing" the home so it appeals to a broad range of buyers.  The buyer wants to envision their "stuff" in the space, not the present owners. 

The first thing I always tell my clients is that this is not a reflection of your decorating style.  Staging is not personal.  What I am trying to do is make the house as light and spacious and neutral as possible.  I want your home to appeal to the young, first time home buyer, as well as the elderly retirees. The family pictures all over the walls...GONE!  The faux greenery intertwined with the curtain rods...GONE!   The sofa blocking the french doors to the patio....REALLY GONE!  I am a little more tactful than that (I think!), but you get the picture.  Sometimes it's as easy as moving around a few pieces of furniture and sometimes the homeowners will have to invest a little money.  Paint should look fresh and clean.  Extraneous furniture should be put in storage.  Photos and most "knick-knacks" should be packed away.  Counters should be free and clear of all but the most necessary items - and no, that big, honkin'  latte maker is not considered a piece of fine art.  Uncle Herbert's wonderfully broken-in recliner (you know, the one being held together by duct tape...) needs to leave the building.

Many homeowners have a hard time removing or changing things  they love about their homes.  I explain to them that the items have to get packed up eventually, so this is getting a head start on that daunting task.  When they say they "love their wallpaper" (that's been up for 15 years),  I gently tell them that soon they won't be living here and this change will help them separate from their house.  When it doesn't look like your familiar home, it's easier to leave.  And sometimes I get the client that is so excited to move, they will have everything packed up the next day!

While most of the time, staging involves "decluttering" a home, there are occasions when I'm called on to furnish an empty home or apartment.  You may think it's better to see a home that's in "move in" condition, but adding several key pieces of furniture to each room gives you something to gauge the size and proportion of the space.  And don't forget the photographs!  When you photograph an empty white room for the ads, all you are going to see is...white!  No proportion and no idea of size.  Furniture adds dimension.


 The picture above is a temporary sales office that needed some help.  Although the office wasn't for sale, we staged it to make it a more comfortable waiting room.

                                     Goal achieved!  Lighter, brighter and more inviting!

If the prospective buyers like the staging, maybe they will hire the designer to make their new house their home!

"He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

1 comment:

  1. Well said Rosanne! Very good overview of the goals & philosophies of staging. It's funny, although I also assist clients with staging, I thought about it a little differently after I read your post from a neutral perspective. The bottom line is that you need to remove the personality from an overly personalized space in order to attract new inhabitants, but conversely there are also times where you need to add some personality where there is none! (Sounds like this could also apply in 'charm school'!)


I welcome any and all comments!