The Smoke and Mirrors of Staging a Home

Selling a home in 2015 is very different then selling a condo in 2002. I wanted to do a ‘for sale by owner’ and was ready to go that route. A neighbor and friend of mine listed their home in August and it sold in two days, they moved in September and I had an eye on her moving boxes! In our first conversation she told me how fabulous her realtors were and went on and on about what they did to get her house sold quickly. In our quick conversations over the next few weeks she would briefly bring them up, making a quick comment about some ‘little thing’ they did. After about the third or fourth comment I decided to give them a call and just talk to them.

I met with the father and daughter team and was blown away! In chatting with the father I learned that he grew up in Southern California. Having lived in California until I was almost 40 I always ask for specifics when I learn someone is from the area. To my surprise, he was from the same town as I! We lived off the same main street but about 6-8 miles apart, went to the same High School about 10 years apart and reminisced about the neighborhood parks and other hangouts. He also dabbles in selling on eBay. We had an instant connection…twice!

After the small talk we got down to business and discussed what they would do to help me sell my home. The list of action items they do before the home is listed is amazing, but I focused in on the staging part.  They arranged for a stager to come to my home, take pictures and give me a report suggesting changes to make my home more presentable to potential buyers…that report was TEN pages long.

At first glance I was impressed. The report was broken down by area of my house followed by three columns; one for must dos, one for should dos and one for can dos. The next day I took the list and started checking off items area by area. It was work and I was exhausted. In the end I learned a few things and the result is my home now looks like a model home, ready for pictures and hopefully a buyer.

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of what I learned from having a professional stager stage my home.

  • Less is more.
  • I don’t have enough mirrors in my home.
  • With as much red as I have, I don’t have any solid red pillows.
  • The eBay decor in my office won’t help sell my home and needs to be removed.
  • I have a beautiful office and desk, something I’ve never known because for all of its life its been covered in ‘stuff’.
  • Less is more.
  • There should be nothing on the floors.
  • Wastebaskets, toilet brushes and plungers don’t belong in bathrooms.
  • The top of a bookcase is not another shelf.
  • Welcome mats actually make people feel welcome.
  • Less is always more.
  • Solid red pillows do look better on my couch than the checked ones that came with it.
  • The lamps in my master bedroom are not the right scale.
  • The couch and love seat in the living room look much better facing each other and make the room look bigger.
  • When you think you have less, remove more.
  • In order for people to see how a home will be when they move in it needs to look magical…pictures are cropped, minimized and photoshopped…just like magazine people.