As a Seattle home stager, I like to stay informed about Seattle real estate and this means attending some open houses. I find it interesting to see how many homes for sale are staged and how these homes have been prepared for the market. I’m happy to say that I am finding more and more homes being staged. Even though most of these are staged appropriately, sometimes I see homes where the staging is quite not right. One such home, a Green Lake Tudor style home, is still fresh in my mind.
This Green Lake house was only one block from the actual lake and this is a huge plus for a Seattle home. The house, though it was charming from the outside, told a different story from the inside. These are the problems that I saw right away with the staging:
- The furniture pieces were in wrong scale. The dark brown full sofa, two matching large arm chairs and wide coffee table overwhelmed the living room.
- The small dining table on other side of the room was dwarfed by the over-sized living room.
A correct furniture scale is one of the most important aspects of home staging.
- The living room was dark and adequate lighting was missing; the dark brown leather furniture compounded the problem.
- A too-small piece of wall art was hung from the largest wall of the room.
- The bedrooms were missing bedside tables and lamps.
- The master bedroom’s blow up bed was totally deflated and it made the whole room sad.
I tired to look for a business card to see who had staged this house, but then realized that this house was staged by the real estate agent and this is when the warning signs went up for me. Don’t take me wrong, I know of some savvy real estate agents who also have professional home staging business and they do wonderful work. The key word here is PROFESSIONAL. Being a real estate agent and having a home staging business with full time professional home stagers is a wonderful venture. The problem is when a full time real estate agent tries to stage their own listings with few pieces of furniture that they have collected and keep in their basements or garages.
Two weeks after coming across this house, I received a call from Michael Ackerman, one of my real estate clients from CBBain. He wanted me to stage his upcoming Green Lake listing. Michael’s listing just happened to be right across the street from this house and it was a Tudor style home as well.
Michael’s home sellers were worried about the sale of their home since the house across the street was not selling. I promised them that their house would be beautifully staged for the targeted buyers. Our staged home was sold in one week for the full asking price. Four weeks later, when we de-staged the house, the For Sale sign was still on the yard of the house across the street with an additional red sign on the side indicating REDUCED PRICE!
As we drove away, I wondered how much this butchered staging ended up costing the home owner. The home sellers who hired us to stage their home invested $2,750 in the staging of their home, which was far less than $20,000 price reduction plus the up-keep costs such as mortgage, taxes, …..
YOU as a home seller have a clear choice. Make it right from the beginning
and team up with a full time real estate agent and a professional home stager.
My advise to the home sellers: when it comes to selling your home, one of your greatest investments, look at the bigger picture. Spending an average of $2,500 for staging should not be considered a cost, but rather an investment. Hire a real estate agent who is a savvy marketer and who puts all his/her attention and focus on the selling of your home.
A price reduction is painful. Avoid it by teaming up with full time real estate agents and professional home stagers. A successful sale demands it.