Last year, I was asked by a home seller to provide a quote for staging a home in West Seattle that had an asking price of $599,000. It was a lovely mid-century house with a charming well manicured garden on a quaint street.
It was easy to love the house, the views, and the original stone fireplace. The large windows (which was one of the beautiful features in most mid-century homes) were stunning and let in so much natural light. The original state of the house was even delightful to see. The house was small, but it was obvious that a young family could live here in a big way.
I presented my staging proposal and also included a notation that all of our designers were booked for the next ten days and the earliest we could stage the house would be after that timeframe.
Within two days, the home seller notified me that another home stager was available to start the following day and could stage her entire house for $1000, including tax. As a professional home stager, who has been in business for years, I knew that another company could NOT provide the same quality of home staging the seller desired for the that price. The quoted amount would not even cover the basic staging costs. I wished her good luck as we ended the call. I told her that she has a lovely home on wonderful street and buyers will love seeing it.
A few days later, I checked the listing online because I was curious to know what a $1000 home staging for a 2000 sq/ft house looks like. Unfortunately, the staging was less than optimal. For example, a huge tufted black leather sofa with two matching arm chairs had been placed in a living room that was on the side of being too small. The only place this oversized sofa could fit, was against the beautiful window with the views. This placement of course cut the view off.
The black oversized furniture pieces, in addition, dominated the room and became the focal point of the home rather than the beautiful views, the stone fireplace, and all that mid-centruy charm. Fake plastic plants sat in every corner of the house and there was no wall art. It was obvious that all the potential and beauty of the house was lost with this presentation. Ninety-five percent of home buyers look online for their homes. The house was on the market for almost five months and was sold at a much reduced price.
The home buyers who saw the photos of this particular house on the internet were distracted by the large misplaced furniture, which dominated the room and blocked the views and diminished the fireplace. You should aslo remember, where quality and first impressions count, allowing yourself to be won over by a lower price tag may end up costing you more in the long run. As Warren Buffet said very wisely, “money is what you put it and value is what you get out.” We get what we paid for.
When you are putting your house on the market and want to have it staged, you should ask yourself what is it that staging is supposed to accomplish. Why is home staging important? Do you want to sell your house or do you prefer to have your house sell the competition? If you want to do it right from the very beginning, start by teaming with a professional home stager who UNDERSTANDS your market and your house’s staging needs. Remember home staging is not about bringing some furniture in a home, it is about creating a life style.
Here is a previous blog about tips on hiring a professional home stager. Home staging has to be viewed as an investment and not a cost. You don’t have to learn this lesson in a hard way, just team up with a qualified professional home stager.
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