To Stage or Not To Stage? That Is The Question.


Posted in Staging


"To be, or not to be that is the question" echoes the opening lines of the soliloquy spoken by Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet. Just like the orchestration of a seamless masterpiece a successful transaction of real estate requires the same careful attention to detail. 

"To many real estate pros, home staging has gone from a luxury to a necessity. The National Association of REALTORS® found in a recent survey that sixty-two percent of sellers’ agents believe staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, and a third say it increases the selling price. The survey also found that staging can help buyers envision themselves living in that home. NAR’s Home Staging Report found that another 77 percent say that staging makes it easier for the buyers to visualize the property as their home. Staging can help transform a home into the type of residence that is demanded and desired in the market." *

I will be honest with you: the decision to go forward and delve into the abyss of staging depends on several factors. Number one being price point. What is the dollar amount that the property is being marketed for and how does that price compare to other similar properties in the neighborhood? Currently the median price for a single family home in Sarasota Florida is $287,053** therefore if you are wanting to get your property listed at $150,000 under contract and sold and you have it priced appropriately it is very probable that to successfully consummate a sale you will require minimal to no staging. Of course, it is essential that the home be well maintained with the larger issues addressed and the interior be tidy and free of any unpleasant odours or visual distractions. In comparison if your goal is to sell your home at a price point of let's say the $500,000 range and other properties in the subdivision are sitting on the market for upwards of 100 days before getting into contract in addition to undergoing multiple price reductions here is where you will want to pay attention and enlist in an expert who has an eye for detail.  I say this with confidence because you are facing the prospect of selling your property with a great deal of competition and where there is competition you have to make sure your investment stands out from the crowd to get noticed. Not only do you want to be better than your competition but you want to price your home appropriately from day one so as not to lose your best pool of buyers in the first month of the listing. There should be an undeniable pull to your property and a solid decision in the minds of the buyers that they would choose your property above all others. 

As you may know from personal experience a buyer's decision making is primarily emotion based. Just like a first date, we only have an opportunity to make a first impression once and that first impression is crucial. Any off putting visual sore spots or strange odors in a property can turn a prospect off and you will never be able to convince them once they have made up their minds should they have objections to your property they just can't get past. To remedy those issues it is essential to enlist the help of a qualified person who has a knack for detail. I know what you are thinking...this is going to be expensive and painful. Well the answer to this is varied because yes you can enlist in an interior designer and pull out all the bells and whistles and get stuck with a hefty bill and would it be worth it? The answer may well be no, not if your property is not commanding a price range in the millions. So what do you do if you need to stage but don't want to pay an arm and a leg for the service? This is where I come in. Having a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Concordia in Montreal, Quebec I have an eye for detail, color and proportions.  I also happen to love to save money where possible without compromising on taste. How is this possible you may ask? There are resources and shops that one can access that don't necessarily have a high price tag. For example you may find many treasures at second hand stores or brilliant low cost ideas on Pinterest or you may have just the right things to stage already in your home only they need a little updating, resurfacing or better object placement. As long as you have a facilitator who understands how to balance and encourage a natural flow you are in good hands. It is safe to say that not everyone has this instinct, often times living in your home day after day year after year may actually cripple your ability to see that space for what it "could be" as you have become so used to seeing and accepting it for what it "has been".  That isn't to say you couldn't become an active participant with me in the journey of transforming your home as I will most certainly enlist your ideas and of course your permission before any changes are made. 

Is the project going to be stressful and laborious you may ask yourself and you have every right to feel hesitant. In fact it is a natural human inclination to feel this way when you are faced with the very real and daunting task of giving your environment, that you may have known and acquainted yourself with for years, a face lift. Who wants to bother and who could even be motivated to begin and how is one even going to find the enthusiasm? This all depends on the understanding, resourcefulness and energy of the expert helping you. I admit it, I get excited when I come up with solutions for home decorating. I have an inner glee when I can find just the right spot for your furniture and objects that may have avoided the limelight because they simply weren't showcased where they could shine. What really gets me ecstatic is when I can figure out an affordable but yet ingenious solution and transform an eyesore into a pleasing aesthetic focal point of a home. Take for example old and outdated chairs with cushions that have unflattering patterns. To purchase a whole new set of dining room chairs would no doubt put a significant dent in your wallet but finding slipcovers for those dining room chairs for under forty dollars was a real life solution that transformed a client's dining room along with just the right color of turquoise in plateware from the Dollar Store. I was like a kid in the candy store when I realized what I had landed upon to make the dining room showing worthy for a very small investment. 

 "What sellers who have put a fortune into their homes don't often understand is that a buyer will make a decision on whether or not to buy within maybe the first 20 to 30 seconds."*** 

 Placing the above sentence into context means making a good first impression within the first 20 to 30 seconds of the buyers entering the home is imperative. And where are the buyers located within the first 20 to 30 seconds? This time lapse would begin at threshold of doorway to the foyer and everything within that vista, so make sure to pay extreme attention to the areas where the buyers will initially set their eyes upon within the first 20 to 30 seconds. One of the first things a buyer notices when entering a home is the way it smells. Here you will have to be careful to use natural, subtle scents such as electrical candle warmers and whatever you do: do not overload the air with the toxic and noxious chemical scents which many people mistakenly think buyers like which is overkill and to some a health hazard. Chemical scents are not pleasing, much like cheap perfume they are a turn off. Whatever negatively distracts buyers will also take them further away from making a commitment on your property. 

The property I was assisting my seller prepare had a front entrance where the doors had a flat and unexciting grey. As you can imagine these doors were not winning any popularity contests.  Because the original paint didn't have a sheen to it I wasn't obligated to use a primer which saved a significant amount of time. I got open a pint of midnight blue can exterior paint with a slight gloss and went to town. The transformation was incredible, it was beyond satisfying and it made a world of difference. Two weeks later the seller and I are still talking about the front entryway and how the blue contrasts perfectly with the magenta Bougainvillea out front. The time invested into painting those doors was worth every hour it took to accomplish as they are they are the starting point of forming the buyers' impression of the property.

Honestly I could go on and on regarding the facelift that took place in this particular home but I will spare you all the details because there are many and the excitement rests in being the owner and assistant to the transformation and securing a successful sale from the investment. I would say if you can find an agent that is willing to go the extra mile for you and gets excited about the process you have found a gold mine because the shorter time on the market your house sits translates into less mortgage payments and bills for yourself and a smoother and quicker transition to your next goals. The work doesn't have to be painful or treacherous because if you have happened upon a real estate agent who is your biggest cheerleader and encourager you are not simply faced with a long list of "things to do" but you have a friend by your side celebrating each victory when an eyesore is remedied and items you didn't know how to place find just the right spot to create a refreshed and inspired place where prospective buyers can dream of owning and enjoying. It's the little things that make all the difference....

Please don't hesitate to contact me seven days of the week from early in the morning until late at night to see how together we can transform your property and make your goals and dreams into a reality. You'd be surprised, you may even enjoy the process as much as I do after all being able to celebrate success is much sweeter when you have someone by your side. 

***Realtor Association of Manatee and Sarasota Market Statistics ***

Below are some before and after photographs of the home:


Recovered Dining Room Chairs with Dollar Store Plateware.