by Bill Koelzer
When Coastal Castles Realty’s broker-owner, Debbie Ferrari first walked into the 5,000 square foot home - high up on a San Clemente hill with a stunning 180-degree ocean view - it was furniture and decor-barren.
“The owner had asked me what I could do to help sell the home,” Ferrari says. “After walking through the many expansive rooms I told them, ‘People just don’t get this beautiful home - they cannot see the huge potential here. Let’s stage it with the correct furniture, art, plants, decorating items and design elements and arrangements that will properly display a recently-remodeled home of this obviously intense high quality.’
“They were surprised at first by the cost to stage the huge home, but finally okayed it. Now the offers are pouring in, and they wholeheartedly support what 20-year Staging Professional Carol Roemmer, (who has staged more than 360 homes) has done to enhance the home’s marketability.”
Roemmer says, “I see this often. A homeowner views the rooms in their home in a rigid, habitual way and assumes that everyone else will automatically see things the same way. They don’t.”
Ferrari points out, “Within a week Carol had every room in this home outfitted with the proper style and quality of furniture to reflect the best generic use of each room. The carefully selected furniture fleshed out each room - even the patio.”
Staging Turns Cold into Sold Gold …
After 20 years as a Stager, Carol offers the following ideas about the art of staging a home:
1. What is staging?
The way we live in a home and the way we sell a home are two different things. Staging is about creating a lifestyle that the potential buyer would want for his own. Whether it is an owner-occupied home or a vacant property it is always about the first impression!
2. What goes on when a buyer first enters a home?
Buyers make up their minds within minutes of viewing a home. Unlike the personal decorating ideas and family preferences the owner made to create his or her lifestyle, staging sets a new scene for the buyer upon entering every room in the home.
3. How long does a buyer take to form an opinion about a room/home?
With proper staging a small room can look larger and an extremely large room not cavernous. Too often the buyer is conflicted about big/small spaces and staging manages their sense of the space.
4. Why do sellers/Realtors® use stagers?
Once again, the first impression is the most important. Then there is marketing the home; beautifully staged homes/rooms create a palette for the professional photographer to capture the essence of the home. Let’s face it - a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Or maybe many thousands of dollars added to the final sales price.
5. Why don’t sellers stage homes themselves?
Short answer….they are not objective! Sellers and agents should select a professional staging service with a proven track record.
6. Why stage the home you live in?
We are often asked to help stage homes that are owner-occupied homes. One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff - put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Hiring a home stager will maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
7. Does staging add to final sales price and to a speedier sale?
The offering price is set by the Realtor® and the owner, and most desirable is a full price offer. Sometimes, though, the listing price starts too high and needs to be adjusted. My experience is that staging a home results in a faster sale which mean less time on the market allowing the owner to move on to their next home sooner.
8. How do people find/choose stagers?
Because the internet has become the best source for finding just about any product or service, so it is with staging. A stager’s website should show a good portion of the stager’s Currently Staged Properties, examples of Before and After Photos, and most importantly their current Raving Reviews by Agents, Sellers and Buyer’s Agents.
9. What is the BEST way to find stagers? By using Yelp, Merchant Circle, Etc?
Because staging is so tied into the real estate industry, the active Realtors® who have employed professional stagers for their clients’ homes become the best source for the homeowner.
10. What about partial staging of a home?
We all know how much buyers love the builder’s home models. Have you ever seen a builder model with an empty room? The answer is No. We are always asked if we can do a partial staging the answer again is No. Our full staging service is the reason why we are so successful. We create a complete home lifestyle that the potential buyer typically wants, room by room.b