Today I am excited to introduce a new contributor to miOaklandCounty.com, Marianne Sweet of Home Sweet Home Staging, LLC. We are seeing more and more clients use the services of a professional stager, and other clients who haven’t even heard of staging. Marianne has graciously agreed to share some her knowledge and wisdom on the topic with our readers. Welcome Marianne! —Maureen
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Staging!
What, you ask, is home staging? A search on Dictionary.com results in “no entries”. Likewise for Thesaurus.com. But trusty Wikipedia has this to say:
Home staging (British English: House doctoring) is the act of preparing a private residence prior to going up for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to sell a home quickly, and for the most money possible by attracting the most amount of potential buyers. Staging focuses on improving a property to make it appeal to the largest amount of buyers by transforming it into a welcoming, appealing, and attractive product for sale. Staging often raises the value of a property by way of reducing the home’s flaws, depersonalizing, decluttering, cleaning, improving condition items, and landscaping. For vacant homes, rental furniture is used to create a living space the buyer could “see” themselves in. Properly executed staging leads the eye to attractive features while minimizing flaws.
This is a fairly comprehensive definition. In fact, if you take a look at a brochure for my home staging company, you will find much the same information, stated in much the same way.
But I would like to take it a step further.
n addition, home staging:
• Is a term which was first coined in the 1970’s
• Is also referred to as “House Fluffing” in other countries
• Is standard practice before listing on the West Coast
• Is an emerging trend in the Mid-West
• Will always cost less than a price reduction
• Is one of the fastest growing careers in recent years
• Has inspired people from every walk of life, including this pediatric nurse, to start their own home staging business
• Is the subject matter for an ever-increasing number of reality TV shows
• Is still an unknown concept to many (a fact that I hope to change by providing insight into the process and benefits of home staging)
So now that you have an overview of staging, let’s get into the nitty gritty!
Yes, home stagers “un-decorate”. One of the most important tasks when staging is to depersonalize the home. We are the polar opposites of interior decorators and redesigners who infuse a space with the homeowner’s personality. A home stager’s main goal is to make each room neutral. Impersonal. Generic, if you will. This is achieved by removing all family photos, religious items, anything adorned with the seller’s name or personal information (diplomas, awards, mail etc.), collections such as Beanie Babies or Grandma’s tea cups and pet items…..not to mention the pets themselves. We don’t even want visitors to know that Magglio Ordonez is your Tiger! The potential buyer needs to be able to “mentally move in,” which is nearly impossible if constant reminders of the family currently living there abound. To most homeowners’ dismay, this also entails neutralizing bold wall colors and removing taste-specific décor, fabrics and wallpaper. Many a house languishing on the market has sold soon after being “un-decorated”.
Once the home has been neutralized, the home stager works to create the most appealing focal point for each room. People acquire and arrange furniture to work with their family’s lifestyle, which is exactly as it should be. When you list a home for sale, however, it becomes a product for sale on the market and it must be presented as such. The home stager usually needs to remove extra pieces of furniture, keeping only the minimum required to show the room’s potential. Furniture will be rearranged to spotlight the best features of a room (the fireplace or lovely garden view, for example). By drawing the potential buyer’s eyes elsewhere, flaws such as poorly-placed closets or air vents will be minimized. The potential buyer will see that these less-than-desirable components can be worked around. Home stagers do not try to trick buyers by covering up gaping holes in walls or dangling electrical cords. A good stager will make certain that these defects are remedied before showings begin.
Having a professional home stager involved in the preparation of your house can be the difference between a “For Sale” sign and a “Sold” sign in the front yard. Home staging is truly an investment in the sale of your property, and no one will root more enthusiastically for its sale than your stager!
In future installments of this blog I plan to tackle many different aspects of staging. The docket includes de-cluttering, vacant home staging, what the reality shows don’t tell you about staging, Staging for Seniors, behind the scenes of a staging job, smoothing ruffled feathers and holiday staging. I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions, so feel free to send them in. I look forward to imparting my tidbits of staging wisdom on whomever will listen!
Until next time………Stage On!
[tags]home staging, marianne sweet, home sweet home staging, staging a home to sell, oakland county home stager[/tags]