A new program about home staging is set to debut on HGTV Sunday night (10pm EST). The Stagers joins a plethora of shows (six that I can think of off the top of my head) focusing on preparing a house for a quick sale. This one promises to “go inside the hectic world of as they rush to transform a problem house into a showroom — often in just a few days. Amid the tantrums and turmoil are tips and touch-up ideas you can put to work in your own home.”professional home stagers
In speaking with other home stagers, I have found that we all have mixed feelings about the way staging is depicted on television.
While we are thrilled that staging is in the public spotlight and is being introduced to those unaware of it’s power, we fret that these shows give sellers unrealistic expectations.
Designed to Sell, another HGTV program, transforms houses on a $2000 budget. They do spectacular things with that budget in a couple of days, and are able to report a quick sale most times. But what may escape the notice of the viewer is that the $2000 budget does NOT include labor (generally 4 or 5 big, burly carpenters off-camera) or the staging fee. Their final tally is for materials only.
Anyone who has ever installed new cupboards and granite in their kitchen knows that the labor alone for those jobs far exceeds the Designed budget. Add the staging fee to plan, orchestrate and accessorize that kitchen, and you can plan on at least double the bill.
Another issue of concern is color choices made by TV stagers. A&E’s Sell This House is a bit more realistic in that they reuse and re-purpose many of the seller’s furniture and accessories. Sell’s resident stager Roger Hazard, however, has a tendency to paint rooms crazy colors. Pumpkin orange walls? Not a chance! A good stager’s mantra is neutral, neutral, neutral. Orange? Definitely NOT neutral. I just staged a house with an orange bedroom, and I advised them to repaint! Roger and Company don’t quote staging fees either, and they generally don’t report how long it took to sell the house. Maybe their results are affected by the neon green walls.
Most real-world home stagers choose their words carefully when consulting with homeowners. We won’t embarrass the client or berate them for their decorating choices as a certain mother-daughter team does on one of the shows. We’re much more diplomatic than that!
Will The Stagers depict staging in it’s true light? Or will it be a rehash of the other misleading staging shows currently on the schedule? Time will tell. I, for one, will be tuning in. Despite my disparity with some of their methods, I do pick up useful tips and ideas from these shows. I consider them my CEU’s.
If you want to experience the hectic world of turmoil, deadlines, sore muscles, creative differences and eventual success that is REAL home staging, take a ride along with me on one of my jobs. I’ve had some doozies. I can guarantee a show-ready property for $2000, but it probably won’t include a new kitchen. I assure you though, it won’t include fuschia walls either!