Thursday, January 12, 2012

Setting the stage

You may recall from lots of my 'Weekend highlights' posts that I used to love watching back-to-back episodes of "Sell This House" on Sat mornings. "Sell This House" explains and demonstrates home staging, the process of streamlining and neutralizing a home to highlight its attributes and minimize any less desirable features. Its not about redecorating; its about using decor to make a home feel fresh, modern, and as large as possible.

As a realtor I thoroughly endorse home staging. I've shown homes that have that "lived in" look and have heard the negative comments of my clients. I've also shown the same clients the exact same size and floorplan home in the same neighborhood that has been staged and heard the positive comments. When clients tour a staged home they perceive it as bigger, well-maintained, and more valuable. Spouse says that people should be able to look beyond the decor and tidiness, but I ask 'Why should they?' Why not present your home in its best possible condition?

Although I work on Sat mornings now, I still get to watch "Sell This House" because I record it on the DVR. After so many episodes, I feel like I've learned not just the fundamentals of staging, but also more advanced science behind it.

For instance, the fundamentals include removing personal photos and portraits because they are distracting to home buyers who begin thinking about the people in the photos rather than the home.
But an advanced level of staging would also suggest removing a detailed painting for the same reason. Buyers can get distracted on the content of the painting, who painted it, and the subject of the painting and stop thinking about the home. A better option is a simple abstract painting that does not catch a buyer's eye, or a simple geometric wall hanging.The colors in the art should compliment the other furnishings but not be so specific that people want to look more at the art than the room its in.

This week I started staging a client's home in preparation for listing it for sale. Fortunately this client doesn't live in the home full-time so its not cluttered with too much furniture. The home is in very good condition, but it reads as dated due to the current color scheme. It was decorated in 1989 and it shows.

Colors and color combinations go in and out of style over the years. This home's color palette is seafoam green and mauve. If left unchanged I believe buyers will perceive the home to be 'original', possibly neglected, and less valuable, despite the fact that the home was painted a few years ago and has been very well maintained.

So my challenge is to update the home's color scheme to one that is contemporary and fresh to appeal to a wide cross-section of people without spending very much money. Afterall, most sellers don't want to invest a lot of money into a home they want to sell.

I'll take before and after photos of the home and share with you why I changed what I changed. At a minimum I hope you'll find it interesting, and maybe it will help you sell your home quicker and for more money.


Anonymous said...

So in other words, sell something that isn't REALLY as it seems.

Me, I can see a space and picture it emptied of all furniture, paintings, etc. It's that abstract thing I'm really good at.

anne marie in philly said...

I wonder what you would do with MY house! yours is so tastefully decorated and mine...well, let's not go there.

I guess I wasn't born with a decorating gene.

I will be interested in seeing what you do.

tamayn said...

I loved watching Sell this House in the mornings. It was a high point before we started cleaning.

Decoration is such a difficult thing to account for too. There are some people who would prefer a house with a little work to it so they could put their own stamp on it. Of course, that's usually cosmetic changes they want to make. No one wants to buy a house where they have to tear out a bathroom or something like that.