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It's too bad that this excellent post by Joanne O'Donnell in Oakland, California, didn't get featured.
It's posts like this that I think too often get overlooked by ActiveRain when they are looking for Featured Posts. They need someone who will go around and visit the people who haven't had a Featured Post recently and feature some of their work. Unfortunately, it seems to be the same old people day after day with the Featured Posts. I've noticed that some of them even go back to old Featured Posts, either of theirs or their friends, rewrite it, and get it Featured again! That's probably my only complaint about ActiveRain.
is not decorating or design;
staging is a marketing tool for selling a house and, as such, should be
a part of every real
estate professional's toolkit. As
in all marketing we want to target our
audience and appeal to the largest potential base of that buying
demographic. That is where a professional home
stager comes in. Today's professional stager
continually educates themselves in what the market trends are and
in-depth marketing knowhow. A stager has to understand the
psychology of the buyer and have an understanding of scale, design, and
color. Today's market requires a more sophisticated
approach to preparing a home for market and so the staging industry is
in even more demand.
design caters to the individual client, their likes and dislikes, their
life choices, their personal style. Staging neutralizes the
home and accentuates its selling features and flow while maximizing
space. The goal is securing a more favorable offer, more quickly, from
a buyer. Price or location don't matter, all homes can
benefit from professional staging. Staging is about
universal style, neutralizing and showcasing the space so a future
owner can emotionally connect with the property. Style that is too
personal or too specific to a particular homeowner or type of homeowner
will greatly limit potential buyers. When the home remains
too personal, buyers often feel they are intruding. Here are
some practical tips for what to consider and how to make it
colors are the first thing that comes to mind, but some go too far with
"realtor beige" on all walls,
etc... This does not create that warm, fuzzy feeling in
potential buyers that bring those offers rolling in.
Paint choices should be Staging Safe®
without being boring and uninviting. Sophisticated
taupes, rich tans, soft moss greens and warm creamy yellows can create
a welcoming ambiance without making a design statement that will
eliminated large portions of the target market.
Another area where the principal of neutrality should be applied in
staging is gender. Homes and the rooms in them should not be
so gender specific as to make half the population not comfortable in
them. As a professional stager I see this all the
time. Usually since the female tends to be the decorator in
many traditional couples, the home has too much pink, lace and flowers
on fabric... Décor should be androgynous - not too masculine
nor too feminine. So if you love pink, combine it with
charcoal grey or black and confine it to bathrooms or children's
rooms... lace should be relegated to the baby or little
girl's room... and replace flowered fabric with leaves, geometric or
abstract patterns. On the other hand, men need to repurpose
their trophy rooms, take down the motorcycle and car calendars (you
guys know what I'm talking about here...) from their garages, and turn
that hanging-out-with-my-buddies-poker-palace back into the wholesome
family room the builder intended and most buyers want...
Religion is a very personal thing and therefore, by definition, it
needs to remain out of a home that is on the market. This is
a touchy subject with clients that needs to be handled with kid
gloves. I think it is hardest to broach this subject with
homeowners with whom we do not share a belief system, we don't want to
offend. As the professional, you have to take your own
beliefs and feelings out of the discussion, even out of your thoughts
as you have the discussion with your sellers. Remember, it is
about selling the home and the décor needs to be something
of a blank slate on which the buyer can superimpose their own life.
In our diverse multicultural, multiethnic society we have the advantage
of experiencing foods, ideas, culture and styles from around the
world. Many of the styles have been incorporated into high
fashion and everyday design and add richness to home style.
So, when a home has these elements, they don't all have to be
eliminated, just used sparingly so that the end product doesn't feel
specific to any ethnicity or culture. The result can be an
interesting, eclectic melting pot of style.
The thing that really brought this home for me was viewing a property
that proudly projected a staunch belief in politics that were
antithetical to my own. I wasn't offended or uncomfortable
but I found myself thinking about the people and their beliefs instead
of the features of the house. I wondered if the rest of the
neighborhood was primarily of the political persuasion of the
homeowners, whether I would not fit in here. This is not
where you want potential buyers' minds going.
I have had clients who wanted me to stage a Victorian in Victorian
furniture. While this is somewhat of the ultimate extreme,
many homes have furnishings that are either extremely modern or
extremely traditional, and not always to match the architecture.
Always remember we need to stage to the targeted buyer, while
remembering that style spans generational groups, cultures, geography,
etc. Just because someone is over 50, doesn't mean they want
heavy, ornate furniture anymore than those under thirty all want glass
and chrome. So, the rule of thumb is to bring it to the
middle with contemporary style that with a few accessory changes could
satisfy the modern as well as the classic. There are places
where we move more in one direction than the other - an urban loft, for
instance - but, in general, move these styles toward the center.
Last but not least, the age-old problem of collections - the
bane of the stagers' existence. People
love their collections, they are proud of them; they are status symbols
to them; they want to display them and are emotionally attached to
them. The classic example is the doll collection
that covers every surface in the formal living room. This
particular type of collection also holds a place in the gender specific
category hall of fame... Regardless of what the collection
is, even if it is the most valuable, beautiful collection imaginable,
it will take the potential buyers' attention from the selling features
of the home. Combine that with the potential for theft and
breakage and you should have your sellers getting out the bubble wrap
in no time flat.
Joanne O'Donnell has been professionally staging quality homes in the
San Francisco Bay Area since early 2002 and her staging work was
prominently featured in "Home
Staging for Dummies" in
2008. Joanne does training and consulting in home staging,
design and green business practices throughout North
America. She will be speaking on "Maximizing
Results through Home Staging" at the 2009 Texas Association of Realtors
Convention in September. For home staging, training and
consulting services contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.