Am I missing something? Model homes & Staging....

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team

Ok, I know model homes are 'overstaged' most of the time.  They have that 'designer flare' and builders pay big bucks for them.  Most of the time I love going through them, but recently I've been noticing a trend here in Charleston... it's not one I get.  Let me show you photos of the model home I was in today.  We are staging a home with the same layout as this project only 1 block away.  This is the same builder... the home isn't selling the way they hoped and so they are going to stage another unit.... only using a stager, not a designer....





Ok, now how many of you stagers, if you saw this in MLS, would contact the agent to advise this home needs to be neutralized?  I'm a huge fan of fun, whimsical, and bold - in my home - but is this really what buyers want to see when they are looking at models?  Do you feel like this home is really helping the builder sell their floorplans?  Personally I would say the fact that we are staging the same floorplan in this subdivision, with the same builder, the answer is NO!

How much do you think the builder paid for this designer look?  How much would they save having a professional stager 'stage' it?  Our bid is $3200 for this 3 bdrm home (3 months, every room & front porch)  I'll post photos after we finish next week.... we'll let you decide which you prefer....

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 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).



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Wendy Casey
A-List Home Staging & Decor - Surrey, BC

My memories of this model home are flowers, pink, green, busy, busy, busy (mostly, stripping wallpaper!) Oh, yes, where were the windows, and the architectural features? That's what I love about staging - it only focuses on the room's selling features...not the 'trendy' decor. I know you will do us all proud when you stage this place, Melissa. Thanks for illustrating the difference between staging and (over)decorating!

Wendy Casey

A-List Home Staging



Aug 09, 2007 04:19 AM #16
Julianna Hind
eXp Realty - Tacoma, WA
REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA

Melissa, yes --- they are two different things completely. I cant wait to see your project.

Aug 09, 2007 04:28 AM #17
Lynn Crawford, A Different View, DC Metro Area

I'm a stager and this is just too over-the-top! Can you visualize a 6'.5" guy being comfortable with all the "fou fou?" I know if I dragged my husband through a model like that his first comment would be no way!

I agree with you that the models are over-decorated today. Very often the decorating takes away from the basic architecture of the home (although being on the East Coast I'm a big fan of molding and architectural detail)

Aug 09, 2007 05:03 AM #18
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY
Melissa - Yikes!!!  It is an explosion of color.  Can't wait to see yours.
Aug 09, 2007 06:47 AM #19
Brian Bloom 1-630-292-2710 - Bartlett, IL
All in One Staging Inc. - Home Staging Consultant, Redesign Expert

I agree with Diana.... I felt a bit Dizzy after looking at those pic's,

can't wait to see you work your magic Melissa,


Best wishes, Brian Bloom ~ All In One Staging

Aug 09, 2007 09:24 AM #20
Pam Turner
Freelance Home Staging - Wilmington, VA

I agree with Joelle and others... my first thought was - some of this place needs to be staged!  Melissa, I know the builder is going to be amazed at how much faster your staged one does than this one!  Best of luck to you and please keep us informed.


Pam Ives -

Aug 09, 2007 09:29 AM #21
Cari Pilon
RE:STYLE Home Staging - Brighton, MI
RE:STYLE Home Staging
Can you put a bid in on redoing the model Melissa? As Stagers we always say that issues like these distract the buyer from actually "seeing" the house - is the builder trying to hide something?
Aug 09, 2007 09:30 AM #22
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento
Melissa... I can't wait for the builder to see your house when it is done. You will have done it right.... hmmm, why don't you suggest that you and your team go back and redo the models for him?  How many houses does he have to sell?  It might be worth it for him to redo the models if he has several lots sitting.
Aug 09, 2007 01:51 PM #23
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Hi Melissa,  Holy Moly!  That's visual abuse!  No place to set your eyes and completely distracting.  You almost forget what you are supposed to be looking at...oh, yeh, the house! 

I understand that the decor in the Models is supposed to help create the vision of a lifestyle for prospective buyers, but that decor is way too specific in taste.  Yeh, I'm with the others...see if you can get back in there and redo it once you do the other house.  You'll show 'em how it's done! 

Aug 09, 2007 02:36 PM #24
Michelle Ewing
Trademark Realtors - Riverside, CA
Riverside, CA
I've said this before--I hate wallpaper.  And they used some particularly distracting wallpaper at that.  I can't imagine that the wall papered rooms would appeal to very many people.
Aug 09, 2007 04:51 PM #25
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"
This is the most distracting and unattractive model I've ever seen.  It's incredulous that a builder paid a designer for this result.  Please post your photos quickly so we can erase this hideous memory -- I'm afraid I'll have a nightmare about it!
Aug 09, 2007 05:30 PM #26
Juliet Johnson
Vizzitopia - St Johns, FL
Jacksonville Social Media Marketing

These are great examples of text book stuff - the difference between designing for people who live in a home vs. styling and merchandising a property for sale, i.e. staging.  One would have to assume this is what the designer and her family would do with the condo if SHE were living there.  It's specific, not generic and I think the public are getting used to generic, and don't want designer anymore.

That being said, in my area of Short Hills, there's a fanciness, a look of Luxe that people will still pay a premium for.

Aug 09, 2007 11:48 PM #27
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

Can't wait to see your version!  They must have been getting kickbacks from the paper hanger!  :)

Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Aug 10, 2007 02:00 AM #28
Stephanie Heron
Dressing Rooms LLC - Scottsdale, AZ
Weeber - Dressing Rooms

I have a bit of a theory on these over-decorated models. Most of the models I have been into recently have been for rather boring, plain tract homes - if you walk out of the model and into an empty available house in the same development you would not believe it was the same house. I think they might be over decorating to disguise the fact that some of these houses don't have any architectural features to show off so they seduce the buyers with a lifestyle they aspire to but are unlikely to achieve. A $300,000 home with $150,000 dollars worth of furniture in it! Not to mention every upgrade available. Don't get me wrong - I would love to get my hands on a builder's model and their budget and I am in awe of the designers and the ideas they come up with. But I think you will do a fabulous job on your more limited budget Melissa - and I am sure the builder will be delighted.


Aug 10, 2007 03:43 AM #29
Karla Davis
EEK! Less is more! I don't know too many people that can relate to eating in a pink dining room or a jungle of a kitchen. These designs are just wrong! Maybe this designer thought natural and more neutral was just too boring..who knows. My hairdresser is the same way. Even though he tells me he loves my long locks he loves to cut, I like to trim!
Aug 10, 2007 04:19 AM #30
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta
All I can say while looking at these pictures is "YUCK".  Way to distracting.  I may be one of the few home stagers that never checks out Model Homes to get ideas.  I have never found them appealing.  This post reminds me why I don't like Model Homes.  Thanks for sharing.
Aug 10, 2007 04:42 AM #31
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT

For the love of Pete!  They ARE trying to sell these homes, right?


I love looking at model homes but, agree that they tend to be over the top...  What I've wondered is...why hasn't anyone REALIZED that, yet???

Aug 11, 2007 02:13 PM #32
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
Thanks for everyone's posts.  We will have this home finished by Thursday.  I've been out of town until tonight.  I decided to stage it with a complete juxtaposition.... we are using black, white & taupe w/ modern clean lines (transitional style) and city style art.  This should appeal to the younger buyers that are actually looking at this price & size home.  I also decided that it should give buyers a completely different take on the home.  No sense in going traditional when they already have that... sort of.....
Aug 12, 2007 03:04 PM #33
Angie Vandenbergh
Crye-Leike, Realtors - Memphis, TN
A Crye-Leike Blogger
wow - I'm shocked a builder would do that. I imagine buying new construction because of all the possibilities I have to put myself in it. If I was willing to do all the work to re-wallpapaper and paint I would probably not be looking at new construction. For me new construction equals no need to re-wallpaper :)
Aug 18, 2007 10:14 AM #34
Pat Moore
Flowers & stripes & toile oh my!!  We have similiar decorating being done in Greenville SC too.  I always wonder if the "designer" is the builder's wife or mother or some other friend/relative.  
Aug 18, 2007 01:00 PM #35
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