Good Things Come In 3’s for an Older Home!

Home Stager with Simply Staging

This is a classic example of how some good old fashioned elbow grease, can transform an outdated house into one amazing home - and without having to spend a lot of money doing it.

Several months ago, I received a call from an ASP Real Estate Agent to provide a Consultation for an upcoming listing.  I try to get as much background information from the agent first so that I know what I'm walking into.  The agent said that the house was nice, well maintained, in a good neighborhood, but it was old and needed a lot of updating.  In addition, the homeowners wanted to sell at the higher-end of the price range, but of course - they had a relatively small budget for updates.  I love a challenge, so I said "bring it on!"

Fortunately, the kitchen had been recently updated and it looked pretty fantastic.  Overall the home had been lovingly maintained and it showed, the sellers had great furnishings to work with too, but all the love in the world couldn't hide how outdated the bathrooms were and how dark the house looked and how empty the living room was.  The old oak trim and oak cabinets throughout the house gave away the home's almost 30 years of age and made it very, very dark inside.

There was a $1,000 budget set aside for any updates and the staging costs, not very big at all when considering what needed to be done.  The good news was that the sellers were willing to do whatever it took as long as it was within the budget.

The RE Agent knew that the house was going to have to look amazing to get the top dollar that the sellers so desperately wanted.  Did I mention that they'd already bought their new house?  So they needed to sell fast to avoid the two mortgage problem.  Calling in a Stager to determine what changes will bring in the biggest bang for your buck, is definitely a wise investment. 

The Staging Consultation recommendations included minor, low cost changes, but there were many of them and three larger projects that would require some hard labor, a little know how, and not a lot of money.  The bigger projects included:  1) Painting the oak trim and cabinet's white.  2) Changing the shiny, brass light and bathroom fixtures to something a little more modern, like brushed nickel and 3) Adding living room furniture to the living room area to provide a good first impression.

Picture of dark cabinets before staging

These changes were not very costly, the painting was time consuming, but fairly simple to do, and made huge impacts thoughout.  This is a before and after view of the cabinets - what a difference!  Oak is no longer attractive to most buyers and a fresh coat of paint was all it took to get this area looking updated and made the hall brighter too. updated cabinets after painting white


picture of updated bathroom




This is a picture of the updated bathroom, new light fixtures, new water faucets, painted cabinets, new mirrors and updated hardware.  Low cost update, new looking bathroom!













No Furniture





The living room was completely empty.  The homeowner's never used this room, so they never put anything in it.










This is the after shot of the living room.  We didn't use a full sized sofa, but 2 simple reading chairs and rug and some pictures to define the rooms size and add a little warmth.  Even with a small budget, the room looked and felt better.

Updated Living Room with Furniture

The few pieces of furniture were rented from our inventory and the painted trim & cabinets made the house look brighter, newer and much more modern.  The updated fixtures gave the house a fresh look too.  Buyers obviously thought so as well because the first open house weekend which was 3 days after completing the 3 big changes, resulted in 3 offers! 

3 big changes for not a lot of money, 3 days on the market, 3 offers! 

Now the sellers wished they would've done the recommended changes years ago because the house turned out so well and they didn't get to enjoy it for very long! 

 Simply Staging has been offering Home Staging Solutions for both the "Vacant" and the "Not So Vacant" homes in El Dorado County and The Greater Sacramento area for more than 3 years.  For a free proposal, give us a call at (530) 417-1337 and see what it takes to get your home "Sell Ready".

Posted by

Emma Vargas, ASP

Simply Staging has been offering Home Staging Solutions for both the "Vacant" and the "Not So Vacant" homes in El Dorado County and The Greater Sacramento area for more than 4 years.  For your proposal, give us a call at (530) 417-1337 and see what it takes to get your home "Sell Ready".

Comments (4)

Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Emma -  I'm now in my 5th year of working at removing the white paint off of my beautiful woodwork.  However, my home is an early 1800's home with the most gorgeous of trim, doors and coving, and not one a mere 30 years old :0)  Someone advised the previous owner to paint it all white.  They also advised them to make the kitchen white.  When I first saw the home I was horrified at how it didn't work with the personality and style of the home.  I bought it not because of the white but in spite of it.  I knew it could be restored back to its former glory.  We immediately redid the kitchen to age it and yet keep it modern.  I'm happy to say that luxurious, understated but rich, wallpaper is making a comeback as this house cries out for it (no I am not a wallpaper fan but some homes scream for it)

I hope this home has sold and that the Buyers appreciate what you did for this particular home.  In my home and several others I've seen in my area, white is not the way forward as the homes are 150+ years old and their woodwork needs to be celebrated not hidden away.

Sep 17, 2009 09:11 AM
Emma Vargas
Simply Staging - Cameron Park, CA
Simply Staging

Susan-  I couldn't agree more.  Out here in Northern California, we have beautiful Victorian homes in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas, that to me, are very beautiful.  These are historical homes that should be preserved, and if you are lucky enough to own one, you have a responsibility to restore it.  These homes have gorgeous architecture, real wood paneling everywhere, wood floors, carved stone fireplaces and beautifully textured walls that you just don't see anymore. 

A stager should never recommend painting over and/or destroying the architecture of a home like this because it's what makes the house unique and beautiful.  Staging is about addressing a home's negative features and emphasizing the beautiful ones.  Good luck with the restoration of your home!

Sep 17, 2009 09:54 AM
c m
Colorado Springs, CO

I've been on both sides of this fence with paint, Susan and Emma.  I have lived in  Victorians, which we spent years scraping and peeling. I have also painted over wood trim in "newer" homes. Most stagers would know where to draw that line between beautiful and restorable, and old and dated.  My one piece of good fortune was in an 1885 home that had original feather painting in the foyer all along the stairwell.  It was so well done, I believed it was oak paneling for the first 2 yrs I lived there!

Sep 17, 2009 07:11 PM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

3 big changes for not a lot of money, 3 days on the market, 3 offers!

I would say that you did the right thing.  They wanted to list at the top of the market and had 3 offers.

Great job.  Sometimes we must paint the cabinets.

Sep 18, 2009 02:03 PM