A couple of weeks ago a Realtor who wanted me to take a look at a vacant property and prepare a bid called me. The Realtor informed me that the house was not in the best condition. I When I arrived at the property not in the best condition was an understatement. The home was very dirty and there were so many things that needed to be repaired. The home was built in the late 1950's. Carpet had been ripped up to expose hardwood floors that needed to be refinished. There were things that were renovated in an incomplete and might I say shoddy manner. The kitchen was missing a cabinet door amongst other things. This house was in no way market ready! Never the less I took pictures, notes and left to return to my office to prepare a Home Staging bid.
When I presented the bid to the Realtor and his client I preceded to go over the repairs that I felt needed to be made to the home prior to staging. For instance in one of the bathrooms the tub was badly in need of repair, it was stained probably beyond repair. The tub was in need of caulking and had visible mold. The Realtor and the seller were under the impression that I could just put up a shower curtain and magically make all of this disappear. It seems that they were under the impression that I could come in and Stage the home to make all the items in disrepair disappear. They didn't need a Home Stager they needed a magician. After continuing to go over the bid as well as my concerns it became very apparent to me that both the Realtor and the seller had a false sense of what Home Staging was.
Home Staging is the art of preparing a home for sale, not the art of making things disappear.We as Home Stagers are not in the business of hiding things. We do use the magic of Home Staging to transform a home into a warm and inviting space. However, we don't hide anything in Home Staging we highlight things, we enhance things, we play up things.Anyone that would say other wise shame on them! Home buyers are very savvy. They look everywhere in a home even behind a shower curtain in a bathroom. For most of us when we purchase a home it is one of the single biggest investments that we will ever make. With that being said to assume that a person would buy a home and be fooled by Home Staging that was intentionally covering up obvious items needing repair is very unrealistic.
In this situation I used Barb Schwarz's Staging saying "LET ME TELL YOU HOW I WORK." I explained to the Realtor and Seller what Home Staging was and what Home Staging was not. I explained to them that it was my professional policy that the home be professionally cleaned and all necessary repairs made prior to my company staging it. At the end of the day I am a professional with professional policies as well as a reputation to uphold. It is not and never will be my professional policy to go into a home and try to disguise anything that needs to be repaired. I don't say any of this to try to embarrass the Realtor or the seller. This situation just makes me further realize that we as Home Stagers have so much more educating to do!
After going over all of this I am not sure if the seller will decide to have the home Staged. As the old saying goes you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink! I reiterated over and over how important that it is to Stage a vacant home. The Realtor informed me that the home was getting horrible feedback. I imagine this will remain the case until the home is repaired, staged or until a magician works his or her magic on the home!