How much is too much? Turning Eye Appeal into Buy Appeal!

Home Stager with Restage Inc.

I am constantly asked this question...How much is too much?


When I go into a house I look around initially, ask questions on lifestyle and what their schedules are. Do they have young children, teenagers or pets, etc. And then I start making suggestions.

Yes, I want the house to look as best as possible but and this is a big one the homeowners still have to live there. Selling your house is a difficult and stressful time in any ones life. My job as a stager is not to make it worse but to help make it easier. 

I want the house to sell faster for more money and I want the house to look as good as possible but I also always keep in mind the needs of the homeowners.

I recently came across a family that had had their house for sale for over a year....3 realtors....3 different stagers....I was number 4.

The homeowners told me that they were leery but trying to keep an open mind with me. I started off as usual trying to get a better feel of the homeowners and to learn about their daily living. They had 3 children under 3 and 2 of them were 1 year old twins...K that's amazing number one and number two...k that's the same as number 1. I was blown away that they had been trying to keep the house clean and get everyone packed up and out the door at the drop of a hat when a showing was happening...

Obviously a higher stress situation than normal and yet they were still keeping an open mind with me. Apparently the other stagers had been through the house and made suggestions and gave them a shopping list. The house looked great but their were a few problem areas that had not been addressed. The basement was empty and looked like a bowling alley - long and narrow with no interest. The homeowners went on to tell me how the house was designed for a pool table and poker table and the dimensions were well thought out to accompany both of these. 

INterestingly enough the homeowners are builders and have access to a wide array of furnishings, namely a pool table and a poker table....I told them to bring it in and show the buyers how great the space is and how useable it is. Most buyers (90% approx.) can't see past certain things and need the items in the room to show what belongs where and the potential use of the space.

I found it odd with all of the furnishings and accessories the homeowners had access too that the other stagers still suggested a shopping list for them to buy...hmmm.

My goal is ALWAYS to use what the homeowner had first and then as a last resort but new items if needed. 

But I digress, I suggested keeping the items that they couldn't live without....booster seats on the chairs (push the chairs in and you won't even notice them). Kids toys in a designated zone (don't hide them from view if the potential buyers are a young family that will in all likely hood have toys as well).

Set up a toy area so people can see what a great space it is with lot's of room to play for the little ones.

Staging is about connecting with a potential buyer on an emotional level - People buy homes not houses. 

Another problem area was an awesome bonus room that was currently being used as a baby's room (they had split all of the kids up to keep them from waking on another). I suggested moving the baby's room to another room in the house and setting this room up as a dual purpose room - office and entertainment room.

I suggested a layout that was practical yet pretty and as always made sure to draw up a detailed floor plan to show them exactly where furniture should be placed.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that these items once complete will help show the house to it's best advantage and the house will sell quickly.

I think that all of us as stagers (myself included) need to remember that while we want the house to look like a showhome allowances need to be made when homeowners are still living there.

I hope this helps all my fellow stagers and gives some insight.

One more thing off topic....Our new slogan (Trademarked of course) Turning eye appeal into buy appeal.

Love to hear your comments and thoughts....

Thanks for reading.



Comments (7)

MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Thanks for sharing your tips and thoughts on how to help a real family trying to sell in a challenging market.

Jun 21, 2010 09:02 PM
Tom Priester
Paradise Sharks - Jupiter, FL
Paradise Sharks

Kim, I truly hope that the 4th time is a charm. Best of luck!

Jun 21, 2010 11:33 PM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

You are so correct-it is all about emotions and imaginations!! Best wishes to you!!

Jun 22, 2010 03:30 AM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Sounds like you used your sensitivity to their advantage, Kim.  How fortunate these sellers have acess to additional furnishings like a pool table, etc., that would be very expensive to rent!  Julie

Jun 22, 2010 03:41 AM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Sue, what a lot of courage these homeowners had to try a 4th stager!  I would imagine most people would give up.  I'm so glad they found you - I'm a huge fan of your work, and know they were in excellent hands.  I agree, yes, it's great to make the home look as fabulous as possible for sale, but we still must remember that people have to live and function in those homes while they are on the market.  Great points made here.

Jun 22, 2010 03:45 AM
Julie Davis, Amy Blank - Rediscovered Interiors, LLC
Rediscovered Interiors, LLC - Andover, MN

Interesting that it took the 4th stager to tell them they needed to show better purpose in the other rooms, i.e.  what they were intended for.  Sounds like you helped them the most!  Great ideas.  How frustrating for the homeowners....doesn't show much consistency within the staging industry, especially since "training" isn't regulated yet.  That sure doesn't help the public's viewpoint of what they are going to get when they hire a stager.   Which is too bad.

 I really do like your slogan......quite creative!


Jun 22, 2010 06:26 AM
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Great slogan and thanks for sharing your experience.

Jun 22, 2010 04:21 PM