‘Bad Staging’? Hmmm…Depends On Your View…

Real Estate Agent with ReDesign To Sell (TM)

This weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time playing in the RAIN...

While working my way through a veritable smorgasbord of literary delights, I came across an interesting post from Judy Kincaid .  She had correctly identified an important aspect of home staging:  highlighting the best features that stay with the home.

Judy‘s post provides us with her opinion regarding some staging that was performed on an episode of Get It Sold!  , a series on HGTV.  Judy remarks upon the importance of highlighting the features that stay with the home, not the props that will be leaving with the sale.  Particularly, she disagrees with the show's Stager on the placement of a sofa in front of a picture window and the use of a rented fireplace (gel fueled).  She felt that the Stager did not appropriately emphasize the "focal point" in the room.

I admit, her post got me to thinking!  (love that about the posts in AR!)  And, while I agreed with much of what she had to say, I couldn't agree completely.

I felt that perhaps a bit more could be said on this...a different perspective, if you will...

Yes.  A Stager should highlight the best features of a home...those that will stay with the home.  However, the Stager must be knowledgeable... able to determine if a particular feature really is a best feature or something that should be highlighted.

Just because a home has, for example, a picture window...that does not necessarily mean that it is actually one of the home's best features.  I mean...  What, exactly, is on the other side of that picture window?

A neighbor with a penchant for going without his shirt or mowing the lawn in his boxers?









A neighbor with an eclectic taste in lawn art?

A neighbor who is a bit behind in the lawn maintenance department?










Oh...and what about those darn nosy neighbors?











Heck...  It might not have anything to do with the neighbors...













That picture window may just have a crappy view...

An unfortunate view should not be highlighted...











Maybe the home is located in a lollipop community with neighbors right on top of each other.  Yes...the buyer already knows this, but the buyer really wants to know that there is a space inside the home that is just for them.  That this home can provide that space...

Let's face it...  There are some windows that buyers do not love.

Sure.  Go ahead...let in the light!  But, a Stager should avoid highlighting a feature that is less than flattering, just because it stays with the home.  You're not hiding it...you're just not flaunting it.  The potential buyer (I assure you) will be able to spot any less than flattering features...right away.  You, the Stager, do not want the negative features to smack potential buyers upside the head so that they are blinded to those positive things that balance out or obscure the negative in their mind.

A cozy room...an oasis...a haven.  That is what staging helps the buyer to visualize.  What are the possibilities?  What could this room be like?  Hmmm...yes...who cares about the view outside that window...when this is what I could come home to...

With that said... if you've got windows and views like these (hehe)?  By all means...flaunt ‘em!

As for some of the other points in the post, again, I would agree in most situations.

A bed in front of a window?  More often than not...a no-no...

Once again, one hopes that the Stager has the experience and/or skill to properly evaluate the space and determine the best placement of the furniture.  There are times when the bed just has to go in front of the window (i.e., room dimensions/layout, traffic flow, etc).  You wouldn't put the bed on a side wall that would interfere with flow and you wouldn't do so at the expense of showcasing the room's capacity for furnishings either.  Ideally you don't want a buyer to enter the bedroom by walking into the side of the bed.  Nor do you want them to feel as if there's no room for a dresser.  Just to open up the window?

Rented fireplaces?  Hmmm...  Having been born and raised in Miami (South Florida), there was a time when I might have had some difficulty seeing the benefit in this.  However, my past 17 years in New England have broadened my perspective a bit.

A home that is located in a region that experiences the fullest of the seasons could potentially benefit from the use of a rented fireplace in staging.   [Picturing a blustery, winter day on Cape Cod]

Also, these really do make excellent focal points...especially in rooms that desperately need a focal point!

These are NOT fixtures...these are not attached to the property.  The agents will (should) know that.  Why?  Because, if they aren't sure, they should ASK...a good agent never assumes.  Let's see...first clues...  No chimney, no vent, no source of fuel... NOT in the MLS.

FIXTURE - An item which is attached to and forms part of the buildings or land itself and are, therefore, included in the sale or property unless specifically excluded in the contract.

Finally...  Staging is all about helping buyers visualize the positives and the potential of a property.  To get it sold!  It's that simple.

There are many styles, many techniques, and many opinions.  Not to mention all the experts and their rules.

By this point, you are probably asking...  "Well, gee, Lisa...is there such a thing as ‘bad staging'?"  Sure.  But, rules don't always apply.  Throw them out the window...along with that view of the neighbor's jockeys.

Each property is unique...and a skilled, talented Stager will know exactly what that property needs.

As I've said before...  Knowledge, Communication and Realism...those are the keys.  There is far more to it than a love of decorating and a 2 day seminar.

For those brave souls who have entered and endured this lengthy, desperate attempt to hold my own with my exceptionally talented peers (bloggers)...  And, for the inspiration provided by those same exceptionally talented peers (you know who you are)...


Lisa Rapose, Realtor®, Property Enhancement Specialist TM

The Partner Network, LLC
485 Hartford Pike
Dayville, CT 06241
Office:  (860) 779-1939 ext. 263
Fax:  (860) 779-0824






Comments (49)

Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN
LISA - How did you get a picture of my next door neighbor?  ;)
Nov 07, 2007 11:25 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT

Cindy...  LOL...  Gotta love those neighbors!

Charlene...  Thanks for that!  Does this mean I'm upgraded to a Rookie Blogger?  ;o)

Denise...  Well said and I couldn't agree with YOU more!  I especially love your reference to knowing the "target buyer"...  Excellent point and oh so true...  Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to comment.

Nov 07, 2007 11:28 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Kimberly...  Shhhh!  I promised I wouldn't disclose his identity!  lol  ;o)
Nov 07, 2007 11:33 AM
No Longer Active
Real Estate - Fallon, MT
Hey Lisa..... Got a trio wonder where you are, working this morning?
Nov 10, 2007 03:32 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Dan...  Good thing I know where to find my trio...keeps me grounded...  ;o)
Nov 11, 2007 01:24 AM
No Longer Active
Real Estate - Fallon, MT
Lisa,  See you got your BlogLog up and running.  Now you'll know every time I float in for a visit.
Nov 18, 2007 05:13 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Dan...  LOL...  Yep, helps me keep tabs on you!  ;o)
Nov 29, 2007 12:38 AM
Robin Willis
eXp Realty - Tucson, AZ
CDPE, SRES, Associate Broker
I totally agree.  A good home stager will draw interest in the features that stay with the home and will also pay attention to the uniqueness of each individual home.  This takes talent once you're out of the recently built subdivisions and into the more original homes.
Nov 29, 2007 07:17 AM
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"
Sometimes, if we aren't bringing in our own accessories, and we only have the homeowners stuff to work with, it is a challenge to play up a homes features.  And sometimes, unfortunately your work is as good as what you have to work with-if that makes sense.
Jan 14, 2008 06:32 PM
Becca Briggs
Rochester, NY
Very enlightening post!  I read Judy's post and saw the show I did question the fireplace rental. I agreed with her, it seemed like it might cause issues later on.  But then I read your post, and remember that we are romancing the buyers so hey why not.  When you buy a toaster for example, the box shows toast with cream cheese and strawberries, with orange juice in a wine glass on pretty china.  None of those things come with the toaster, not even the toast but its sells the toaster right!  Thanks for the post!
Jan 14, 2008 11:50 PM
Cari Pilon
RE:STYLE Home Staging - Brighton, MI
RE:STYLE Home Staging

I don't think that many aspects of staging are "rules" per-say; I would call them more of guidelines... While I can't say never, I would probably do everything I could not to put furniture in front of a window. I would probably not bring in a portable (LOL) fireplace. I would however try to utilize other things to convey what a fireplace would do for a room.

As passionate as some of us Home Stagers are, we tend to see the things that Judy saw and react. It is easy when you blog to generalize to get your point across.

BTW - Becky or Nicole - love the analogy!

Jan 15, 2008 12:23 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT

Robin...  Definitely...you "get it".  Thanks for stopping in...

Cindy...  You made perfect sense!  Thanks for the comments.

Becky/Nicole...  Thanks, I'm glad you think so!  And, when you have a defect or damage (or just something that should not be "highlighted"), you focus on the positive...the potential!  Never hide a defect/damage/etc...just emphasize what is really good.  BTW, I love the analogy...

Cari...  Yes, there are "guidelines"...  Stagers just need to remember that and be flexible...look at the big picture.  Thanks for stopping in...

Feb 13, 2008 02:06 AM
Justin Kelcourse
Keller Williams Coastal Realty - Portsmouth, NH
Helping You Reach Your Home Ownership Goals
i loved those window view, great pictures.
Feb 13, 2008 02:18 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Justin...  LOL  Glad you liked 'em...
Feb 13, 2008 02:28 AM
Julia Fedak
Platinum Home Designs - Burlington, ON

Love the post....and especially love the pic's! Great perspective on staging..

I admire those who are creative in their writing after being creative all day at work!


Feb 13, 2008 03:40 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Julia...  Thank you for the wonderful comments...they are much appreciated.  :o)
Feb 13, 2008 05:44 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Wow...  Don't know when it happened but, I just noticed that this was featured...  Thanks, Craig!
Feb 13, 2008 05:47 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Libby...  Thanks for stopping in!  Glad you had a laugh or two..  Hope that's not all you took away from it...  ;o)
Feb 13, 2008 07:01 AM
Karen Hubert
Center Stage Design-real estate staging, Ancaster/Hamilton - Ancaster, ON
Home Stager
I really enjoyed your post Lisa, it was very entertaining but at the same time filled with valid information and you are so right about how staging really works. Sometimes rules can't apply and we have to make the best of it whatever that may be.
Feb 17, 2008 03:37 AM
Lisa Rapose
ReDesign To Sell (TM) - Woodstock, CT
Karen...  Thanks for the kind words...  I'm so glad that you enjoyed it... 
Feb 17, 2008 02:11 PM

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