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