When I meet someone who asks what I do for a living, they begin to nod their head and repeat the oft-used phrases they've heard about what staging is all about: de-clutter, remove photos, etc.. Kathy Streib's post is a terrific reminder that staging is so much more than that, and every case is unique.
Don’t Be a Stepford Stager...
Earlier this year an agent asked if I would accompany them on an appointment. The agent had already made their presentation and was returning to have contracts signed and “seal the deal.”
I was asked to provide a consultation for which the seller had agreed to pay. Sounds good so far.
What next came out of the agent’s mouth made me think I was with one of the Stepford Stagers.
It sounded like someone who’d been trained by a staging school or educated via one of the cable programs and memorized all of the catch phrases.
She rattled off phrases we’ve all heard over and over again without even looking around. You know them:
You need to DECLUTTER.
You must remove all personal photos.
You need to remove all other personal items.
You must replace old hardware.
You must return the room to its original purpose.
The homeowner stood there and her eyes glazed over. To be sure, the above items do need to be addressed if you are selling a home.
However, every home is different, every seller has their own unique situation. And every homeowner doesn’t want to feel as if they’ve just heard a standard form checklist.
For example Remove all personal photos.
One of my clients was a recent widow. She very sweetly asked if she could keep one or two small photos of her husband around to be “with her” during this time. She had never sold a house on her own.
And yes, we placed a beautiful photo of him where she could see it, and yes, the home went under contract very quickly.
Or You must show the room as it was intended to be used.
A client had a clean and updated home. You could see that it had been well maintained. However recently her elderly and ill mother had moved in with them and the only space for her was their dining room. This was why they were selling their home.
To return this room into a dining room would have been difficult for the whole family. There was no extra space.
The seller made sure that the rest of the home showed well, including the mother’s room and the house sold in a short amount of time.
I have come across exceptions for many of the standard lines we repeatedly hear about staging dos and don’ts. And for the most part, these staging practices make a heck of a lot of sense.
So, the next time you are taking a listing or providing a staging consultation, or even staging your own home, cut your client some slack. No house is ever perfect, that would be so boring.