I shared this story of my first home staging transformation before. After all these years it remains my favorite. I still get emotional thinking about it.
One day a high school friend spontaneously dropped by for a visit. Luckily, I was home.
As we caught up over tea, she told me about her new career in real estate and how excited she was to have signed her first million dollar listing.
The listing was going to be a challenge... Donna's client was the soon to be ex-wife in a bitter divorce situation. Sherry had two teens, was financially strapped, battling depression and unable to cope with the task of preparing her house for sale.
Donna told me that she had met with a stager for advice and added...
" I would have been better off calling you....
you would have been more helpful with the staging."
She thought I would be helpful? Honestly I had no idea what she was talking about.
I assumed staging was something painters stood on.
For the life of me I had no idea how I could help, but I agreed to go with Donna that afternoon to see the house.
The house was huge... a beautiful, historic home with great features that were hard to appreciate because there was so much STUFF everywhere.
I met the seller, Sherry, and instantly felt compassion for her. She was not coping well and although she wasn't physically or emotionally able to help, she gave Donna free rein to do whatever needed to be done. Donna asked for my help.
I had no real estate experience and had never even heard the term "stager".
I was completely overwhelmed by the condition of the house.
I can't explain it...
as I walked room by room, I instinctively knew what needed to be done, and I wanted to be part of the transformation.
It took us three months to clean, organize and stage every single room. We used our own money for purchases. I came up with creative solutions whenever possible to keep the cost down.
It was a tremendous amount of work, but I loved every minute of it.
The sellers wanted to ask one million, but Donna's broker had originally said that was too high.
Donna held a Realtor Open. It was exciting for me to see the positive reaction of the agents, many of whom had seen it prior to our transformation.
After seeing the transformation, Donna's broker agreed
to the one million dollar listing price!
It ended up selling in 6 weeks for $950,000.
To this day I believe that the three of us were brought together at a time in our lives when each of us most needed it.
Donna's husband had died and a real estate career would secure her future.
Sherry's marriage had ended and selling the house was the beginning of her new life.
I needed something in my life to fill a void I didn't know how to fill.
It was a fresh start for each of us.
Here's what I learned from this amazing experience:
I knew more about real estate marketing than I could have imagined.
There is always a background story, a personal issue that haunts most sellers.
Every seller should be treated with compassion and respect.
Every budget can benefit from staging.
Sweat equity is a seller's greatest resource.
Staging isn't decorating, it's strategic marketing.
" Your greatest test is when you are able to bless someone else,
while going through your own storm. "
Written for: It's February And Love Is In The Air