This past week I had a great opportunity to experience and reaffirm the fact that Home Staging is truly for everyone and that the creativity and solutions we provide benefits to a wide variety of houses and sellers.
Case 1: Heading to Retirement; Don't Let the Past Weigh You Down
One couple wanted to move out west and experience the mountains they have been longing for in their retirement years. They hope to offset the loss on the sales end by getting a wonderful property on the buying end. I pulled up to a classic farm house in the middle of a bustling suburb. The lady of the house greeted me from across the lawn and came to meet me with a slow gait and somewhat bowed head. The first words out of her mouth after introductions were, "I love this house and have worked hard to maintain the history and integrity of the house and I warn you that I will probably be sensitive." Thank goodness for honesty and upfront warnings. I had already picked up on her sensitivity, but she opened the door for open communication.
Her husband joined us and the three of us went through the house together and ended up having a great time. They were both big collectors and in addition to the house being a classic farm house it had the look and feel of a museum with displays on shelves, in cases and in 4 large pieces of furniture in the dining room. We of course had to reach agreement on packing up most of the collectibles and moving furniture out and rearranging some furniture. At the end the husband agreed to move out his favorite recliner blocking the front door.
The collections they have were by no means junk nor were they pack rats, but most buyers want to buy a house to live in and not to preserve history and the past. In order to display the house, they had to let go of the past and put the collectible displays away.
Case 2: Don't Pass Up the Gold for Dollars and Cents
I was asked to meet with clients that had a contract on a new house for a consultation. They live in a small colonial and want to sell prior to moving to their new large house. They have a great deal going on in their lives including a new baby on the way, so they are doing their best to watch their budget.
When I walked in, I was met with a sofa wall. Normally you don't want to block the entry with a sofa. Moving the sofa completely opened up the space. However it is really the budget and money saving that I wanted to highlight in this case. They have a lovely long porch and a very nice patio, but the front had no pots of flowers or outdoor seating. Staging outdoor spaces gives the feel of more square footage, because we love to sit and entertain outdoors in the spring, summer and fall, especially in Michigan where we treasure our sunny months. Not highlighting these spaces to their best advantage might save a few dollars in the short term, but in the long term they cost sellers. Having great curb appeal with flowers and seating is a way to attract buyers shopping on the internet. Don't pass up the golden opportunity to save a few dollars and cents.
Case 3: Friends and Family Leverage Modest Budgets
I was asked to meet by a daughter with her mother and put together a quote for a staging. The house is about 1,000 sq. feet and vacant. A modest house it has been on the market a long time with a few major price reductions. It was obvious that her children were more than willing to help out and had already done a great deal for her over the years. I asked if they had any furniture they could bring back to save on rental. The mother said, "I thought you did that." Both the daughter and I chimed in together, "we are trying to save you money." We agreed on a few items they would bring in. I would provide the rest. We also agreed on a list of repairs and updates that the family was willing to tackle. Peel and stick tile on a very dark green kitchen floor; new cabinet pulls, painting a yellow bedroom; new faceplates and switch covers; some new carpet upstairs.
Mom pretended to be mad about the yellow bedroom, but she wasn't. She also pretended to be mad about the one piece of furniture in the living room that I asked them to move out. The big maroon oversized recliner. My comment was that the chair looks like it has provided years of loving comfort and enjoyment, but it is doing nothing to sell the house right now and deserves to be retired.
Six people lived in that modest house at one point, and after they moved out they all came home for dinner every Sunday. What a great family and what a great example for chipping in to get things done.