If You Are Going to Stage...

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster Real Estate VA License # 0225089470

If You Are Going to Stage...

If there is one thing you need to know about me, I am a stickler for details.  That attention to detail is what I bring to my sellers before we list their homes.  Things that incongruous, eye sores, or just dirty need to be dealt with before staging with furniture items even matters.

Tonight I toured a home in Bristow, one of only two on the market below a particular price point, and it was staged beautifully with art work, living room furniture, dining room furniture, master bedroom furniture, etc.  The stager went all out on decor.  

What the stager missed entirely included:

  1. Missing light bulbs on the strip bathroom vanity lights
  2. A variety of size and shape light bulbs in the foyer chandelier
  3. Absolutely zero lighting in three of the four upper level bedrooms
  4. Rust stains in the master bathroom shower

You can see the snapshots of these staging/preparation failures on my personal blog.

To me, this stuff is unacceptable.  Those items are way more important than the furnishings.  The lighting in empty bedrooms, when listing in winter is critical.  Lights bulbs in one fixture being operational and uniform, also a must.  And cleaning is basic.  But hey...it had lovely furniture.  

Comments (35)

Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Chris Ann Cleland,

Its always the devil in the details. In Austin the seller is to make sure all the bulbs are matching, caulking completed where necessary, painting, carpet cleaned and general cleaning done before any stager enters with their furniture, rugs, and all accessories. The first step in getting ready is on the seller..the icing on the cake is the stager.

Dec 14, 2020 02:21 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

That sounds like the way to go about it.

Dec 14, 2020 02:37 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Seems to me that's pretty basic stuff that should have been attended to, and no questions asked. Those are such obvious issues.

Dec 14, 2020 05:23 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

I think so too.

Dec 14, 2020 05:52 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Such great advice.  Thanks for posting


Dec 14, 2020 06:50 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

I'm glad you stopped by.

Dec 14, 2020 07:44 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Chris Ann Cleland - those things stand out.  It is like a beautiful shirt with a spot on it.

Dec 15, 2020 05:38 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Such a great analogy.

Dec 15, 2020 11:02 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

Clients must take care of every little detail prior to the staging...especially the cleaning! Seems like a no-brainer! Thanks for sharing...

Dec 15, 2020 09:33 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Seems like a no brainer to me too.

Dec 15, 2020 11:45 AM
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

Oh how much that annoys me to...attention to details put money into a seller's pocket. Sure you can do the entire staging and make it look like a model...but if you are missing light bulbs, there's shadows on trim from missing caulk or the toilet seat is up...you've missed the boat.

Dec 16, 2020 04:43 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

My point exactly.  Lipstick on a pig still leaves you a pig.

Dec 16, 2020 09:20 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Nothing worse than showing bedrooms in winter on a dreary day with no lights on or 25 watt bulbs. Pet peeve of mine.

Stager forgot one of our best tools - light bulbs.

Dec 16, 2020 08:12 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Lighting is fundamental in winter.

Dec 16, 2020 09:21 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I read your personal blog - and yes, Easy Off (no fumes) is simply the best cleaner for a shower pan!

The stager was so intent on the fluff that she forgot or missed the nuts and bolts! Those should have been first. 

Dec 16, 2020 09:27 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Definitely agree.

Dec 16, 2020 11:18 AM
Gwen Fowler SC Lakes & Mountains 864-710-4518
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Walhalla, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

i recently showed a staged property all ready for Christmas. the living room and kitchen area was well decorated but when we went into the master bed all the clutter & junk had been thrown into the master closet. It was a mess

Dec 17, 2020 07:46 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Oops.  Did they not think you would open the closet?

Dec 17, 2020 08:40 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Amen to this! Yes, attention to the details makes all the difference in the world.

Dec 17, 2020 07:58 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Details are very important.

Dec 17, 2020 08:41 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Chris Ann Cleland 
So timely for me! Thanks for topic. Just reviewed a home today that (supposedly) was ready to list and found those same types of details.
1.  Light /fan combo in Dining Room doesn't work at all.
2.  Bathroom that had been painted deep, deep navy (seemed black)  now a neutral grey still had black switch plate covers - chicken pox effect!
3. Chandelier in Bar Sink area had three different types of light bulbs.
4. None of the bath fan grille covers had been cleaned at all - years of dust accumulation looked like some creepy carpet. 
5.  Well - that's enough - you get the picture!
Nice to know I'm not the Lone Ranger - All the best - Lynn

Dec 17, 2020 10:09 PM
Barbara Todaro

if I had been called for that listing, there would be an understanding that they would need to follow my direction with preparing the home for showings..... 

Dec 18, 2020 03:16 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Chris Ann Cleland 

Maybe they felt the orchid was a bigger selling point than the missing and mismatched lightbulbs in the bathroom. 

Dec 17, 2020 10:49 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

100% agree!

Details like you mentioned are the kind of things that signal a lack of maintenance. Details that reduce perceived value of the home.

More than once I've had agents question me for pointing out small details...I actually had an agent tell me that he hired me for guidance on paint colors and furniture placement, not petty little details. All because I pointed out the fingerprints on the light switch plates and suggested they be cleaned.

Dec 18, 2020 06:54 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

We own our own staging company. Our Team is proud of the work done by our stagers. Our staging company is even hired by other agents due to the skills.

Yet...everyone is human. A final walk-thru and personal inspection by the agent is always a good idea to guarantee avoidance of the pitfalls that of the type that you mentioned, Chris Ann Cleland 

Dec 18, 2020 07:21 PM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farm & Commercial Land Broker-Auctioneer Serving Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

If you go into any of our bathrooms...you can probably find mismatched bulbs...if we were selling...they would match....SO why don't they match now you wonder?  Me too...you can ask my wife but she will give you the same answer she gives...those bulbs have not burned out yet!!!

Dec 18, 2020 08:28 PM
Janelle Ancillotti
Seneca Home Staging - Syracuse, NY
HSR Certified Home Stager, Syracuse, NY

Don't blame the stager! I stage for flippers who schedule everything as tight as possible. It isn't unusual for me to arrive as the contractors are leaving (or even while they're still finishing up). Many times there are missing or mismatched bulbs, and I do carry bulbs with me just in case and put them in at my own expense--I don't unscrew them and take them back when I de-stage. There have also been many instances where there are rust stains or dirty tubs and showers, but I am not a cleaner. I let the flippers know about everything that should be taken care of, but they just want to get the property listed and they don't seem to care, so please don't blame the stager for things the seller should have done.

Dec 19, 2020 08:15 AM
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

Oh my goodness, lighting is #1! Bright & light - no missing or burnt out bulbs are priority #1!

Dec 21, 2020 07:54 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

This stager didn't pay attention to the details!  It usually takes a couple of trips to get the job completed and buttoned down

Dec 22, 2020 10:55 AM
Brad Thomsen
Big Bear Realty - Edmonds, WA
Real Estate Services

Hi Chris Ann Cleland 

Well done post

Have a Great 2021

Happy Selling!

Jan 11, 2021 04:55 AM
Gwen Fowler SC Lakes & Mountains 864-710-4518
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Walhalla, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

Went into a home that had been set up by the owner to show, the house was cute and well decorated for the holidays. Went to show the huge master closets and found all the owner's belongings thrown in there for a quick clean. Its was gross

Jan 11, 2021 06:46 AM