I was Staging an occupied house the other day and was going over some general recommendations. Replace the weathered exterior light fixtures, add a welcome mat. The new paint colors are great but maybe consider replacing the yellowed vinyl in the bathrooms and the brass, builder's grade light fixtures. And then I was describing the "categories" of sellers and realized that there are about four general categories that apply to most sellers.
Category #1: We want to sell this house, and are willing to invest X amount of dollars in it to get it up to par.
Stager's Challenge: This is a great category of sellers!!! They are open to discussing all aspects of their house and are willing to learn about what will be most cost and time effective to upgrade things such as light fixtures, flooring, cabinet fronts or hardware, paint colors, etc. Does not necessarily mean they will spend unlimited amounts of money, but there are options and significant opportunity for the Stager to make an impact on the property in addition to re-arranging furnishings.
Category #2: We know we need to be competitive and have to spend a little money and elbow grease on a few areas, but need help prioritizing and maximizing our budget.
Stager's Challenge: Some ability to affect change, must be smart and budget savvy to make the most of this seller's budget. Sometimes these are incredibly fun clients/houses because the project might be a bit of a challenge, but in the end the opportunity to combine business skills with creativity is ultimately rewarding.
Category #3: We do not have, or are not willing to put extra money into, this house. We cannot invest in anything new; you have to use what we have to make the best of each room. We have plenty of furnishings, art and accessories.
Stager's Challenge: These clients are also fun because the challenge of "designing" and "marketing" a space using only what you already have on hand eliminates extra time spent sourcing new product. This category usually only takes a couple of hours but is also very rewarding because the end result is very different from what would have been presented to buyers.
Category #4: We do not know how to clean or maintain a house. We do not have any neutral or somewhat attractive furnishings to showcase our house and are not going to buy/borrow/rent anything else. We are looking to our Stager for some assurance that our phenomenal agent will be able to sell our house and please don't make us do too much work because we HAVE to get this house on the market ASAP.
Stager's Challenge: The most important thing for this seller to do is hire a professional cleaner to get the house up to snuff. Clean houses sell and this is the bare minimum that MUST be done before putting a house on the market. Having a professional do all of the hard work makes it easier for sellers to spend a little time each week keeping things clean. Sometimes this category of seller needs some general guidance from the Stager about how to clean, what areas to clean, and what type of product to use.
The bottom line is that no matter what category the sellers fall into, a Stager can make all the difference in how well or how poorly a house is presented to potential buyers. And every category of seller is fun to work with.