The Power of Staging: Unveiling True Potential

Real Estate Agent with The Cascade Team

House hunting with my grandmother was always interesting.  Before I was an agent, I used to pick up my Grandma  on Sunday afternoons and take her to look at open houses.  (We wanted her to move closer to us, but she didn't want to commit to an agent.) 

My grandmother is a brilliant woman when is comes to business and numbers, but her ability to visualize is non-existent.  This became very clear to me when we visited a great house that had a grand piano in the living room. 

She surveyed the room and said, "There's just not much room with that piano in here." baby grand

"Grandma, the piano doesn't stay with house,"  I responded.

"Oh, I know," she replied, looked around again. Then she repeated, "There's just not much room with that piano in here."

We went on like that for quite some time.  The house was perfect for her.  It was a one-story home, near our house and well-priced.  In her head, she knew the piano wouldn't stay, but she just could not visualize it any other way.  She didn't put in an offer.

I have since discovered that most people are not great at visualizing.  I, myself, can walk into a room and imagine all kinds of possibilities, and perhaps you can too, but we are in the minority. 

The same principle holds true for vacant homes.  Recently, I was showing homes in a new development.  The young couple I was working with looked at two model homes, both with the same floor plan, one furnished and the other unfurnished.  They were shocked to realize that the furnished one seemed bigger!  Having furniture in the rooms gave their eyes a means by which to measure the space.

Follow my blog, and I'll share all kinds of staging tips to help you sell your home faster and for a better price!



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Anne Bourne
StagingWorks - Toronto, ON

Hi Corey & Erika,

It's true.  I'm always so surprised when people comment on the paint colours I've chosen.  Yes I am a designer and yes, I know what the current trends are.  A can of paint maybe costs $50, any room pink, bright yellow, orange can be painted.  Even if a new homeowner hired a professional it wouldn't really cost that much to put on a lick of paint.  People just cannot see past it.  They need to see it completed, ready to move in and put their feet up.  I wonder how many homes are passed over simply because of the paint or furnishings that just don't fit the space. 

A beautifully staged, furnished and accessorized home screams "buy me". I have a sneaking suspicion that buyers could potentially buy a home of less value simply because it is beautifully decorated.  The bigger home down the street may need just a couple of weeks of elbow greese and perhaps a designer touch to make it spectacular.

Interesting post, thanks.

Feb 12, 2009 11:11 AM #1
Vicki Styons
RoomBenders - Columbia, SC

Isn't that the value of staging?  Letting people see the possibilities.  Perhaps that is a good lesson for stagers to stick with the type of furniture most people would have so they can envision where they would place their furniture.  The elbow grease can certainly be valuable in selling a house.

Feb 12, 2009 11:36 AM #2
BethAnn Long
RE/MAX Inland Empire - Spokane, WA
Realtor, CRS, e-PRO, Spokane Wa Real Estate

So true! GREAT post :)

Feb 12, 2009 11:47 AM #3
Allegra Dioguardi
Styled and Sold Home Staging and Staging Training - Westhampton Beach, NY
Home Staging & Training, Suffolk Co. Long Island

True story, I once heard a potential buyer say that she wouldn't buy a house because the living room wall color wouldn't match her sofa...the price of the house was over 3 million.

Feb 13, 2009 10:35 AM #4
Corey & Erika Kahler
The Cascade Team - Kirkland, WA

Allegra, that is a GREAT story and a perfect example!

Feb 13, 2009 03:41 PM #5
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Erika, this post about visualizing really hit home.  I'm not a very big "fashion" type of person.  As a result, I am never able to just look at something and see the potential.  When we chose our house, I needed something that was definitely "move-in ready" because I couldn't figure out things like paint color choices.  It's a good thing consumers have stagers like you available to help with problems like that!


Feb 19, 2009 11:44 PM #6
Kathy Toth
Ann Arbor Market Center Keller Williams - Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Real Estate Experts - Kathy Toth Team

I've been a supporter of and believer in staging.  It does wonders.  Most people are not fashionistas by nature so they need someone to let them actually SEE the potential in a home.  Stagers are a great addition to the real estate industry!


Feb 20, 2009 06:49 AM #7
Corey & Erika Kahler
The Cascade Team - Kirkland, WA

Renae - Thanks for reinforcing my point!  Most people are more like you!

Kathy - Thanks.  I think so too.

Mar 08, 2009 10:52 AM #8
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