I visited a number of supposedly staged homes that have been sitting too long on the market with no offers. All were great examples of why I don’t believe in saving money by staging only a couple of rooms or doing vignettes instead of actually furnishing a space.
Half done staging job says “desperate” to potential buyers
One house had been on the market for 45 days, despite being in what was then a hot market. It screamed “vacant” the minute we walked through the front door despite the attempts to furnish the main floor. There were no proper focal points or cohesion to the design, they set the dining table badly, the house was dirty, the list of mistakes was endless.
I’ve never been a fan of setting the dining table, though I know some people are. But if you’re going to do it, make sure all the cutlery is properly set, put some candles and flowers in the center, and don’t put dishes right down on a glass top with no place mats under them. It just looked sad!
In another house, they’d done a beautiful job furnishing the living and dining room and then left the rest of the house empty except for a lone desk and broom in a back room and a dirty threadbare towel in the en suite bathroom off the master bedroom!
Why bother staging at all?
Once you’re paying for the truck and the furniture for two rooms, it doesn’t cost all that much to finish the rest. I don’t believe in staging only a couple of rooms because then all you’re doing is emphasizing to people that the home is vacant and that the vendors are probably desperate and ran out of funds.
If you’re going to stage a house properly you need to do the whole thing, as I’ve done in this three bedroom home that was furnished for under $2,000 (plus the cost of my time and advice). I explain why it’s important to do the whole house to my clients and what the incremental costs will be.
Whatever they spend on staging is an investment not an expense and I explain the difference there too.
Ultimately it is their decision, and their budget. All we can do is give them our best advice and then do the best job we can within the constraints of available time and money.
Ultimately they live with the consequences of those decisions. Many will get less when they sell or take longer to sell than they might have.
With a great dress, would you skip hair and makeup?
It’s especially penny wise and pound-foolish when you see a house that’s been totally renovated at considerable expense and then they decide to save $600 by not staging a few key rooms.
It’s kind of like investing in a great wedding dress and then deciding your hair, makeup and shoes don’t matter! I’d say, find a less expensive dress and do the whole package.
I advise clients to spend $600 less on their renovations and invest it instead in properly showcasing the home. Or if need be, borrow the money, borrow the furniture, whatever it takes to let the stager properly finish the job.
Learn how to showcase the importance of staging to your clients with great before and after photos of your work.
Debra Gould, President Six Elements Inc.
Creator of The Staging Diva® Home Staging Training Program
Debra Gould’s mission is to inspire others to follow their dreams and use their innate talents to also earn a living. She has trained over 1000 women and men on five continents how to take their talent for decorating and turn it into a successful home staging business. Learn more about the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program.