Monday, July 8, 2013

SETTING THE STAGE TO SELL

I don't play poker (unless an occasional game of "uno" counts after having a few martinis) so I don't think my "poker face" is terribly convincing.  That's why when a client asks, "so, what do you really think about my place," while the words coming out of my mouth might be "wow, it's...fabulous" my bugged-out eyes and blushing cheeks are saying, "are you for real people??"  A pain in the rump client recently asked me to send him the definition of "staging" as he contemplated hiring me to stage his home (after, of course, telling me he didn't have any money to spend..something we designers LOVE to hear..hey, can you design my place for free? SURE..no problem...would be my pleasure!).  After following my reply with four more emails asking to define what things like "loveseat" and "modern, clean lines" meant, I decided it was best to tell my story in pictures.  One of the nicest couples I've met this year called me in to help straighten up their home before placing it on the market.  Rather than knock down walls and add a new room (as one realtor suggested) I simply advised them to choose a monochromatic paint color, edit unnecessary items and showcase each room with dramatic pieces.  The top photo, believe it or not is the exact same space featured in the photo below it.  We simply cleared out the junk, removed the old curtains to showcase the beautiful windows and created a special reading/piano area with a dramatic pop of sculpture to highlight a ledge.  The dining room, originally a lovely purple, looks much larger and more inviting when the color was toned down and discarded family items were placed in proper areas.  One week after listing the house it had multiple offers.  So, that, my doubting client, is the definition and value of staging.  Edit, clean, paint if necessary and list.  That's it.  No need for long winded questions and complicated emails.  It's really pretty simple.
EXIT STAGE RIGHT:
Here are just a few tips I use when staging a home:
1.) Paint color is a biggie..it doesn't take a lot to paint, but if you have feature walls with bright colors, get rid of them.  You might think monochromatic colors are boring, but you aren't selling the house to yourself. TONE. IT. DOWN.
2.) Don't make your rooms look like a circus car.  You've seen the smallest cars on the planet packed with ten people.  It looks painful and like the last place I'd want to be.  The same thing goes for the rooms in your home.  Don't pack them with furniture.  If you have ten Lazy-Boys in one room, take out eight and create a lovely sitting area.  You might say, HEY, that's not comfortable..but, again, you are trying to SELL, so get rid of the clutter.
3.) NO SMOKING ZONE.  If you smoke, don't do it in your house and invest in plug-ins immediately.  The biggest turn off to prospective buyers is cigarette smoke.  Also, I love my pets as much as anyone, but she sometimes can leave an odor behind.  Again, plug-ins (as tacky as you might think they are) are the #1 best way to get rid of the stench.
4.) Cheat Sheets: Even after picking a realtor you love and trust, I still suggest the homeowners leave 5x6 cards at the entry highlighting special features in your home.  Your main realtor might not be the only one showing the home, so make sure everyone knows what positive attributes to point out (two sinks in kitchen, central vac, new roof, hiking trails nearby, heated path to driveway, etc.
5.) Cover up flaws, but don't hide gaping wounds.  If you have a few scratches on a wood floor, then cover it up with a rug.  If the entire floor is destroyed, FIX it, because the last thing you want is an offer to roll in and the buyers to dash out when they see you hid a big problem..and then they start to wonder what else you might be hiding!