Welcome to Tumbleweed Tidings. I have been so excited to share today’s post with you, I could hardly contain myself! Today, I’m talking about real estate staging; the three types, the importance, and tons of photos of a staging I completed last week. Before I get into that, however, I have a favor to ask. If you haven’t already subscribed to the blog, could you please do so on the website. After clicking Subscribe and entering your information, they will send you an email to confirm. This will ensure that you never miss a blog post, as Facebook is doing some interesting things when you post a blog there and few people actually see them. Thank you so much, and now back to staging!
First, a little background about me and staging. Back in 2007 when I owned a home décor store in Hawaii, it was located in a strip mall that contained the usual suspects like a Sushi place, Taco Del Mar, Jamba Juice, Navy Federal Credit Union, and of course, Starbucks. Upstairs, a real estate company took up three suites. One day, this perky lady from the real estate office named Yuki, came into the store. She was so full of energy it was contagious. She and I started talking and she asked if I had ever done real estate staging. I said “no, but I’m sure I can.”
Total aside; I have this habit of saying “sure, I can do that” and then go about figuring out how to do it. It’s not blind self-confidence, but rather just the desire to learn and the feeling that it is within my ability. Now, if they asked me to do open heart surgery, I would say no. But since I had a home décor store, had helped friends and neighbors decorate their homes, and had outfitted several of our own homes, this didn’t seem like too much of a stretch.
She goes on to tell me that she has a cute little condo for sale in Ewa Beach that she wants me to help her stage. Her idea was that we would use some of the seller’s furniture, get the unit repainted, have me do all of the accessorizing using items from my store, and allow me to advertise at the open house. She was talking my language. So, we did the condo, and it sold the first weekend. #ithinkimontosomething
After that, we collaborated on a few more staging projects, including a seminar for realtors on “Staging Properties for the Holidays” which was a ton of fun and a great money maker, as she charged a fee for the realtors to attend. And attend they did! We served pu pu’s, I did a holiday table decorating demonstration, and then the realtors broke into groups and each decorated one room of the house for Christmas, using items from our store. All of this was Yuki’s idea and that girl was so full of energy and great ideas, she spurred others on to greatness. If I hadn’t left the island and sold the store, I feel she and I would have continued to work together on other projects. So, that is how I began staging, and I have continued to do it on a limited basis in my hometown with a couple of realtors.
The three main types of staging are:
• when you go into a home where the owner is preparing to sell and the stager helps to get it “market ready.” I have done a few of these, but they can be tricky because when you start telling people the things to remove and change, it can be overwhelming for them. Once they have depersonalized and packed away many belongings, the stager will often augment their décor with some updated accessories to get the house ready for potential buyers. In this case, the stager usually brings some of their own stash of accessories and small furniture pieces to be used until the property sells, and this is built into the fee.
• when you go into a house that is empty and do vignette staging, where you bring in small items such as chairs, pillows, tables, art work, and decorative accessories that make the house feel welcoming. Again, the stager typically brings items from their staging stash and the usage is built into their fee. I have done a few of these in the past couple of years and luckily, the houses sold right away. Staging really works!
• when you go into a house or model home that is for sale and do a full staging including beds, couches, chairs, and dining table, as well as all art and accessories. In this scenario, the builder typically pays for the furniture and accessories, and they keep them to move to another project if the property doesn’t sell as-is. This is a great staging opportunity because you are working with a blank slate and can develop a color palette and scheme from scratch. That is what I got to do last week, and it was so much fun!
Going back to about two weeks ago, we were at our bungalow in northern Idaho. The woman at the sales office asked me via email if she could bring a potential buyer who was looking for a bungalow to see how our bungalow model looked. I said of course. She also asked if I would consider staging a one bedroom they had for sale to make it look more attractive. I said YES please!
We met at the bungalow the next day so I could look it over. She gave me a budget and we agreed on my fee. My husband and I were actually leaving that day, so we rushed over to a local furniture store and selected the large items such as sectional, dresser, nightstands and dining table. We also got some items to add more storage and functionality such as a bookshelf tower and a rolling bar cart that could also serve as a kitchen island and prep surface. Then we went to Home Depot and bought a beautiful 8×10 area rug. The resort already had a bed and headboard, so the main items were in place.
Next, I prepared a space plan, which is super important, and a list of other items to purchase. Did I mention this little cutie is only 522 square feet? It might be cozy, but it packs a whole lot of wonderfulness into a very small space, and located just steps from the Pend Oreille River makes the setting ideal. Believe it or not, we have neighbors up there who are living full time in the one-bedroom model and just love it.
Then I was off to the races, purchasing an area rug that coordinated with the gray of the sectional. When developing a color scheme, I often rely on fabrics and particularly pillows. Originally, I thought I would use blue accents, but once I was shopping, I found the absolute perfect pillows in several styles that combined the gray of the sectional with varying shades of yellow. The scheme was set! I then found two occasional chairs, two end tables (one is actually a ceramic garden stool that works great for this purpose next to a chair) and all of the lamps, artwork, and about 15 pillows.
To incorporate my favorite “collected over time” look, I shopped vintage stores, big box home décor stores, and shops that featured items made by local venders. I also repurposed items such as an old gold frame I had, by finding a piece of black and white artwork of a boat, that I knew would work perfectly to place above the fireplace and cover the TV and electrical outlets there. Greenery, a bed-in-a-bag, candles, word signs, dishes, table linens, books, and brass candlesticks filled in the blanks.
On the day of the install last week, my husband and I started moving things in about 9 am, beginning with the bathroom. While he hung the shower rod and curtain, I placed the wall art and accessories. Moving on to the bedroom, it was time to dress the bed and hang the wall art in there.
One thing that made this process go really smoothly was that I had packed all of the accessories in bins labeled Bathroom/Kitchen Table, Kitchen/Living Room, etc.
The front porch was easily put together with two chairs, a small side table topped with a lantern, and a Home Sweet Home sign.
The furniture company showed up about 11 to deliver the large items we had purchased. Now this place was starting to look like a home! I fidgeted with the living room floor plan a little, finally getting it just the way I wanted. The rule of thumb is to start with the rug, next the big items like sectional and chairs, then lamps, then art, then accessories.
If you use this formula, you won’t end up with a lamp in front of a picture, and you will know exactly where to put the accessories. Finally, sprinkle your accent color around the room evenly, so the eye travels well. The same with books and greenery. If an area looks flat, add a potted plant or some natural element like pinecones or a basket. It will give it instant warmth.
We finished everything about 3 pm, and I called the woman from the sales office to come take a look. It was actually like a reveal on television. She was so excited and said she just loved it. To be totally honest, I was proud of the work, too.
I had planned, packed items by room, and drawn the floorplan over and over. However even after doing that, you are never sure if it will look as good as it did in your head. This time, it actually exceeded my expectations and even though we were very tired, we felt we had done a good job for the client.
So that is my recent staging story, or as I like to call it, the most fun you can have spending someone else’s money! If you are thinking of making a move, you might consider finding someone in your area who provides staging services. The return on investment can be huge and usually results in a quicker sale.
Even if you aren’t moving, the same principals that apply in staging, work for refreshing your floorplan or décor. Start with arranging the big items and fill in with an accent color, new artwork, and some trending accessories. Your space will look so spiffy, you’ll think you’re living in a brand new home!