Any value to partial staging?

likesivyFebruary 17, 2009

Friends of mine are are putting their handsome, midcentury home on the market. It is vacant and in good shape. They are selling it themselves. There is nothing problematic about the home, and they are pricing it right. The floors are newly refinished hardwood, all the rooms are freshly painted, the kitchen has been remodeled, and things like roofing, landscape, plumbing and electric are all in good shape.

They want to do a minimal amount of staging. I think that putting a few things in a few rooms will make the house look silly. They think having a bed, a chair, a nightstand and lamp in just one of the bedrooms is a good idea, but I think it will look tacky. They want to set a table with placemats, plates and cups in the dining room, but I think it will look scanty. They think an ornate loveseat and an Asian rug by the fireplace will look classy, and I think it will look like they haven't finished moving out.

I'm differing with them on two scores: the idea that partially staging the house will help sell it, and secondly, that their taste is too specific, too girly, too old school, to appeal to the largest group of buyers. I guess my queston is, how can I tactfully suggest that they leave the house bare and beautiful, without offending them?

I know this forum has seen lots of discussion about staging, pro and con. I'm all for staging, but under these cicumstances, I think way, way less is more.

They know that I have sold homes of my own, and that they are new to this kind of project. I've already suggested using a realtor, and not staging, but they are determined. Do I just get over being being a know-it-all decor snob, and shut up?

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I am a realtor and have seen this done successfully. It will give the buyers an idea of what it could look like.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 2:57PM
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There are definitely differing ideas on staging. My gut instinct is - an MCM home with fresh paint, refurbished hardwood, etc. etc. should be able to stand on it's own without staged dribblings scattered about. (Chances are, the sellers are going to do what they want anyway, so I'd just go ahead, bow out and let them. Sometimes it's just as well not to win.)

I'm not entirely opposed to staging since HGTV and the like have raised it to an art form. I'm thinking also that many/most house lookers can recognize it when they see it, can look past staging and, hopefully, see the merits of the house itself.

When I sold my last house, prices were heading toward astronomical and it could have been staged with hay bales. It was empty, though, and sold virtually over night. However, in today's market, one has to do whatever it takes. You could be too close to the situation and a disinterested 3rd. party might be in a better position to supply feedback.

Have they taken photographs? Sometimes that's a real eye opener.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 3:00PM
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It's their home.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 4:13PM
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I love empty houses.

If the floors are redone, and the house is smaller, it may actually show better empty. I sold my last house empty in under a week. The house was small, but the living room was large and with the floors refinished it looked like a dance hall and created a "WOW" factor. Furniture would only have made that house look worse. If their house shows better empty, point that out to them. If there is a question about the purpose of any room, some partial staging may help.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I'm another that loves it when the house is empty. So their "less is more" approach would be fine with me. I'm one of those that would put the money to better use rather then use a stager. I would let them do as they please. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:23AM
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A table and some chairs in the eating area allows lookers to sit and talk for a minute. Even if they don't sit, it looks inviting.

It also shows that a table really does fit there. If there are rooms that look small when empty, a couple pieces of furniture can show that a bed, for example, really will fit in the tiny looking bedroom.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:48AM
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