Example photos of 'good' staging?

thisishishouseMarch 17, 2012

Does anyone have any examples of what they consider 'well-staged' homes? Not overly done, tasteful, current, appealing.

I did a quick search and came up with a lot of staging companies who all say that they're the best, of course.

Just wondering if there's some consensus here as to examples of staging done right.

Preparing to get back on the market. Done the usual sprucing up, de-cluttering, and de-personalizing. I want to make sure our house doesn't too sterile, but not obviously overly staged. We're an active family of 5, so I'm not looking for anything unmaintainable.

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The main thing is that it is sparkling clean!!!! Do you have any pics to post?...this site has some wonderful people who will help you and give suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Before we listed our house, we hired a stager who was recommended by our Realtor. She showed us photos of houses she staged and what they sold for. Lots of before & after photos. We were impressed. Some homes were still on the market and we could look at them.

We paid her a one time fee to walk through the house and make recommendations. We followed most of what she suggested.

We did this prior to painting and refinishing the floors. We went over paint colors with her and painted the house. We kept our furniture but did some rearranging and removing. We did not rent nor buy anything except small accessories. We did buy new towels and bath rugs.

We kept the towels, pillows and rugs fresh by removing after a showing. I kept everything in laundry baskets, when we had a showing, I took out the old and put up the new. We took the laundry baskets with us in the car.

Sounds silly, but it worked. I do admit, our house looked so different and new. I wished we had done something like that years before so we could have enjoyed it!


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:44PM
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jane_ny: It's the "take out the old and put up the new" that I think would be difficult. There's a lot of things I could do for staging, but they don't seem maintainable for a family. (like fresh towels, flowers & fruit baskets, etc)

We were on the market for a while last year. More often than not, our showings seemed to be on weekdays, and more often than not, last minute. We each work ~20 miles away from home. The MLS service would call and ask to have a showing, in an hour or two. Only once or twice in the whole time we were listed did we get a day's notice.

Given that we could have unexpected showings, every morning (for 6 months) was crazy. Sweep, polish, primp, preen, fold, tuck, spray, arrage. Oh yeah, and get kids packed for school, and myself presentable for work. Of course I got tired after a while and would skip a thing or two. And Murphy's law, that'd be the day we had a drop-in showing.

Whatever staging we do go with, it needs to be the "set it and forget it" type. This time around I need to minimize, or better organize, the daily house prep.

So there's really 2 parts of my question I guess. One is the "all-out look your best" for the MLS photos, and the other would be the daily "look nice enough for public."

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 8:00AM
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When we sold our house back in 2010, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted the house to "present" in the RE photos. I looked at tons, and the best ones had beautiful lighting (mixture of natural and artificial) and very uncluttered interiors. I was ruthless about pre-packing and just getting rid of stuff prior tom the pictures. I made sure all the beds were perfectly made with knife-sharp tucks and corners. All new towels, and like pp, I kept them in a laundry basket to be used for showings ONLY! I thought it looked nasty to see old, used towels limply hanging on the bar. I also took all bath/shower products out of the shower for photos and showings. I wanted the house to basically look brand new and never lived in! I didn't want them seeing my razor or my Dh's shampoo. Our kids were 7 and 10' and they basically had to suck it up and deal while we were on the market. :) luckily,it was summer, so we would spit shine the house each morning and go to the pool. Anyway, we sold in 3 months which doesn't sound remarkable, but trust me, it was a miracle. I think there were maybe 2 serious buyers in our town that miserable RE summer, and we managed to snag one of them. They viewed our house 5 TIMES before eventually making an offer...and we could do nothing but smile and say, "yes, ma'am and sir, can we clean for you again today? How else can we make you happy?". Gawd, house selling sucks! Hopefully this will be a better summer!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:43AM
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oicu812, we had 24 hr notice. Only once did we have a showing the same day as the call, and we still had 4 hrs to clean up.

We all worked and did the same as 'nini804.' We left the house clean when we left in the morning, just in case. Most showings were on weekends and we only had a few during the week.

We also sold in 2010. Listed June 15th and got our final offer on Sept 20th. It was a horrible time to sell a house, but we had a lot of showings. It was also an exhausting experience for our family. In the end, it was worth it.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 7:47PM
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The last time we sold we did use professional stagers. They were helpful for some things. They helped us decide what to remove. For example, we had lots of bookcases full of books. We removed most of them for the duration (putting everything in storage). For counters we basically cleared out cabinets so we could keep most things in the cabinets. So morning I would, say, brush my teeth and put the toothbrush and toothpaste in the drawer.

Removing stuff and keeping it uncluttered really helped to make it easy to get ready for showings. We would assume every day that there might be a showing so always left the house so that it could be shown.

All of that said...I do think the stagers made the house too sterile. Their philosophy was to show off the house and not have a lot of decor items such as pictures, small objects, flowers, etc. In our case, I think that the lack of decor did cause people to focus more on the house which sometimes caused them to focus on floorplan issues we could do nothing about.

On an earlier house that we sold, the agent gave us staging advise and had us put up pictures, floral arrangements, etc. While that goes against what many people here seem to recommend, it worked out much better for us. (I stress, however, that we still decluttered a lot so even with the decor items the house did not look cluttered).

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 8:05PM
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We don't have any pix of our place to share yet, but one thing I have started to take notice of is how other homes are presented in MLS.

The categories I've been able to slot most listings into so far are "Did they know they were having pictures taken??", "Oh good, they cleaned up a bit", and "Wow, I wonder how much they spent on that professional staging and photography." Ideally, we'd like to present our home somewhere comfortably between those last two categories. But I'm not sure how far into the 'obvious pro staging' realm we should go.

SO from that last category, here's some pix of a recent listing in my area, done by a pro photo tour company.

First up, the kitchen:

To me, this is in the 'overdone' category. There's the requisite bowl of fruit on the back counter, the coffee cups on the island (because that's where we all keep them.) I understand the un-cluttered thing, but this looks too 'un-lived in' to me. Would a coffee maker or mixer on the back counter be out of place? A few cookbooks next to the stove? Maybe a telephone and notepad near the door?

Look, more fruit in the dining room. They must love them apples!

My next observations was the bathrooms:

I'm fine with removing the usual personal items from bath counters. It looks fine on the small vanities, but it looks like a lot of empty space in the master bath. What I found funny was that soap dispenser in all 3 baths. What makes it funny is that same dispenser appears on counters of other houses photog'd by this company. I imagine the photographers must travel with a trunk of props. But if that's the case, then what's there after they leave?

I didn't keepa reference to it, the most hilarious one I've seen is the one of the master bath jacuzzi tub where on the deck they had candles, a champagne bottle and glasses, and a Jazz CD.

Related to what I said before, do people do all this just for the pictures, or does this level of staging get done every time there's a showing? I just can't imagine setting up my house like this every morning for 6 months.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Oicu, those pics don't look well staged to me. (and I have actually taken a staging class) The accessories that were used are too small to make an impact. The idea is to have just enough furniture/accessories/art so that it adds warmth to the room and gives the buyer's eye something rest on as they are taking in the room.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:55PM
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I don't think any of those pictures that Oicu posted look bad at all. They are all uncluttered and well lit. The kitchen could have a couple more things on the countertop but it seems warm and inviting to me. They certainly look better then 90% of the pictures I see on MLS.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:36PM
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I am impressed with the pictures because they show that the rooms have a lot of space, which is what I would be looking to purchase. I like sparkling clean, sunny and airy rooms, and they demonstrate that.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Look at pictures of model homes. Obviously you don't want to go that extreme, but you will see the types of accessories they use. Large candle sticks in groups, big mirrors, staged book cases, some greenery etc. Follow that lead.

I had showing only towels that came out when there was a showing, and my family of five only used one shower to minimize cleaning. That said I sold in about a month.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:43AM
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The problem we had last time on the market is that we got a lot of same day showings. We'd be at work (some distance from home) and get a call requesting a showing in an hour or two. Now, we had a routine staging/cleaning routine set up for advance-notice showings, including the "showing only" towels, the candles, etc etc. But with the chance of a drop-in, that meant either staging every day before leaving, or racing home to fix up. (Every day for *6 months* before we pulled the plug.)

My issue with those photos I used as an example, while it looks nice in pictures (actually, a little to stripped down for my taste), I'm not sure the house could/would be shown that way on a daily basis. Does they really keep a constantly restocked fruit bowl? Completely strip the counters? Hide *all* the family photos?

Did y'all have different levels of staging for photos versus showings?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 4:22PM
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Just my .02cents but I think you are stressing way to much about the situation. We have been on the market since last August. We had alot of traffic and showings but not one offer. School started and then the showing went down hill from there. We switched realtors in November after the 1st 4 month contract ended with our 1st agent because we felt we needed a change to get traffic moving again. With the new agent traffic picked up again and we had a few showing then (even one on 12/23 which I thought this buyer has to really be intrested to want to look at our house 2 days before Christmas and they still didn't buy it)...lol Contrary to some beliefs of taking it off the market during the cold months, we went the opposite direction thinking we would have less competition during the slower months. We eventually got an offer in March and we are set to close April 20th.

With all that being said I thought about doing staging but decided against it. We looked at a few model homes to get ideas, decluttered as much as possible and tried to keep it clean as much as possible before leaving out every morning. I can say now I truely understand there is a difference between having your house clean and having your house clean to show. In the end I don't think a bowl of fruit, a soap dispenser or a few towels is going to sell your home. As long as your home is clean, not cluttered & people can see your home as theirs you should be fine. Once you have done all of those things and have nice pictures on MLS, the home is going to have to sell itself and just a thing of timing and finding the right buyer. We have a townhome which even made it more difficult to sell and I must say all the foreclosures didn't help our cause either. It has been a long 7 to 8 months but I refused to get down because the market was down and continued to pray. We stayed positive, kept the house as clean as possible and lots of prayer and we are looking forward to moving into our new house at the end of June.

Hope that helps!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:29AM
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Xclusive: Thanks for the perspective. I agree that there's a huge difference between "everyday clean" and "showing clean." Being in that latter mode can be taxing. For 6 months, my usual hectic morning routine was encumbered with polishing, vacuuming, straightening, tucking, clearing, ... I definitely got sensitive to any little item out of place.

Next time around (soon, hopefully) I hope to find some level that allows it to be both livable and showable without too much changeover between the two.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 3:13PM
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Wanted to share what I think is an example of a well staged kitchen. I think it looks clean but lived-in. The one from my earlier post was too sterile for my taste. This one looks like it just might be close to the everyday natural state. Maybe a coffeemaker on the counter somewhere would seal the deal. Something to make me believe they didn't have to spend 2 hours prepping their home everyday.

Another photo now. Different house. Same photographer/stager I believe, and I think some of these might be the same exact props:

Guess I better stock up on pears and Perrier before my home goes back on the market. ;)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 3:24PM
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One good piece of advice we got when we put our house on the market is to get a big plastic bin to stick the kitchen items in on days of showings. So I keep it in the garage and put our toaster, etc... in it. It is easy to get to and easy to put items in/out and a bin in the garage looks completely normal. We also had "showing-only" towels in all the bathrooms. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:25AM
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I guess it all depends on how each of us live day to day. I find the photos above to be cluttered. Much prefer the first ones.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:50AM
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I know this is an old thread, but I had to laugh when I read it. Our house is currently listed, and when I look around we have candles and fresh flowers, our toaster and coffee maker are put away in a cupboard instead of sitting out on the counter, our house is free of clutter and nic-nacs. I imagine that some people going through think our house is "overly staged". However, this is how we've always lived. We've always had candles and fresh flowers, always put our small appliances away when we're not using them, and always lived clutter free (mostly because our house is small and we just don't have the room for it). Our agents even brought in a stager when they came in to take pictures for the listing and the stager only moved 2 things in the entire house. I sure hope we're not missing out on offers because of the way we really live!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:40AM
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