staging to sell

RoseAbbeyApril 11, 2012

I enjoying going to open houses especially newly built homes to see how they are staged. When buying a home though I would rather see an empty house than one that is staged. Staging can hide a lot of flaws that you wouldnt notice if the house was empty. Anyone feel the same way?

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I totally agree but we are in the minority and most people make every possible effort not to have an empty house when selling. Many people - perhaps most - can't visualize furniture placement and so I understand empty houses are difficult for them. That's why you have to play to the biggest audience when selling and that means staging, or somewhat staging a house. I will say, that given a choice between viewing an obviously staged house or a cluttered house, I will pick staged if only because a truly cluttered house is hard for me to get past - kind of like people who can't picture furniture in an empty room!! We all have our preferences and quirks, don't we?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 4:38PM
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There are a lot of previous discussions about this, if you look back through the threads. I don't have a strong preference, personally. I will say that when we sold our last house we had it staged, and we think it helped sell it. Some of the rooms were weird shapes and sizes, and to us it looked a lot more functional with furniture in it. For example the family room for some reason looked really small when it was empty, but when staged with appropriate sized furniture it looked fine, and showed that it would easily fit the stuff people would probably want to have in there.

Of course, we didn't ask the buyers, so we will never know for sure if it helped sell it.

As we've been looking at houses, we've seen some occupied ones, some vacant ones and some staged ones, and it didn't make a big difference. The one we made an offer on was occupied with the current owner's furniture still there. There were some cases (both staged and just occupied with the owner's furniture) where there was such a great piece of furniture for a given spot, or such a neat set up in a room, that it gave us ideas we wouldn't have otherwise had. Is that the make or break between making an offer or not? I doubt it, but it's hard to say for sure.

Still, for the vast majority of people, there's a lot of emotion involved in the home buying process. It's easy to write on a forum that "it's just business" or "who cares about the furniture or the wall colors, because you'll change them." But the look and feel of the inside of a house can have a huge emotional impact, either positive or negative. If I walk into a house that is beautifully decorated, I can't help but get a positive, "happy" feeling. Being an experienced businessperson I tell myself that I won't let that sway my decision to buy a house, and I think I do a pretty good job, but I'm sure it still has a subconscious effect. I think that's probably true for most buyers, even if they deny it.

The problem with all that, of course, is that the things that give people positive feelings aren't universal. The kind of decor that makes me love a house might make you hate it. So. No clear answer!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:28PM
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I feel the same way.
Luckily, staging isn't big in my area.

Hard to hide the flaws if the rooms are empty!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:08PM
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Staging does hide a lot of flaws. It also helps show off the postitive attributes.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 12:13AM
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I agree as well. I like to see a blank canvas and imagine in my own way the layout. However, I am a fan of watching HGTV and after watching many of their shows I have realized that the majority of people really need help in this area. If the house or room is not staged, they just can't visualize it themselves. So, I understand why sellers and builders do it - it really does help the property sell.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:11AM
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I agree that with empty rooms you can see flaws better since they won't be covered over. That said I think you get a better sense of how the work actually works with furniture in it. A room might looks fine in size empty but with furniture in it may be clearly too small.

There was one house I never saw in person because it went under contract before I could see it (after being on the market for quite a while). It was empty and had a kitchen with an unusual layout with a family room next to it. I couldn't actually figure out where it was intended for the dining table to be. Was it in the end of the kitchen across from where the large range was (there was a cooktop and built in ovens at the other end of the kitchen). Or was it in the end of large attached family room? I honestly couldn't figure it out. I would have loved to see how the sellers had set it up....

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 12:04PM
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We have been house shopping and have seen many houses. I dislike empty houses. I need to see the furniture to feel the size of the rooms. We have a King bed and in an empty room, I can't tell if our furniture will fit. I also agree that furnished rooms give an idea how to use a room. I've seen dining rooms transformed into den/office and the den used as the dining-room. Really gave me some ideas.

Most important is how clean and neat the house appears. Makes a huge difference. Somehow an empty house looks sad. A nicely furnished home feels good and alive.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 4:42PM
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As long as I have the dimensions of the rooms, I have no difficulty being able to tell if my king size bed will fit.

A furnished home can take away from the beauty of the house if the owner does not have the same taste as I do but having said that I do agree that a nicely furnished home can feel good but still I prefer a clean canvas when I go house hunting. I can easily image my furniture in the space when there is nothing there.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 5:30PM
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I have a slight preference for empty. But some of the empty ones do obscure layout flaws -- where the traffic flow would make it difficult to position furniture. If there was furniture, you would see how difficult it is to position without getting in the way of traffic, say between the kitchen and the stairs. So it can cut both ways!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 9:13AM
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