Saturday, April 23, 2011

House staging

Our old house is back on the market. Our realtor convinced us it would be worthwhile to "stage" several of the rooms. I remain unconvinced. If I am looking at a house to buy I want it clean and empty. I can imagine my own furniture there better without the distraction of other furniture. The realtor makes a good argument that many people, especially younger buyers are not blessed with that ability and need the reassurance that normal furniture fits and looks good in a space. Ray is convinced. My daughter agrees. I am outvoted, but willing, at this point, to try anything!  The stagers did their thing on Wednesday, so Thursday we dropped by to see how it looked.

Here's the living room and dining room view.

Um, OK. I was actually expecting something a little more like the period of the house, but I think this looks OK. Here is how it looked with our furniture.

They placed the sofa in front of the window, which leaves a nice long view of the two rooms. I mostly had our sofa dividing the two rooms. The staged version shows off the condition of the oak floor pretty nicely, I think.

I like how the new old light fixture reflects in the mirror on the mantle.

This same corner when we lived here.

I am not at all fond of the bedroom setup they created. Seems way too "hotel-y" and frou-frou for the house, but it does demonstrate how nice and spacious that bedroom is.

We had it packed full of furniture!

The realtor warned me that the homeowners usually hate the way their houses are staged, but there is a reason for the way it is done. I'm OK with that. I actually find the strategies interesting and hope she is right about how well it works.  What do you think?


  1. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Wow-- I think they did a great job! Makes me want to clear out half the stuff in my house. But that would only make it photograph better, not necessarily "live" better. I guess they know what they're doing-- I've always been a little skeptical as well.


  2. I think your Realtor gave you some good advice. 3 years ago when we put our home in Ashland on the market, the Realtor suggested we rent a storage unit and put about half of our belongings in it and she helped me rearrange the furniture and you know we sold it to the first person to come and look. :-) Good Luck!

  3. Anonymous10:58 AM

    My realtor and a friend staged my house for me. It wasn't to my taste and was hard to live in (model homes have no trashcans, kleenix boxes or storage). And it had fake plants strategically placed as well as mirrors to reflect the spaciousness of the house.

    I was skeptical but willing and we got an offer in a week.

    Good luck with your house.


  4. So many people watch House Hunters on cable and the buyers RARELY buy the "lived in" house. An usually always like the staged houses best. So, it would follow that the buyers coming to your old house would want to see it looking like a television house.

    An empty house always scans as being "smaller" than one filled with furniture. I think your realtor wants to SELL that house and it doing her best to get the job done. Looks amazing. Your hard work and her staging!!!

  5. I find staging helpful because it makes me calculate the size of a room! Whenever I have seen empty rooms, I was wrong about the real dimensions. We saw our present home furnished by the past tenants, and when imagining it to be our home, it was easy to put in a double bed for a double bed.

  6. Thanks for sharing the comparisons. It's a different house isn't it? The first has your love and memories and speaks of you. The staged version is, as you put it, "hotel-y" - which means it's kind of ready for a new person to imagine themselves in it. Mentally they're adding all their loved bits and pieces. As the other comments noted - the realtor has a vested interest in selling and she wouldn't do it if she didn't think it was worth it. Personally, I think she's done a great job!! Best wishes on selling!!!

  7. Well, I am out voted! LOL! I prefer either the owner's furniture or bare. We have the same taste in furniture, so the staging didn't work for me. But, then I am not young, either. I do wish I was. I would convince C to move to Portland and buy your house in a heartbeat. Have a very Happy Easter and I hope the house sold this weekend.

  8. I think the house looks great actually, and even though the staged furniture does look rather contemporary and not as suited to the house, it is probably what your typical new home buyers would hope their new home would look like. My parents are going through the same thing as they get ready to put the house they've lived in for 40 years on the market. The realtor they are working on is staging bigtime and says that one main reason is to make the photos show airy, light, spacious rooms as most househunters nowadays do so much looking online and don't look at as many houses in person. So that first photographic impression is key to getting people actually out to the house. Which makes sense. Good luck -- hope it sells quickly!

  9. The last comment reminds me of how much better small pieces of quilted art look on the internet than large pieces. So your realtor is doing well by you and I would hate seeing this happen to my house.

    I hope (knock on wood, fingers crossed) that I am too far gone to see what will happen to this place when it has to sell. Aaaaaaargh! Unbearable. You are a strong person!

  10. Yes Terry stage the place. I personally like the contemporay style chosen, as it shows that you can have the old house and not be married to period furniture if it is not your style. It allows for an eclectic sensibility and includes a bigger buyer pool. Of course when I looked at the realtor's link, I thought the dining room table was too small, hated the placement of the couch, etc etc, and mainly because I know how warm and welcoming your home is, both this house and the current relax, the home is you, not the house.

  11. I think the house looks great too. It has a lot of memories for you, and you like it livable in a certain way, but that may translate to only buyers just like you being interested. The way it's staged is not realistic, but it's a good nudge for prospective buyers to get a sense of the scale of the house, and to imagine a wider variety of furnishings. Dare I say it, the house looks "younger" in the staged version.

    I'm holding out for a filled-up fixer-upper so that when it comes time we can spend our money on changes we want, not pay now for "flipper's neutral" -- but I can imagine a lot and I think that's unusual outside of the artistic community.

    I think your house looks great and I hope it sells quickly.

  12. It makes me want to buy your house. Of course, I wanted to buy your house when YOU lived in it.

  13. I find this fascinating as I dodn't think I haveever heard of this 'staging' here in the UK. Of curse advice is given as to how to sell a house - clear out the clutter, make sure that the rooms are used for expected purposes - so bedrooms should have beds in them. If necessary freshen up the paint in neutral colours. I have never seen this bringing in furniture thing though. save in showhomes where I suppose they do dress the house to make it look bigger. Never works with me though - i can see the 3/4 sized bed, the lack of wardrobes and the fact that there is no door on the lounge! I have to say though - we sold out house with the dining room full of books and one bedroom a studio and one a second lounge/den... the buyer, a newly divorced man, asked to buy the bookshelves and liked the fact he had lots of rooms for his collections and not lots of beds for the family he no longer had! So go figure. I think yout house looks good in both versions - just more realistic and lived in as yours but maybe more aspirational for a new fresh lifestyle in the staged version. Good luck selling it. Pity it was no far away when we were looking!

  14. Terry, it looks much more spacious the way the realtor has staged it. Big difference and I'm betting the house will sell quickly and for a good price. It is hard to stage one's own house because we are so emotionally attached to our stuff and to the way we have decorated the house.

    Also, an empty house is a sad house, as far as I am concerned - so staging takes care of that and says "here's what you can do with the space".

  15. I love how it looks. Of course, that is my style - modern and streamlined (except for my studio). I think you will have success, soon.

    I had the same reaction when we sold our house in Santa Rosa. We rented a storage locker and decluttered. Sold it to the first couple who walked in the door.

  16. Hmmmm?! Like the staging but I am with you on the empty room.

  17. Anonymous5:47 AM

    Well, I find the way you had your house decorated much more appealing than the staged arrangement, but I know that's not the point here. We are still living in the only home we ever purchased (47 years ago) and it hadn't been lived in for over a year so it was empty. Even though our home is a simple, ordinary 3-bedroom ranch house, it looked huge to me then after living five years in a duplex. I sure hope the "staging" brings a quick sale for you! Best of luck.

  18. Did you bury a statue of Joseph upside down in the back yard? I've heard this works.

  19. I am a "younger buyer" and I hate hate hate staged houses. Blech! I am totally with you! I think that part of my distain toward staged homes is the “cold” feeling that the staged house offers. I can tell that the furniture has never been used and is cheap veneer (aka crappy furniture). Because I used to sell furniture, I feel like I’m walking through a showroom floor rather than a house for sale. I would rather walk through a house that is “lived in” or that is empty. I can envision my own furniture, but I appreciate that some people cannot. I think that some people absolutely cannot visualize space without stuff filling it. I guess that’s why staging companies make money…PS- your furniture and decorating looks better in the house…but I guess it had to go with you! :)

  20. We just went through this. We lived in our house while showing it. We cleared out tons of clutter (ie. useful items), left only decorator stuff. Someone up above is SOOOO right. It was nearly impossible to LIVE there. No kleenex. No trashcans, nothing. Made me crazy polishing everything.

    While we were house shopping, nearly all the houses we looked at were empty. That was fine with me, but occasionall it would have been helpful to see some furniture for scale: beds in bedrooms or a couch in a living room. Especially in photos.

    I can tell you that most people cannot envision anything. They watch tv, and it is fed to them. They nver use their own imagination so 'seeing' their options is a foreign concept. Staging helps them see what it could look like.

    One couple's feedback to our realtor was, "We are afraid of the yard. We don't know anything about plants." So they weren't interested in our house as it had a patio, some grass and flowering shrubs in the back yard. yeah. That watering. It's rocket science.

    Hope your house sells quickly!!

  21. Well it looks like it worked...HOOORAY! Mom's condo in Marin County, Calif., sold after three years on the market. My friend Kathy's house in China Village, Maine, sold after two years on the market. I think this means things have turned around! HOOORAY for you...may the rest of the process be utterly routine! Cheers, Sarah

  22. Your house is lovely with many fabulous features.

    It's too bad your furniture couldn't have stayed until it was sold, because it did work quite well. All that was needed was a little refining.

    I'm not sure if you've already sold, but if not I suggest you remove the area rug under the dining table. Firstly because it's just way too small and secondly because there already is a rug in the living area. Having 2 rugs in this size space will be making your gorgeous living/dining room look smaller than it really is. If 2 rugs are used in the same room/area, they should match for a cohesive look that feels large.

    Good luck. What a great house!