The Genesis Of Staging (OR-In The Beginning There Were Breakfast Trays...And It Was Good)

By
Home Stager with Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY

I have been wrestling with how the very word "Staging" resonates...with buyers, sellers and agents...and just yesterday I wrote about choosing to use PREPARING as the verb to describe what I do.

Then today Rich Iarossi of Long & Foster RE in Crofton and Annapolis MD wrote a great post about his buyers' noticing-then becoming pre-occupied with the 'faked' elements in a Staged property, instead of the property itself, and asks if a property could be Over-Staged?

Boy, people give this "S" word a lot of power! But I get it, I really do. Here are some thoughts I'd like to share from 30 years of working with people, in their space and with their stuff.

First, it can not be underestimated how intimidating it can be to have a stranger in your house. Touching your stuff, and asking you questions about all you hold near and dear: your family, your stuff, money, your values/goals/etc. For people who care about how their house looks, it's hard to care only a little, easier to care a lot.... and even maybe too much, which is what I think happened to Rich's buyer.

Second, Staging is not a new word or concept. There are probably as many ways to stage as there are practitioners, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, during the almost 40 year history of Staging, there have been many changes in the world around us. Staging, I would suggest, is on at least it's third version. Sadly, many people-agents, sellers, and other ummm, preparers stopped paying attention after the first. So to clear the air for us all, here is how I would explain the genesis of Staging.

 n the beginning, there were breakfast trays...and pastel bath salts, and candles. LOTS of candles. Furniture was trucked into empty trophy houses, and made to look pretty. It was an up market, procurement was big. Buyers wanted to dream about how they might live in their new home. Baths suitable for Roman nobility became the norm, and manufacturers of all said accouterments leapt for joy. It was the 1.0 version of Staging, and it was good, at the time.

 

hen a pall was cast over the land. The pendulum swung all the way over, and excess was a testimony to bad decisions. While there was still a passion for domicile-feathering, now every coin was squeezed as hard as possible. DIY shows, pros and tips proliferated like dandelions on a sunny May weekend, and finished projects reminded us of a kinder, gentler time...like when we were in Ye Olde Shop, or Home Ec class... or had a dorm mate.  Many agents, already beaten badly, railed against bath salts and candles, or shrunk from insisting on any proper preparation of properties. It was the 2.0 version of Staging, and it was BAD.

 

inally, balance and sensibility returned. While budget mattered, everyone saw that quality work attracted quality buyers...and generally sold the castle quicker, for more coinage. Savvy sellers and agents look to start conversations with clever preparers of properties, to see how they, too, could comfortably speak of such things. Afore-mentioned clever preparers found their voice, and made managing the peoples' needs and expectations, as well as their stuff -just as important as creating an engaging visual. People just chilled. They decided it was time to make decisions and move on with their life. It is the 3.0 version of Staging, and IT IS GOOD.

 

 

Moral of the story: Do not miss the carriage. Stop thy whining and gnashing of teeth, forsake living in the past. Before all craziness of the buying season hits hard, open thy mind, and get thee to your communication device of choice, and get to know a good preparer of properties.

 

 

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"Home Staging is anything that betters the market position of a property, while easing the minds of both the seller, and Realtor

Decorating is the physical manifestation of a complicated set of circumstances that include time, money and taste; reflecting  family, values and the world at large"     ~ TRH

WHEW. Not exactly HGTV-ese, but it's the truth.

Our spaces affect us profoundly. SO many other things fall into place when they are all they can be...but getting there is more than the pursuit of an aesthetic.

Bettering Westchester, and lower Fairfield counties since 1981, The Refreshed Home is a client advocate, working collaboratively, bringing a thoughtful approach to a creative process.  Offering specialty services such as remote and buyer consults, listing photo/video prep, shopping, and accessory rentals.

                  

 

Marie Graham ASP, IAHSP, IDS Your Stager With A Mission!

QUESTIONS? Don't hesitate!! 914.607.2895 

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Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
40 Somethings
BananaTude
Bartender, Make it a Double
Stage It Forward...
The Ninety-ninth Percentile
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Rainmaker
680,225
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605

Hi Marie - SUGGESTED - I LOVE THIS - so true with respect to all the stages.  Certainly the concept has evolved and the evlolution has been good...

January 10, 2012 11:52 PM
Rainmaker
283,638
Marie Graham
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY

Ahhh but Robin-those little rocks certainly worked some magic...at one point! Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Michelle-it is stunning how many people don't understand-or have the desire to invest time and learn something new. I still get 'yeah, fake flowers, and air fresheners, right?' This year will be different, though...the train is leaving the station, better be on board.

Nick-you are certainly a gal's  preparers' best friend, thank you!  This was actually floating around in my mind for a while, Rich's post was the perfect impetus.

 

 

January 10, 2012 11:55 PM
Rainmaker
283,638
Marie Graham
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY

Carla-thanks for your suggest, inc. I switch the viewability. RIch's was MO, just want to be sure it'd be ok with him. You are a pal indeed.

And RUTHMARIE! Glad you liked, thanks for being such a solid support always.

 

 

January 11, 2012 12:12 AM
Rainmaker
882,166
Jane Peters
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene
Power Brokers Int'l

I am glad you made this post public, Marie, very well and thoughtfully written.  And how much better preparer sounds than stager.  A much warmer feeling is conveyed.

January 11, 2012 01:20 AM
Rainmaker
981,169
Nick T Pappas
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Huntsville AL

Marie, just stopped by to congratulate you on the FEATURE...told ya so!!!

January 11, 2012 09:29 AM
Rainmaker
318,311
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996
LONG REALTY

I've certainly seen houses over-staged, many to the point of humorous distraction. Sometimes less is more.

January 11, 2012 10:44 AM
Rainmaker
85,347
Ben Blonder
Buyers, Sellers, Investors!
Broker/Owner, Kapital Real Estate Inc

This is a great post! I love the AKA title too! Sometimes you really need to know how something evolved to want to be INvolved with it!

January 11, 2012 11:10 AM
Rainmaker
508,110
Mitchell J Hall
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC
The Corcoran Group

Enjoyable post. I've noticed more West Elm (simple and functional) and less Pottery Barn (breakfast trays) these days. But it may be the size of the homes. I've been showing a lot of small apartments in new construction lately.

January 11, 2012 11:20 AM
Rainer
13,426
Chris Twing
Twing Staging & Redesign

You said it so well and I loved the renaissance flare. Preparing a home for sale is doing whatever it takes to make potential buyers feel at home, feel like they could and want to live there. What it takes to do this is evolving every day.

January 11, 2012 11:38 AM
Rainmaker
283,638
Marie Graham
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY

Thanks Jane! It's pretty amazing that this word hasn't been picked up by more people for that very reason. Will be interesting to see how how it shakes out in the weeks to come!

NICK! Where would any of us be w/o the pals we have? Thanks for your support!

Jon-I've seen those same houses, but having a buyer fixate-like Riches' did-is odd. Most usually just shake their head and smile.

BEN!  And I loved writitng it, too! Thank you for becoming a regular visitor :)

January 11, 2012 12:17 PM
Rainmaker
659,786
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR

Hi Marie ~ back in the 1960's my parents used to "stage" real estate properties to help them sell faster .. and their description for what they did (and trained me to do) was "prepare the property to sell faster."  So I love that word, too!!

January 11, 2012 02:05 PM
Rainmaker
233,918
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors

Marie: What? No bath salts and rocks in the sinks? I guess this really is the new millenium.

January 11, 2012 02:09 PM
Rainmaker
283,638
Marie Graham
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY

Hi Mitchell-yes, small-scale, clean and sophisticated is what sells apts in your nexk of the woods. Busy/fussy otherwise distracting takes up space. But want to know a slick trick? A warmer, deeper tone of the wall usually makes rooms look bigger...counter-intuitive, but true!  Thanks for visiting!

Chris-you said it pretty well yourself! I love evolution, you get the best result when there is collaboration and evolution. Appreciate your joining in!

Maureen!  Your parents were ahead of their time-it's a good word and I'm going to stick with it as well!

Anne, Anne, Anne....I can see we will have out work cut out for us :)

 

January 11, 2012 03:23 PM
Ambassador
1,010,201
Harry F. D'Elia
Investor , Mentor, CSSN, Radio Coach, REOs, ABR
Precision Real Estate Inc.

Staging is the best way to enhance an empty property for sale. True professionals make it easy.

January 11, 2012 04:57 PM
Rainmaker
538,591
Gretchen & Mel Ahrens
ColumbiaGorgeFSBO.com

Staging a home properly is more important than ever in this market. Not everyone can afford a professional stager, however, although it's too bad everyone can't. I know plenty of clients who could benefit from one. When clients can't afford a "stager" we help "prepare" the house for showing.

Gretchen.

January 11, 2012 06:56 PM
Rainer
157,536
Anthony Daniels
SF Bay Area REO Specialist
Coldwell Banker

Staging should be considered on a case by case basis, depending on the property and client goals.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

January 11, 2012 09:38 PM
Rainmaker
313,510
Sandy Acevedo
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale
951-290-8588

Hi Marie, very clever post! I enjoyed it very much.                                            

January 12, 2012 12:34 AM
Rainmaker
87,578
ERIC TRAUTMANN
Weichert Realtors

so i guess a mirrored wall in the dining room with Liberaces candleabra on the table would be a bad thing?

i was in a home that had "HIS" and "HIS" bathrobes hung in the bathroom in an immaculate house and it made my clients comment (which I was able to deflect so as to not get into any issues) how would you handle this as a stager?

January 12, 2012 10:44 AM
Rainmaker
283,638
Marie Graham
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY

Harry-you sound like someone who has put the time in, and found the right preparer to make it happen for you-BRAVO!!

Gretchen-I am of the mind that anything that can be done to better the position of a property within the market is a good, thing, no matter who does it, or what it's called.  I am a big believer in working with the homeowner, side by side, because then they see how little effort is involved...and you KNOW they are going to tell their friends! Thanks for visiting!

Hi Anthony, and thanks for visiting. Most properties can be improved in some way, but you're right, it always needs to match up with the needs and goals of both client and agent.

SANDY! And thank you for becoming a regular visitor! Always good to see familiar faces!

Eric-that is a very interesting question. I assume you were the buyers' agent?  You never know who is going to react to what, but anytime your buyer finds something odd/objectionable, no matter what it is, all you can do is shrug and move on.

When I meet a homeowners and their agent I always ask about the neighborhood-who lives here now, and who the agent think would be looking at this property, and we discuss a strategy. including what might be some hot buttons.  In any market, generally you want the 'stuff' to take a backseat to the space-whether it's stuffed moose heads, Currier and Ives plates or HIS and HIS robes. But I could also imagine instances where each of these would be exactly the right touch.

Bottom line, if there is anything I feel would impede the best possible experience of viewing THAT house, I would address it with sellers and their agent. Sometimes sellers don't really want to move and do things to 'mark' their territory-leave dishes in the sink, keep some crazy decor, etc...if you thought the the sellers were trying to make that kind of statement, and it was distracting, as an agent I'd give that feedback to the listing agent.

January 12, 2012 05:56 PM
Rainmaker
981,169
Nick T Pappas
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Huntsville AL

Marie, since you disabled comments on the latest post you re-blogged about politicians.  I wanted to make a small comment about a great movie I saw last night that reinforced for me points made in that post.  The movie was "State of the Union" with Tracy and Hepburn.  I think it was made in 1948...Tracy was a man of integrity and ethics running for President, but temporarily set aside his values to get elected until Hepburn reigned him in...if you haven't seen it, check it out I think you'll enjoy it.  I think it's a move that should be played prime time during the current election campaigns.

By the way, thanks for the surprise call...I always enjoy talking to you...you are one of the most upbeat people I know and you made my day!!

January 12, 2012 06:24 PM
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Rainmaker
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Marie Graham

Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager
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