I recently stopped by an Open House for a 'vacant' which had been Staged 2 Sell. My intent was to take a picture of the exterior because I had forgotten to do that in the hustle and bustle of the 'staging day'. I had not intended to go inside, however there were no cars in the driveway, which is a clear indication that the realtor was alone, AND the realtor was standing at the window. I felt compelled to go inside to at least introduce myself and explain that I merely wanted an outside photo of the house for my portfolio.
It was a gloomy, rainy Sunday afternoon. When I stepped inside, I immediately noticed that there were very few lights on, and those that were, came from the inexpensive ceiling fixtures and not from the numerous table lamps that were placed strategically throughout the rooms. When I bring lamps into a staging, I ALWAYS make sure that there is a light-bulb inside so that the lamp can be instrumental in setting 'the mood'.
There was a beautiful gas fireplace in the great room which should have been lit in order to showcase the warmth and ambiance that it emitted
There were candles on the dining table, coffee table, fireplace mantel and on a sofa table; unfortunately, none were lit.
Briefly put, even though the house was of the finest construction and all of the rooms on the first floor were staged with purpose, on this particularly dreary day, the house still 'lacked' ENERGY - that all important component that attracts us to people, places and things! Without 'energy', there is no 'life'. This principle applies just as much to houses as it does to all living things.
I learned a very important message that day and I would like to share it with all of the Home Stagers and Realtors here on Active Rain. From now on, every house that I stage will come with 'showing' instructions that will include permission to light the candles that I have brought in. In the case of occupied houses, I am now instructing the seller about the importance of 'setting the mood' for showings by lighting fireplaces and candles (only those located where no passerby can accidentally knock it over or brush by it and be burned). In the 'vacants' where I have the owner's permission, I will leave a butane lighter (with instructions on what to light) by the area where the realtors drop their cards. I will also be certain to get the builder's/owner's permission to use the gas fireplaces during showings and each Open House. I will then make certain that each realtor who shows the property is aware of that.
I feel that I need to include A WORD OF CAUTION here for obvious reasons: Always be certain that all flames are extinguished completely before leaving the premises!
There is one remaining thought that I would like to leave with the Realtors, and that is to consider bringing in some soft background music, a carafe of tea or coffee (the boxed coffee from Dunkin' Donuts is easiest and they provide cups, stirrers, napkins and sweeteners - you need only to purchase a small container of milk while there) and perhaps a tray of cookies or 'munchkins'. The music will add to the 'energy' and the coffee and dessert will keep prospective buyers in the house longer (which gives them additional time to fall in love with it!).
It is the LITTLE things, after all, that can make a BIG difference - and that difference could very well equate to a SALE!
At STAGED 2 SELLNY our mission is to 'set the stage' for your successful sale!