'Setting the Stage' for a Successful Sale

By
Home Stager with Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island

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!

 

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
271,596
Ross Quintana
Real E Smarter - Spokane, WA
Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966

Nce post, I have recently added a home staging section to my website and think it will become more an more important as the market goes forward. I plan on adding more and more of this kind of advice for sellers.

check out my website, I'm still working on it. Please give me you thoughts and suggestions. www.TeamQuintana.com

Ross Quintana - Team Quintana Real Estate

Spokane, Wa

Spokane Real Estate Experts

Jan 21, 2008 07:06 PM #2
Rainmaker
28,871
Ginny Warsaw
Rand Referrals LLC - Murrells Inlet, SC

Very true. I have a new construction site that has been staged and I make sure that the lights are all on and dimmed where appropriate, the firplace is always on (we're in the Northeast!) and that candles are lit espcially in the entry. Everyone that comes in, even the driveby's always comment on how warm and inviting the house is.

Jan 21, 2008 07:09 PM #3
Rainmaker
158,649
Lindsay Pendleton
Relocating To Baton Rouge & Surrounding Areas - Baton Rouge, LA
Marketing Agent - Property Management in Baton Rouge
I know this doesn't have too much to do with home staging w/ a vacant home, but I went and showed up a home Sunday and was taken back by the mess that the owners left. They beds were unmade, the tv was still on, the house smelled like bad roast and things were just out of their places. I would think that people would clean up before a house showing. :)
Jan 21, 2008 07:11 PM #4
Rainer
179,089
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating
Val ~ Great idea to include "showing" instructions.  I'm surprised that the realtor didn't put the lamps on even just to make it feel "warmer" for him/herself.  I know I prefer my lamps on (on a dreary day) to overhead lights; it always make it feel cozier and more homey. 
Jan 21, 2008 07:42 PM #5
Rainer
135,611
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

Hey Val How true and I would think that the realtor would want the ambiance for herself to enjoy. I do know that some sellers are weird about candles being lit and fires blazing, I have seen this firsthand. All that being said, SETTING THE STAGE MEANS SETTING THE STAGE and that includes AMBIANCE. Imagine soft, classical music playing and being greeted by a roaring fire and the beautiful smells of candles...WOW I would want to stay and hang it...great post as always

Phylis Pafumi

Jan 21, 2008 08:59 PM #6
Rainer
89,176
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Deborah - That's it exactly!  Those who show the property must continue the work that we have begun through our styling efforts.  Successful 'staging' does not end when the stager completes the job.

Ross - Thank you.  I went to your website and it looks informative.  Good luck to you!

Ginny - You are a 'dream realtor' for us 'stagers'...if only all others in your profession would do the same!

Lindsay - It kind of makes you wonder just how serious a seller can be if they can't even clean up for the showings.  There is just no excuse for that!

Thanks, Phyllis, and I agree...I would want to capture a little of the 'ambiance' for myself if I were a realtor...it would help me to 'sell' the house more effectively.

Kathy - Me too!  I am so aware of lighting conditions - even at my own home!  I like that 'cozy' factor too!

VAL

Jan 22, 2008 12:21 PM #7
Rainer
144,429
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY
Val - I leave instructions with the homeowners that include pictures of each room.  It would be a good idea to provide these to the agent as well. 
Jan 22, 2008 12:53 PM #8
Rainer
89,176
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Maureen - Yes, I too leave written instructions for the seller of 'occupied' houses; now I intend to follow suit with the 'vacants'.

VAL

Jan 22, 2008 01:03 PM #9
Rainmaker
326,708
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager
Val - great idea - I'm doing those instructionsnext, and emailing them off!  Thanks - Julie
Jan 23, 2008 08:12 AM #10
Rainmaker
223,559
Laurie Mindnich
Centennial, CO

Val, from the "horses mouth"- you have demonstrated, for us, that the difference between the seller who doesn't accept staging, and the seller that does can make the difference between a sale or not.  Particularly if New Yorkers call upon you to do the job.  HUGE advantage.  I'm working on your involvement as we speak- a touch of reluctance that involves sellers that aren't 100% sure that they really want to sell- and we've expressed that the use of your services will likely MAKE IT SELL.

Jan 24, 2008 08:54 AM #11
Rainer
52,986
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Hi Val, I popped in to visit one of my staged vacant properties when the new REA was having the Open House and she did all that you recommended, except light candles and the fireplace.  She had some light rb/jazz playing (appropriate for the market of the home), she had donuts, crackers and cheese, a veggie and dip platter, bottles of water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate....just a really great spread set up on the island in the kitchen.  What I loved the most was that, like you said, it set the mood and showed how well the house would be for entertaining.  It really made all the difference...GREAT POST!  =)

 

Jan 24, 2008 11:22 AM #12
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Rainer
89,176

Val Allocco

HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island
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