To Stage or not to Stage

The sun was out, the sky was blue and  I visited four open houses this past Sunday. Two of the homes were from the post WWII era (1949 and 1948), one from the 1950's and one from the 1960's. The four Open Houses were in various states of showing, one had been flipped and staged, one was empty, one looked to be a shared rental and one had been de-cluttered and mildly staged with personal belongings.

Before and after some staging
Staging seems to be all the rage, but I must say from visiting the four homes, the house which had only been staged in the living rooms and  dining room seemed to have the least soul. When a developer builds a model home and has an interior designer decorate the inside, there are still remnants that remind one of real life such as trophies in the child's bedroom or a grocery list artfully placed in the kitchen. The model homes feel real and one can imagine living in them. A half staged home absent of what would be visible in real life leaves one empty. The home half staged on Sunday was the home built in the 1950's and recently remodeled for a flip. I walked through and was not grabbed or enticed by anything I saw. 

The two homes built in the late 1940's were opposite in states of showing. One was empty, the other was not polished or Open House ready. The empty home was absolutely darling. The kitchen had black and white tile with original cabinetry off of a dining room with a built in hutch. It seems that at some point in time an owner added a sun porch on the back of the house. Although it was empty, something about the home had charm. If I were in the market, it would be desirable. The home looking like a shared rental taught me that it is imperative to prepare for an Open House. If those that lived in the house had put some things away or stored some furniture in the garage, it may have been easier to imagine the charm. The great room was great, but everything feel apart after that.

A small reminder of
family life helps buyers see
themselves in the home
The last home I visited was a single story ranch home built when ranches were the rage. From the moment I walked in the door, I could tell the owner had undertaken some serious de-cluttering. The house was clean without too much of anything anywhere. There was evidence of toddlers living in the home, but just enough to help one envision this home as a family home. Perfect.

Of the four houses visited, the clean ranch home was in the best state of showing and had the most emotional impact. Purchasing a home is an emotional decision. You want the people visiting to have an attachment the moment they walk in the door. If they are distracted by clutter, or not attracted by functional staging, there is not impact and thus no sale. If I had to show an Open House, I would either show it empty or show it clean with small reminders how life is should be lived.

For more observations and tips on Open House Don'ts, please see my guest blog post.

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