I. Pre-Staging Challenges
This Orange Heights home had been on the market for six months, but lack of buyer interest led the seller to take it off the market and consider a new approach.
While I believed the property was priced properly according to the location, the way the home was being presented to buyers needed work. Pictures of the property were certainly missing that crucial “wow” factor. So our goal was clear: to not only get buyers’ attention but to get them excited about this place. Of course, this is always the motivation behind staging.
As you can see from the original listing photos, the property was being presented with the owner’s original furniture. And while they did a decent job of cleaning and decluttering their home, this obviously hadn’t been enough to speak to prospective buyers.
How I Got Involved
About a year earlier, I’d had a casual conversation with a local realtor about the difference that staging can make with buyers when selling a home. At this time, I was simply testing the waters and getting a feel for whether my service might have a place in the current market.
I made it a point to follow up with this realtor later to see if she’d thought any more about the benefits of staging. And the timing was right - she was ready to pull out all the stops to grab buyers’ attention and make the sale. She brought me in to stage this particular property.
Prior to staging, the driveway pavement, plumbing issues, and painting needed to be tended to. It took about a month to fix these items before I could go in and work some staging magic.
II. How Staging Transformed This Home From “Average” To “Extraordinary”
An Easy Master Bath Upgrade
The living room and dining room floors were in good condition. The master bath flooring, was another story! So when a plumbing issue came up, I saw a great opportunity to renovate this room and introduce this sophisticated hexagonal marble tile into the space.
As you can see, this tile would lend a decidedly upscale look to any master bath. In the case of this Orange Heights home, it was an easy, effective way to increase appeal to prospective buyers.
This particular tile can be found at Home Depot - it’s called “Grecian White Hexagon Polished Marble Mosaic Tile.” Don’t let the name of the tile fool you, though. Despite the word “mosaic,” the tiles are actually 3” wide.
(Helpful hint: stone or marble tiles will need to be sealed for better water resistance especially for bathrooms.)
Attention To Current Color Trends
The walls of this home were in good condition, but at the very least, they needed a fresh coat of paint to revive them. However, a simple white color on walls won’t automatically take a home’s presence to the next level. An easy update that I always suggest to sellers on a budget is to update the look of a home with current color trends. And no, this doesn’t simply mean you color a room Caliente (Benjamin Moore) just for kicks!
The use of color has to be strategic. In the case of this Orange Heights home, we chose a dark navy blue color called Gentleman’s Grey (BM) for the front door, and an indigo blue named Ande’s Summit (BM) for the half bath on the first floor. Meanwhile, the living and dining rooms were painted a “griege” color that is very popular with buyers today. And the Buxton Blue (BM) used in the master bedroom made it positively dreamy.
Updated Fixtures and Furniture
The dining room light fixture was a typical one that you’d find in homes in this area, but the look was dated. I made a number of suggestions for alternative options that would bring some much-needed visual interest to the space. We wound up using another fixture that the owner had already purchased, and it made a huge difference to this room.
It’s obvious that the previous furniture didn’t appeal to buyers. They are not buying the furniture, obviously, but staging a home with the perfect pieces for each room does help the buyers “connect” with the space. With the proper furniture, buyers will see the rooms in the best possible light.
With the rented furniture we brought in during staging, the living room became an amazing conversation area that was warm and inviting.
And the dining room was transformed in a similar way. After all, a dining room is a communal space and often the heart of a home. You want buyers to be able to envision coming together with their family and friends during the holidays. So that’s exactly what we aimed for – with fantastic results.
What To Focus On When Budget Is An Issue
There were definitely a lot of other things that we could have worked on to upgrade the home’s look, but as is often the case, budget was limited. Notice that I don’t even mention the kitchen in this particular case. The owner had already done what they could with limited resources: they painted the existing tiles and cabinets, and updated the handles with new fixtures. It simply would have been too expensive to fully renovate the kitchen in the way that would have been ideal.
When it comes to older homes, renovation can become an expensive and long-term proposition. You usually have to make some hard choices about which rooms should be given the most time and effort in the staging and renovating process. With this particular project, I strategically focused on the living room, dining room, bathrooms and bedrooms, because it was clear that in these spaces, a few basic changes would have the biggest impact.
III. The Result: A $30K-Over-Original-Asking-Price Sale
Our effort certainly paid off. This property wound up selling for $30K over what the original asking price had been, prior to staging!
When all was said and done, this was the budget and the timeline that led to our final post-staging success:
Renovation Cost: $10K according to owner
Staging and Materials: $2,500
Days On Market: 4 weeks
Time Period Before De-Staging: 6 weeks
Asking Price Before Staging: $320K
Final Sale Price After Staging: $350K
Like many staging projects, this turned out to be an exciting and creative challenge. The end result was well worth it. It's safe to say, the seller was thrilled that the property finally sold. While the new homeowners were happy about the enticing, move-in condition of their new place.