Staging with a Goldilocks Focus
by Jennie Norris, ASPM, IAHSP-Premier, SRS, REO
ASP Course Trainer, Stagedhomes.com
A childhood favorite, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, is a fairy tale known by most everyone. Goldilocks is the girl that enters the house that belongs to the Three Bears and proceeds to take a test drive on everything from food, chairs to beds. She would not settle on what she liked until it was, “Just right.”
Think about it – this fairy tale is a great analogy for Selling a house – and for Staging. Goldilocks is our Buyer, the Three Bears are the Seller and each one has a different Stager that worked for them. We have to make sure our Staging is Just Right. Not too much and not to little. We need to have a Goldilocks focus on our Staging to do just what is necessary to sell the house and sell the house to the Buyer.
This means as a Stager we have to know when to stop adding things to the Staging – because if we bring out too much and put it in the house, even though it may look nice our Staging has crossed over to decorating. We have to ask ourselves constantly, “Is this item really necessary to the sale of the house?”
We can’t bring out too little because then the Staging is too stark and will not bring out the warmth of the house and make it feel homey to a Buyer.
Staging is subjective and we each develop our own style where one Stager may like to put more accessories in and another may be more streamlined, and yet we cannot lose sight of the goal.
In my ten years as a professional Home Stager I have seen both done – the stark Staging where someone plops a few pieces of furniture in some rooms and hangs a picture or two and calls it a day, to the Staging where there is so much in the house the Staging itself distracts from the Buyer being able to focus on the product – the house and floor-plan. The overdone houses can sell – and yet I wonder what the Stager is selling when they put so much in the house. In my opinion they have gone from working for the Seller to working for their ego – thinking that every house they Stage must look like a page out of House Beautiful magazine.
The THREE BEARS of Staging:
Papa Bear – This Staging has too much
Mama Bear – This Staging is too little
Baby Bear – This Staging is just right
We need to be objective about our own work – and stand back and ask ourselves, “Where does my eye go?” If it goes to all the fabulous stuff in the room or to a particular object – then guess what? You probably need to take some of the things out so that a Buyer can take it all in as a whole – the room. Staging is a tool used to help set off the product – the house – and should not be THE focus of the room. I don’t profess to be a judge and jury – we need to be able to assess our own work honestly – and not over or under Stage.
Who do we work for? The Seller, Realtor and Buyer.
What is our goal? To sell the house.
Don’t get me wrong. Our reputations are important. Every house we Stage we are putting our stamp of approval on it and we want it to look good. However, I have said this many times – my goal as the ASP Stager is to help the house sell in the fastest time and at the best price. The goal is to sell the house – not make the house look pretty. Does that make sense? I feel that some in today’s Staging world have that flipped. Their goal is to make the house look pretty – and have lost the focus on selling the house – and instead get wrapped up in a decorating or design mentality instead of keeping their Staging hats on.
As an example, I was called to do a preview on a vacant property that had been on the market for a year, then off the market and rented, and then put back on the market for some time before the sellers finally agreed to Stage the house. They interviewed five Home Stagers, including me. When I met with the Seller at the house, I asked some key questions about their goals relative to the Staging. I could tell the key selling points of this house were the amazing views out the back of the house. I was selected to do the Staging because I met the budget, and the Sellers liked me. The Realtor that had the listing said to me, “You did not put as much stuff in the house as this other Stager would have.” (she had used her in the past – and incidentally I now have all her business). And I replied, I did not have to. The house got an offer in 10 days after I completed the Staging. I did my job – the house sold. This other Stager wanted a 90 day minimum rental, and very high fees that did not meet the Seller’s budget because she had to create a “certain look” in the house. She was all about her inventory and her ego versus what was really needed to sell the house, and what was needed to meet her client’s needs.
Could I have put more in? Of course – there is always more I could put in a house – the key to Staging is knowing when to stop. I focused on the product – the house and floor plan – and Staged accordingly so that when Buyers came in they saw color and groupings of furniture, but also were able to focus on that view!
Next time you are Staging – ask yourself, “Is this _____ really important to the look of this room or to the Staging or is it excess and could I use it in my next Staging?” Be honest. This may save you from having to purchase or rent something for the next house.
We don’t want our porridge too hot or too cold. We don’t want the chairs too big or too small. We don’t want our beds too hard to too soft. We don’t want our Staging to be overdone or too minimal.
We want things Just Right.
Jennie Norris, ASPM, IAHSP-Premier, SRS, REO is an ASP Course Trainer with Stagedhomes.com