Just Stage That Home

PoolHotels could use a little help from the home staging industry. When we were first escorted into our villa at the St. Regis by our butler — I still can’t get used to Konstantin as our personal butler, it seems so unnecessary and pompous — as he opened the door he beamed, “Welcome home.” And he had both TVs blaring, in the living room and the bedroom. This did not feel like my home. It felt like I was intruding into somebody else’s home.

Staging a home is crucial to setting the mood for a sale. The easier buyers can view themselves as living in the home, the faster that home will sell. Buyers generally don’t spend as much time inside the home as people think. You’ve generally got about 2 or 3 seconds in each room to make an impression. A buyer pokes in her head and goes down the hall.

This morning a reader from my About.com homebuying site asked if he should stage his 8,500 square-foot home. He thought the home showed better vacant. Well, I haven’t seen the condition of his furniture, but I doubt that is true. He went on to say that most TV shows seem to favor vacant homes. At first blush, I want to scream: Stop watching those shows. They are TV, for goodness sake. I’ve appeared on some of those shows, and they are television, not real, created for entertainment, fabricated. If you want to learn something, go to school. Read a book. But don’t watch TV.

But I’d be talking to a door. And an unadorned door at that. I wanted to say hey, just stage that home.

I explained to him that the guys from TV shows have a hard time talking people into letting them intrude into their personal space. Nobody wants a film crew in their bath or bedroom. They worry about being judged or criticized, not that they have anything all that personal to protect in privacy. It’s much easier to get permission to film a vacant home.

And, having sold my own 8,600 square-foot home, once upon a time, I can tell you that almost every home, large or small, will sell faster and for more money if it is staged. It’s not a question of whether you should stage a home. Just stage that home.

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