A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter S)

Today’s S sign features the words SLOW, SPEED and SENIORS. I’m feeling all three in different ways…

S for Staging

I have looked at a lot of houses for sale. To my knowledge, not one was ever staged. I always felt that it was up to me to imagine my own things in the spaces, ignore other people’s furnishings, and make the appropriate decisions. I don’t think I ever turned away from a place because it wasn’t cleaned. I know how to clean. Nevertheless, staging has become a “thing” in selling real estate, thank you HGTV.

A staged house is decorated tastefully, with interesting furniture (which you might like better than your own), cute throw pillows (dented “just so”), a smell like your mother just baked cookies in the kitchen and, of course, you will want to move right in. The psychology of selling has gone into high gear, for sure.

Lindsay the designer (back on letter D) made an initial visit to my house, which was full of our things and made suggestions as to what we should remove, what we should leave. Since then I have realized that I’m moving. I have tried to get rid of things that I don’t want to keep and store. I have packed our belongings to the point of making life uncomfortable. My house is now staged with cardboard boxes and no furniture that would appeal to anyone. Ooops.

Lindsay did not get to see the rental house because it was full of renters and a big dog. But now it is empty except for a glass top table and four chairs with no seat cushions. I wouldn’t exactly call that staged either.

So, I’m wondering. Do I really have to rent nearly two houses worth of furniture here? Staging is getting a little scary. You see, I don’t have a warehouse full of couches, tables and decorations that I can choose and have a crew transport to my location and put in place. Don’t forget the fresh flowers and the bowl of fruit, please. I’m wondering where I’m going to hide all these boxes.  I could put them in the container from Pack Rat, except that container can’t appear in the outside pictures, so it has to go away.  But it also has to come back for whatever furniture I do have in my house. Logistically, I’m a little confused.

There you have it. Staging is wonderful but will someone please appear and buy my houses before I have to do it? Please?

The perfectly staged living room in which no one has lived ever (probably). 

A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter D)

20180403_1401265598703050559873283.jpgToday I could have danced! (Another D word) Three men and a large truck from a thrift shop pulled into the drive and took most of the renter’s furniture away. It is gone, and I don’t have to get rid of it. That is an answer to our prayers of the last week. They had so much stuff!

Designer starts with D.

I have a designer! How special is that?!! Lindsey is a young professional, a student at Ringling School of Art & Design. She is part of the package with my realtor, who I will introduce when we get to R. She is also a young mother and wife, so scheduling with her took a little persistence, but we finally did a walk through at my house. This is all for the purpose of staging, which I’ll say more about when we get to S. The A to Z doesn’t actually care if I present the sale of the house in a logical, chronological order.

Lindsey walked from room to room with me, writing on her notepad and pointing out areas she thought were of most concern. I anticipated much of what she said. Most of her comments were the working out of a couple basic principles:

Less is best. The less stuff you have in the way, the bigger your room will appear. This includes taking things off the floor, and removing unnecessary furniture. The furniture that is left should be somewhat generic and of a size compatible with the room size. That gives the prospective buyer an idea of the room size and the kind of furniture that will fit in it. Makes sense. An example is my living room. I sold my big couch with recliners on both ends and the matching love seat, so I will probably rent an average size couch for the room, something that most everyone agrees should be standard living room furniture. I also tend to put lots of things on the floor – file boxes, rugs, decorative items. I will pack these things away.

Impersonal is best. The prospective buyers are trying to imagine their personal things in my spaces, so it helps if my personal things are not distracting them. This includes my collections, family pictures, and projects the husband and I are working on. This one is a little hard because, well, we ARE working on things and need to keep working on things. The husband’s music paraphernalia is an example of this. Music stands, instrument cases, folders – all over the lanai.

Lindsey was also helpful in suggesting paint upgrades. She called out specific colors for spaces she thought would be improved with a fresh coat and you will read more about that when we get to P.

Lastly, she has offered to come back again before the inside pictures are taken and see if there is anything additional that I should change. After our appointment, I got “the list” by email and have been working on it ever since. I love a list, just sayin’…

And I love, love, love when I can stand and watch while men move all the big, heavy stuff!
Such an appropriate sign…