As a home stager, it’s important to remember that our home staging recommendations sometimes require trade offs between a number of factors. We have to work within certain constraints and the practical reality of the situation. Factors like these are key:
- How soon the house is going on the real estate market
- Budget available for home staging
- Willingness of the client to implement our staging recommendations
- Price point of the house
- Target market for the house
- What is practical if the home sellers (or their tenants) are living there
There is really no end to the kinds of ideas we can dream up for what to do when staging a real estate property, but the above factors will limit us.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’ve often found it makes my own home staging projects more creatively challenging because I have to find not only visually appealing solutions to decorating a house to sell, I also have to find a solution that works for everyone concerned.
For example, last week I wrote a blog post in which I shared my recommendations from a home staging consultation of a basement family room. While the existing wall color was not ideal, because it was so dark for a basement that had almost no natural light, I didn’t recommend that the owners repaint and instead looked for ways to make it work. One of the blog commenters, and a new Staging Diva Student, Tisa Law rightly wanted to know why I wouldn’t have just told them to repaint. I’m so glad she asked, because I know my explanation will shed some light on factors that could get new home stagers into some awkward situations if they don’t think through all the practical ramifications of what they suggest.
In this particular case, the house had to go on the market very quickly so the time constraint was upper most in my mind as I went through every room during the home staging consultation. There’s a delicate balance we have to walk as home stagers, of needing to recommend the most important things, while also not overwhelming the client to the point where they think it’s hopeless and decide not to implement our suggestions at all.
Secondly, it was clear in this case that since the owners were living there and had two small children, there were limits to what I could expect from the frazzled mom in the few days she had before the first open house.
In an ideal world, I would have repainted the entire basement and brought in all new furniture. But given all the above factors, working with what they had was the best option.
Since the current wall color was so dark, it would have required priming and several coats to cover with a lighter color. This would not have been easy since the room functioned as the kids’ playroom and the laundry would not be accessible with all the furniture piled into the middle of the room to allow for painting.
Next, I had to consider how long the paint odor would last since there were no windows that could be opened and I didn’t want a smelly open house.
While the wall color was not optimal, it was actually a pleasing color and in good shape. I knew with the other changes I recommended, it would be fine. This decision also meant that there was a safe and out-of-the-way place for the kids to hang out while all the other changes were being made to the rest of the house.
In effect, I traded-off a new wall color in the basement for getting a bunch of more important stuff accomplished elsewhere. For more information on how I do home staging consultations, check out course 3 of the Staging Diva Program, “Taking the Mystery Out of Home Staging Consultations.” It even comes with this Free bonus, “Home Staging Consultation Checklist with Room-by-Room Client Planning Forms.”
Home stagers, what trade-offs have you had to make in your own home staging consultations? Do you think I was wise to not even recommend repainting the basement?
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager. She developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love and she continues to develop ebooks and other home staging resources to help stagers on their path to success.