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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Staging – Miss the Mark and Miss the Market - by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP, Owner of Sensational Home Staging

Home Staging – Miss the Mark and Miss the Market
by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP, Owner of Sensational Home Staging
There is a trend I see emerging in some Staging businesses where the Staging is so extreme, so unique, so well, trendy, that it misses the mark, and more importantly misses the market. In other words, the Staging may “look really cool” but does it actually appeal to the target Buyer?

With Home Staging we have to ask ourselves, “Who is the potential Buyer for this house?” “Who am I creating this look for and is that audience going to like what I have planned for this Staging?”

Dare I say, we need to ask, “Are we more focused on the Staging or the fact that the house is Staged?”

The truth is, lately I see some that call themselves “Stagers” use some truly amazing inventory – stuff that would make any reader of a design magazine drool. But again, is the inventory and Staging of mass audience appeal or is it taking Staging down to a tiny market niche? The photos I see of some work really make me say, “Huh?” because the Staging is not broadly appealing.

Don’t get me wrong - Is it stylish? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. Is it too unique? Yes. Does it appeal to the broad base of buyers – NO. That is the telling question – and the key is that Staging is NOT Decorating or Design. Both industries serve a purpose but only one serves the goal of Selling a house and appealing to mass audience online and in person. STAGING.

What is the goal of Staging? To SELL the house. A “Home Stager” that is focused on the STUFF is not focused on the goal. I am all for creating a really great look in a house, but when the focus is on the stuff, prices charged are often too high, and the look truly does not appeal to the broad audience.

More importantly, in a market like we are in today, we cannot afford to alienate any facet of the audience of potential buyers by using furnishings that are too “out there.” Instead of selling the house, what is being sold is the “design style” of the person that installed all that “really cool stuff” in the house.

Most (and that is 99%) of Buyers cannot relate to a red piano or extremely modern art as things they would like to own. Those items have a place of use for Staging – in a very miniscule number of properties. So unless you are Staging strictly Soho lofts In NY for eclectic artisans, this type of Staging is not doing the job of appealing to the broad buyer base.

Keep our eyes on the GOAL – Sell the house, sell the house, sell the house. Can we afford to Stage for that one Buyer that likes our design aesthetic, or are we Staging for ALL Buyers so they all want to buy the house? I know it only takes one – but do you want a needle in a haystack or the whole haystack? And when time is not on the Seller’s side, it’s up to us as the professionally trained Stagers to make SURE that the house appeals to the broadest demographic.