Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Do Stagers need a 12-Step Program?

I blogged about Home Stagers having A.D.D.

- and although I know most of us do not actually have that condition - I did think that Stagers enjoy staging because of the short term gratification element.

Along those same lines - I also believe that those of that have found our life passion with Staging are ADDicted to Staging.

What is an addict? Websters defines it as: A person who cannot resist a habit, especially the use of drugs or alcohol, for physiological or psychological reasons.

OK - let's just remove the drugs and alcohol part - and put in "A person who cannot resist a habit, especially the use of Staging and creativity, for physiological and psychological reasons." - and there you have it!

We that love Home Staging are Staging Addicts!

Does this mean we need our own 12-Step program for support? Having grown up in a 12-step household (so this is not in any way meant to demean the helpful groups that saved my family's life), I can just hear the statements now at the weekly support groups - "SA - Stagers Anonymous."

"Hello, my name is Jennie, and I am a Staging Addict." Group: "Hello, Jennie."

The 12 Steps would be launched with the statement:

1. I am powerless over Staging - and help declutter other houses and my own so their lives and mine will not be unmanageable.

2.. Came to believe that a power greater than myself - Staging - could restore me and my clients' houses to sanity.


The truth is, like an addict, I CAN feel myself going through withdrawals when I have not had my hands in someone else's house. My husband and kids notice it too - as I begin to "re-Stage" our own house - rearranging things, straightening, and fussing in the house - in order to make something "old new again." It bothers them - they want to be able to leave a blanket on the ground or not put the centerpiece back where it belongs after playing our Wii. To me - I often don't feel complete until my own house is back "in order" and yet I do have clutter - the kind that most families with children would have. Books, papers, collections, displayed school projects, and laundry - lots of laundry. And yet I recognize when I am crossing over to the addiction fix - I become sort of like a whirling dervish - spinning through my house cleaning, straightening, and re-doing displays. Time for a Staging project - FAST!

I do believe we that love Staging are ADDICTED to it - as one of my mentors proudly shared, "It gets in our blood stream - it's addictive." And yet I also know it is one of those "healthy" addictions. We are not harming anyone in the process of Staging (unless we drop a box on our toe), and we do help others to achieve their goals.

Now as I am writing this - I realize that as Home Stagers, we are addicted to Staging spaces and making houses more visually appealing, which is true. But what about the other role we play in this 12-Step world?

Think about it. Are we also codependent as Stagers? Do we do for others what they should do for themselves - but are not able? Yes we do. The decluttering, the proper presentation for the overwhelmed home seller - are all things the seller (or Realtor) are not able to do - and we come in and "save the day" with our plans, our creativity, our inventory, our knowledge.

Hmmm. I had not thought of that before now - but there is a grain of truth. We do help rescue the sale time and time again, offering up our solutions, telling our sellers not to be concerned - we'll take care of it - and allowing them to step aside and pass the responsibility for presentation of the house to us.

I guess we play both roles - we are the proverbial Addict and the Enabler. But the good news is that we are not hurting anyone in the process - we are helping. We are helping feed our own addiction and helping the Client achieve their goal of selling, even if it means we have to do the work ourselves.

Afterall - life should not be all boring - we have to have some FUN to feed our spirit - even if it is an addiction that can drive some of our family and friends crazy! And that is a whole other 12-step program.

SA unite!

Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP, Owner & Principal Stager, Sensational Home Staging serving the Greater Denver region

•International Staging Expert, Blogger, and Media Personality

•Member of International Assoc of Home Staging Professionals since 2003

•Why Trust Your House or Listing to Anyone Else?

•Over 2,700 Houses Staged and Thousands of Satisfied Realtor and Seller Clients

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Twas the Month Before Christmas . . . A Staging Poem for Sellers and Realtors

Trouble viewing the graphic?  Here is the text version:

‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the town
Sellers were asking, “Should we bring our price down?
Or go off the market until sometime next year,
We just can’t seem to get a buyer in here.”

Their houses were marketed during the season
No buyers were coming - what could be the reason?
Perhaps there needs to be more appeal
To help a buyer come make a deal!

Well here’s the solution that’s sure is engaging
From your Staging expert - Sensational Home Staging!
I’ve transformed many houses, to help them look best
From furnished, to vacant, large, small and the rest.

The services are varied, but one things for sure,
Staging a house is often the cure!
The best things about a home - I help buyers see
Using their own items or special inventory.

The data I track proves Staging works well
Even in this market - my Staged houses sell.
The investment in Staging is really quite clear
It will help you sell now versus sometime next year.

Copyright (C) Jennie Norris, 2003-2011 - All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Staging for the Holidays - How Much is Too Merry?

The holidays are just around the corner. If you have your house listed for sale or are going to put it on the market, here are some things to think about to ensure your house is "buyer friendly" during the holidays.
First, not everyone celebrates the holidays you do so minimizing what is put out for celebrating is key. Make every buyer feel welcome - even the ones that don't do much for the holidays or believe in celebrating the ones you do. There is nothing "wrong" with what you believe or celebrate and it's important to think like a buyer and create that welcome feeling for anyone viewing your house.  Not putting out everything you own for decorating for a holiday will keep your house feeling spacious, neutral and inviting for any buyer.

The next major holiday is Thanksgiving. The warm tones associated with this holiday are fine for selling unless they totally clash with your current color scheme. Having a nice cornucopia on the table, or an arrangement with fall gourds, pumpkins and the like is fine. Just make sure the decor you put out does not draw too much attention to it - whatever you use to decorate for the holiday needs to be just a highlight in the room - not the focal point. Don't overdo it in your front yard with a bunch of cute yard items like scarecrows, pumpkins, turkeys, flags, etc.  Think "less is more" for selling during this time.

The religious holidays that are coming are a source of remembrance, joy, and ritual for many. Not all buyers are going to know what your religious items signify and we don't want anyone feeling uncomfortable in the house they are potentially buying. If someone feels uncomfortable they will just get out and go look at the next house on their list.

I am going to address Christmas because that is what we celebrate in my house and if you celebrate another religious holiday in the November-December timeframe, apply the same guidelines to your house. Christmas decor is a lot of fun - I have lots of Nativity Scenes and Santas. I have a collection of over 40 Nutcrackers that are a family favorite and on display wherever I can fit them. They would surely be a conversation topic for any buyer coming to see the house if it were for sale. 

Are you selling your decorations or are you selling your house?  Also if you have some heirloom or precious things on display and they get broken or stolen, wouldn't you be upset?  So this is the year to not put all those things out. Keep it to a minimum.

Even our tree has a special spot and it blocks the view to the back yard. So if we were selling, I would not put my Nutcrackers on display, I would relocate the tree to a better spot (or maybe not have one), and I would limit the number of decorative things to a few. Poinsettias are fine. A wreath on the door or on a wall is OK. But the abundance of decor some of us put out for our normal Christmas tradition would have to be left in the boxes for where we move next.

It might seem hard, but you are selling a house, not a home. If it is really a non-concession for you and you insist on having all your stuff out - then have no showings for the week before and after Christmas until you can get your personal holiday decor put away.

Know this: People DO buy houses at Christmas. There are people relocating from around the country and this can be a time when serious buyers are looking for a house, and must make an offer.

If you HAVE to sell now - then make some adjustments so that you house can remain on the market and be viewed as a product that any buyer would want to purchase.

Enjoy your scaled-back holiday and know that next year when you are in your new home you can go all out!!

Staging Creativity and Transformation!

Check out the latest Staging transformation from Accredited Staging Professionals in the Wash DC area . . . wonderful work using what the Sellers had in their house - and the principles of Home Staging!