Staging a house for sale is less about making it look nice, than it is about making it feel special. Maya Angelou once said “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” I think the same can be said when staging a house for sale.
You may have watched shows on HGTV, read articles in design magazines or discovered websites that tell you to “Stage your house in neutrals, strip the personal photos, make it look like a ‘model home.’” Well, how many people actually love beige? Probably zero. You won’t offend anyone with beige or tan, but you won’t ‘wow’ them either.
If you’re reading this right now, there’s chance you’re considering selling a house — probably in Los Angeles — now or in the near future. If your house is worth $1M or more, keep in mind that you’re also selling a lifestyle, especially in LA. When staging a house for sale, you want to help create the fantasy that your buyer(s) are looking for. You don’t need 100 people to like your property. Your goal should be to appeal to five or ten who LOOOOOOOVE IT.
(NOTE: All photos on this page are from a house David and I built on N Arden Blvd. Currently, we have a sale pending at the time of this post. We hired Meridith Baer to stage it.)
I speak from experience as a seller and a buyer — it has to make people feel something. Make them feel sexy, or happy, or zen. Take a minute and think about a room you loved. I bet it moved you in some way, it made you feel something special. Paint can be just a color, but when you combine it with special accessories and the smell of a moody scented candle, you will evoke an emotion. This emotion can create a passion for it.
I still remember a NYC apartment I visited. Sure, it had views and really nice furniture but it also broke some of the typical staging rules. And because of that, I still remember it and I’m writing about it today! If it’s done right, some ‘rules’ for staging a house are best broken.
When I walked into that apartment, there was a sexy-scented candle burning and a picture of the owners (husband and wife) — and they were beautiful. It was a candid from their wedding, she had flowers, tossing her head back (stunning pearl necklace), veil lightly caressing her cheek, eyes closed. He embraced her from behind, Armani tux, gold watch, handsome, caring, probably brings her breakfast in bed every day. Get the picture? They were happy and in love and — I wanted to be them (in a way). I don’t know if that picture was really of the owners, but it felt right, happy and good.
I had a similar experience when I entered the master bedroom. The walls were painted a dark sage green, accented with ivory white accessories — it was quiet yet sexy. There were no views, but it felt so pleasant, like I was in a sanctuary.
So, when staging a house for sale, take a look at the rooms in design magazines you like. The editors are showcasing more than just a physical structure and its wares. They’re trying to create an emotion you might want to emulate. Tell a story, let ‘em feel something.
Craig Spano is a Licensed California Real Estate Agent (BRE# 01971165) with Keller Williams. Learn more about Craig by reading his bio. Reach out to him via email or call him directly at 323-486-7786.