Last month, I got a phone call from a client, asking if I could come out and help her ready her home for sale. I did my usual perusal of the neighborhood as I drove in, took notes on the experience of walking up to the house, and rang the bell. The homeowner greeted me and led me inside and immediately I knew this was going to be a job I would love.
As an artist, I am very aware of things like the balance of a room, the weight of space, how objects take on light, etc... This home was not only visually balanced, but had a wonderful dappled light that added grace that most homes do not have. Furthermore, the use of color in each room and the art on the walls was very pleasing. The homeowner admitted that the art was hers; she too was an artist. Well, that made perfect sense.
I enjoyed walking the home. My task was to give her a different set of eyes, to tell her what to move or store away (the home had many photos of her beautiful children, but we needed to depersonalize much of it), move accessories, subtract things from the visual scene, and still allow her family to live in the home while selling.
When we walked downstairs, she explained that the lower level was still in limbo and not a space their young family was using very often. In my mind, it was a gold mine and needed to be completed before the home went on the market, most especially, the unused and stained lower porch that looked over the adjacent pond.
Although the homeowner's young family was not using this lower level, a larger family with older children most certainly would and the time and effort to finish it for that potential client was important. She and I talked about possibilities and later that night, she emailed me different ideas she was considering. She sent a floor stencil and, with her extensive background as an artist, I told her to go for it.
Some time later she wrote to say the downstairs had been finished and could I come by, prior to the house being photographed, to see the results and recommend any pre-photo changes. I walked the house again, making slight changes, recommending angles for the photo shoot, and was excited to see the completion of the lower level.
When she led me to the porch, I was ASTOUNDED. She had spent a week, hand stenciling the floor of the porch and had pulled the furniture together and accessorized it perfectly. A new and welcoming oasis was created and my jaw hit the (beautiful) floor.
What was an eyesore was now a stunning addition to the house. The house now sported two exterior porches overlooking the pond and both were equally lovely and gracious. With a lot of hard work and elbow grease, she created a visual space where potential homeowners would love to envision their own family.
Not every homeowner has the ability, nor time, nor interest to do such a project. But there are lessons in what happened. 1. She realized that even as an artist, she needed a second set of eyes to push her home to be photo-ready. 2. She understood that fixing what was not working with the house was worth the wait. She'll now make more money with fully-actualized space. 3. She knew that the hard work of readying every space to the best of her abilities would bring in more money for the sale.
Often, homeowners are reluctant to change things. They are attached to the objects in their homes, they don't want to move anything, or they don't see the reason to recreate the space just to sell it. Selling your home is likely one of the most expensive financial transactions you will ever make. The online presence of your home as well as the initial response from visitors is what sells.
This client was one of my favorites thus far. She said that her friends and family told her she was crazy to hire a home stager...the house was already perfect. And it was....perfect for living, but not quite perfect for selling. And she understood that...and we worked together..and what a perfect result she attained.
- Laurie Easterlin is a home stager and Masters prep specialist. If you would like to set up a free appointment for a home staging walk through, please contact her at Laurie.Easterlin@gmail.com or visit the website.