I would love to say that each and every staging job goes completely smoothly. Unfortunately, especially when you are super busy, like we are, a stager can have an ‘off’ day. Last week that happened on our team. Fortunately, because of our systematized approach to staging, we were able to catch it and correct it BEFORE the customer noticed.
The difference between average staging and Rave’s staging
Most staging companies either work with rental pieces or they have limited availability to inventory. Rave has a 10,000 sqft warehouse and approximately $1 million in retail assets. On average we have between 50-60 vacant homes staged at any time. What is available is constantly rotating and we buy more assets every month. This means that the stagers on our team always have access to amazing pieces for any price point of home.
Last week, when this home, in the high $700’s was staged, we were swamped. Perhaps we had taken one too many jobs that week and our stagers were exhausted. Fortunately, that never keeps us from putting out the best product possible, because each and every job is audited for quality control. When something isn’t quite right we always know about it and are able to correct it, usually before the customer even knows.
Since, on this occasions, our on-staff photographer beat us to the QC, we have photos of the changes. For our many staging colleagues, some of which find me a little tough on critiques, they may be comforted that I’m just as hard on my staff as I am on any of them – probably much harder actually. In my view of business, we are only as good as our last job.
When I saw the original photo I was a little taken a-back. I just didn’t feel like this met the standards of my company. The stager is an amazing stager and constantly does beautiful work. I could tell some of the reasons for things that didn’t feel right. The tray ceiling should dictate the direction of the table. When placed that way, as in the first photo, the room was too open. Things felt crammed to one side.
The room is HUGE. It needs to show as expansive as it is and needed 1) a rug and 2) to have the table turned the other way, allowing for more large furniture pieces to balance the space.
As you can see, the changes really make the room feel larger, not smaller, showing off how much room there is for entertaining or holiday dinners with the family.
Always consider who will be buying the house when staging.
I had a nice long conversation about some of the choices that were made in the home. Some things were simple. The movers forgot to bring her stack of rugs, so she tried to make-do. The biggest thing that went wrong is that, in this case, the stager forgot about demographic staging and tried to go “neutral”. Appealing to a broad audience is what many Realtors and home stagers will advise is the goal of our service. The truth is that it is really to appeal to the RIGHT buyer – the one who is most likely to purchase the home.
Rather than going with a transitional look, one that may be more broadly appealing, this home should have been staged much more traditionally. Based on the community, the features and appointments of the home, and the price point, the buyers demographic is much more likely to be someone with more traditional tastes.
In the case of re-staging this room, we also brought in additional seating and a larger rug. By showcasing the room with more furniture, again, in a house like this, more is better. When there is too little furniture in a room, the room feels far too small.
Pre-existing angles require more angles
We’ve all seen the bad staging work where everything in the house is at an angle, including the dining room table. It looks crazy. The general rule of staging is that straight placement is preferred by almost everyone. While we want to think outside the box sometimes in decorating, staging isn’t about decorating. It’s about marketing. That means making people comfortable when you want them to buy something.
When a home comes with pre-existing angles, straight placement can create awkward spaces, however. In this case, if a rug had been added, based on this placement of furniture, it would have awkwardly fit. By working with the pre-existing angles, instead of trying to fight them, we are able to get a much more comfortable layout.
What is this space going to be used for?
The final room I’m going to highlight in our up-ended Quality Control upgrade, is what we are calling the Control Room. This large, executive home, had a bonus space converted with multiple desks, built-in filing cabinets and work stations. While the purpose of this room seems pretty obvious, not everyone needs such a powerful work-zone. Some families may want to use this for relaxing, or ‘kicking the kids’ to.
Sometimes you really do need to add that “WOW FACTOR”! In this case, we added some additional seating, which added both color and function. Now this large bonus space isn’t just for homework. It’s also for family time, a hang-out space for teenagers, or even TV viewing.
I debated about writing this blog because re-stages aren’t our best moments. It means that we fell short of our high expectations. Based on what the Realtor had to say about us calling this to their attention before they brought it to ours, inspired me to step outside and say, “Hey, we are human. We make mistakes. We also own up to them and fix the problems immediately! We don’t wait and hope no one will notice.”
“Thank you Melissa. You know the capabilities of your company & we appreciate the sense of value that you have in your business. In our opinion the home certainly looked better after it was done, but we don’t have much to compare to.
Again…. thank you for your honesty. It is reflective in your quality of work.” Rene Zook, Keller Williams Atlantic Partners Southside