Staged to Sell

Staging is just what the word implies—a staged set for a particular audience to enjoy or appreciate. In the real estate market, staging has become the norm rather than the exception—which correlates with the demand for real estate and often, the median price of properties on the Hawaiian market. Indeed, Hawai’i has one of the most expensive homes in the world! One need only take a cursory look at properties featured via Internet Marketing to see this continuing and growing trend.

Staging affects the “Four P’s of real estate”: Product, Promotion, Price, and Place.

A home is just about the most expensive product that is sold to the average consumer. In fact, a home is one of the most expensive products that a seller or agent can represent. Staging and advertising and listings on MLS are all part of promoting the property, or marketing the property for sale. Agents and owners who wish to market their property/listing on the cutting edge of real estate marketing may hire a professional Stager as a value-added service for their clients, which is part of their marketing and promotion. Professional staging can often affect price, as the buyer and seller begin to negotiate upward (i.e., when inventory is limited and more than one buyer is vying for the same property). And finally, professional staging can positively affect the place (location) by affecting the perceived value of the neighborhood or building, particularly if everything in the home shows well and is in excellent condition and in good working order.

Here are some recent stats* as to the efficacy of professional staging:

  • 96% of buyer’s agents say that staging has an effect on some buyers’ view of the home
  • 81% of buyers say that staging helps them visualize the property as a future home
  • 53% of seller’s agents say that staging decreases the amount of time on the market for sale
  • 44% of buyers’ agents say that staging a property increases the dollar value offered.

When it comes to showing a luxury property for sale, the stakes are high and savvy owners/sellers and listing agents know that one of the tools for real estate marketing is professional staging. Professional staging can be thought of as the highest form of visual real estate marketing. A vacant home—whether priced at $500K or over a million dollars—needs an audience (buyers) who can visualize themselves living in and enjoying the space. Add some beautiful furnishings, artwork, plants, and set the dining table and dress the bed— and you have a lifestyle created in the minds of the buyers as they walk through the home and appreciate the features of the property. Visualizing the place as their own is what professional staging allows in the minds of potential buyers.

The lines between staging (temporary interior decorating) and interior design (enjoying the space with more permanent interior design because you live in it) has become blurred. Take for example the before and after living room photos of a property listed at $948K. The living areas featured a wraparound lanai from which stunning views of the ocean can be seen and enjoyed—from sunrise to sunset.

The before photo shows the owner’s existing furniture—heavy fabric in the Tommy Bahama style of the early 80s; there were no table lamps and the end tables and coffee table were mismatched. The area rug was worn and soiled from pets and there were no strong focal points to draw your eye to any particular features. Enters Aloha Staged Interiors LLC, out goes the existing furniture and in comes a contemporary, white modular living room group with glass end tables and a coffee table. Accent colors in blue hues complement the blue ocean view and a contemporary area rug in blue is added as well. The glass lamps are a design element in themselves because their swirly glass pattern is reminiscent of famous Italian Murano Glass. Original artwork by plein air (plein air is a French term for ‘in the natural light’) Artist Mark Brown establish strong focal points on the main wall space, drawing your eye from the ocean views to the interior space within. Artwork also highlights the open beam ceiling—a feature that is sought after and coveted because it adds depth and dimension to the space—making the interior appear larger, more open and spacious. The after photo shows attention to detail as live tropical plants appropriate for the space arrives on the scene, creating a tropical ambience that Hawai’i is known for.

In another before photo, there is little imagination to the space when you walk through the front door and see a white refrigerator as a focal point and a mis-matched dining room set covered by a plastic and dusty tablecloth.

The after photo is a picture worth a thousand words. A new dinette is brought back in, an elegant room divider and tropical plants define the kitchen & dining area from the living area in a practical way that is pleasing to the eye. Artwork and accent pillows in similar complementary colors from the painting draw your eye to an inviting and comfortable living room vignette, beckoning you to stay a while and enjoy the space.

“I’m always amazed at the transformation with the Before and After,” said Laura Benson, a constituent of Aloha Staged Homes LLC.

Aloha Staged Interiors can offer a few scenarios for professional staging and will work with the Seller’s/Agent’s budget; but when it comes to the luxury property market, there’s little difference in the budget for selecting furnishings for staging vs. interior design. The objective in professional staging is to turn (an interior space) from ordinary to extraordinary.

Call me today at (808) 347-3883 for more information on Aloha Staged Interiors LLC and a free initial consultation.

*Source: National Association of Realtors 2019

About the Author

Charene Davis comes from four generations of family residing in Hawaii; her grandparents were prominent business leaders in the floral industry here on Oahu. Upon obtaining degrees in interior design and Journalism, Charene relocated here from CA to settle with her family. She has one son, Wyland, who is practicing Chiropractic in the Holistic realm of health care.

Charene launched her own professional staging and interior design company in 2004 and has been assisting realtors, sellers and homeowners for the past 15 years—when it comes to preparing properties for sale and interior design. Professional staging is the highest form of visual real estate marketing. The value-added service of professional staging Charene lends to properties for sale is as important as pricing and location. Pricing and presentation work together to highlight the true value of a property, wherever it is located.

The keys to unlocking the highest potential for a property, whether working with buyers or sellers, are within the meaningful relationships established and nurtured during the process.