Staging FAQs: Why Stage An Estate Sale Property?

Welcome back to FAQs, the series where the specialty is snappy answers to your most burning questions on Decorating, and Home Staging.                        

SO-why bother Staging an Estate Sale Property?

Everyone wants their property to sell quickly, easily, and for the best price. However, properties being sold to settle an estate have the added complication of heirs, an executor, and often little desire, ability or resources to do much beyond the most rudimentary clean-out.  The hard truth is an “as-is” mentality is at odds with the above expectations.

But before you get all knotted up, let’s define the word ‘Staging’.  Forget what you’ve seen on TV, how does this sound:

Home Staging is whatever you can do to improve the market position of a property, while easing the minds of those involved. 

Home Staging is a unique and thoughtful strategy to prepare a property for market. It considers the goals, needs and expectations of the sellers, maximizes all resources and prioritizes the tasks to best support the pricing objectives. Staging is discovering, and doing the best you can do.

Listing photos are what get people to a house, and two things happen with bad listing photos: They are ignored, or they ring the dinner bell, inviting lowball offers from marginally interested buyers.

I can usually tell estate sale properties from their photos. Colors and decor is often dated;  furnishings are sparse, often small, odd or mis-matched pieces that none of the heirs want.  Wallpaper, complicated draperies, and wall to wall carpet abounds. here is rarely any lighting in the room…except for “the” lamp,  by “the” chair.

When it’s not apparent from the photos, buyers can tell when they’re there, in the space. The space is flat, and without any energy…perhaps maintenance has been deferred. The landscaping is brown-or overgrown, wall art may have been removed, leaving just nails. Often there is an stale odor, and there is almost always an outdated calendar in the kitchen, displaying a month-even year-long gone.

This sounds horrible, maudlin, I know. But I went through this myself, long before I created The Refreshed Home.  My brothers and I lost our parents at an early age; I cleared out and got our family home sold while in my 20s, then a number of other family members’ homes since.  I understand the  goals, and issues on both sides.

Just like most projects, the visual solution comes easily; finding what works for the heirs, and executor is rarely as clear-cut. Often I have to deliver unpleasant news-the expectation of selling quickly, for the best prices still conflicts with the realities of today’s market, and the “as is” mindset of most heirs and executors, and they often need to make decisions.

My approach in interactive consults is always to talk it out, my counsel is always “Do the best you can”.  Fresh, clean and clear trumps ‘stuff’  every day. In order of importance, here’s  how to improve the position of an estate sale property (click here for details)

  • Clear out
  • Remove wallpaper and draperies/paint
  • Remove wall to wall
  • Refinish/update floors
  • Small cosmetic updates
  • Small repairs