A Budget-Friendly Staging Uncovers Hidden Potential at 307 N. Waverly, says Karen Eubank

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Photos: Shoot2Sell/Thomas Byers

Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of our five-part series breaking down our free team staging of 307 N. Waverly. Read Part One and here.

Would you rather spend about $250 having a professional stager give you advice on how to prepare your home for sale or take a $10,000 (or more) price reduction? Seems like a huge no-brainer doesn’t it? Yet it happens constantly. So what is the problem?

It’s the lack of understanding about what staging is and what staging does.

Staging encompasses many service options, and the most overlooked — a consultation — is the most affordable. Armed with the information provided by a stager, any seller can put in a little elbow grease, borrow some items, and create a profound impact on the look of their home. They will also, most importantly, improve marketability and make more money.

That is the big takeaway from our CandysDirt.com team staging of 307 N. Waverly. The first price reduction on this home was $10,000. Professionally staging it was less than $2,500, or approximately 1 percent of the original list price. If the sellers had consulted with a stager, they could have done it for much less.

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Before: It’s important that the first impression makes an impact. Outdated furniture doesn’t create a look that resonates with buyers. The lack of curtains makes the room look bare and uninviting. Hardwood floors are something buyers look for and will refinish, but reduce the impact of that inevitable work with an eye-catching rug. Floor restoration products also go a long way to improve the look of tired floors.

 

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After: A few staging pieces make all the difference. A buyer will remember this house as place they can call home. CORT furniture rental costs: Sofa, $55.50; chair, $42; cocktail table, $18; end table, $18; rug -$37.50, sofa table, $21; lamps, $9 each. Rental costs, including art, were under $250 for this room.

Many Realtors opt for a clean sweep when faced with a challenging listing, but that’s not going to help a home sell. Empty, or near empty homes do not create a connection with a buyer. Let’s face it: Why do we buy a house? We fall in love. We already know we can afford it,  we want the neighborhood, and it’s the right size, so it’s about falling in love.

Therefore, the time to call a stager into the picture is before you empty the house. This particular home had a wonderful mid-century modern dining table and china cabinet, a fantastic hand-painted chest, and I uncovered a cool string art peace sign in the garage. It led me to wonder how many other great items had been packed up and stored away. If I’d come in before the packing process and guided it, there may not have been the need to bring in much, if any, furniture from an outside source. Renting furniture increases the cost of staging, but remember there are options. You can borrow from friends and family, or find great items in thrift shops. It’s not about how much you spend, it’s about getting professional staging advice at the beginning of the home sale process.

This house was not a challenge to stage. It was very straightforward, and that’s the heartbreak — the sellers could have done this on their own with a simple consultation.

 

 

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Joanna England and Karen Eubank discuss art selections for the living room. Besides furniture, CORT offers a vast selection of framed art and lamps.

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Joanna England, Candy Evans, Karen Eubank, and the CORT delivery team break down the items used in 307 N. Waverly. The total cost of furniture rental was just a fraction of the home’s initial price reduction.

Let’s break down the staging:

People make a decision to purchase in about 15 seconds, so you have to get them at “Hello.” The exterior of this Oak Cliff home was inherently lovely, Tudors always are, but with empty flower baskets and a worn doormat, the message being sent was not so much  “Hi, pick me! ” as “ Whatever, come in if you like.” This was a simple fix.

The owners had tons of gorgeous slag glass I used to fill up the bird bath creating a beautiful place for the sun to catch the colors. Leah Shafer filled the massive stone planters at the bottom of the steps with flowers and we placed them on top of the columns to provide a finishing touch. We moved the pots of succulents inside where they gave more visual impact in the kitchen, added a fresh doormat and voila! It now says, “Hello I’m gorgeous, come in and see me right now!”

Once in the front door, we had to work some magic. The only items remaining were an out-of-date sofa and a TV on a worn out media chest. CORT Furniture Rental to the rescue. A bold rug provided distraction from the worn floors. If we’d had time, we could have applied a coat of floor restoration product and made a vast impact. Art lifted the eye and those great curtains Suzanne Felber picked up were a bargain found at Ross for $7 a panel. We spent a total of $45 on curtains for the house. Joanna England and Leah deftly reconnected the TV after removing it from the worn chest. We  took the top of the china cabinet off to create a new hip media console. The fabulous dining table had a large scratch easily remedied with a table runner and plants.

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Suzanne Felber and Karen Eubank getting the hang right. Those are the Ross curtains for just $7  a panel.

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Before: Probably one of the finest mid-century modern dining sets I’ve ever seen. The piano was moved to a better position; remember that’s the wall you see from the front door. The top of the china cabinet was repurposed as a media cabinet in the living room. The chairs had to be retired as the upholstery was badly stained.

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Rental chairs were $9 each. Curtain panels were $7 each. We opted for a more expensive rug at $67, but CORT offers rugs as low as $15.

Joanna had the brilliant idea of using Candy’s needlepoint rug on the bed, as we needed king-sized bedding — absolute perfection. This is what  I mean by being resourceful. You may have an item used one way but think out of the box and repurpose it in another way to solve a problem.

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Be resourceful. A needlepoint rug can easily double as a bedspread.

The playroom was a favorite of everyone on the team. When I saw photos of the lime green walls, I knew we could just go with it. CORT had a fantastic rug, as well as a sofa that would make the room a real stand-out. The sellers had an adorable turquoise chest that just matched the rug and you can see the result is one a buyer will remember.

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Before: All a buyer will remember are floors in need of repair and refinishing, a bold wall color they cannot relate to and a mess of toys.

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After: A buyer remembers an adorable playroom now. Sometimes a bold wall color can work in a staging, and it works beautifully here. We added a colorful rug, a neutral sofa, some art, an end table and funky lamp. The sellers’ great hand-painted chest fit in beautifully with the color theme. CORT rental furniture: Rug, $54; sofa, $51; end table, $18; lamp, $9; artwork,$8. Yes, we hid toys in Candy’s dog’s toy basket. Thank you for the loaner, Bree.

The kitchen is another group favorite. We had to hide laundry necessities, as the washer and dryer are a part of the kitchen. Suzanne scored perfectly matched turquoise and white striped canvas totes and great curtains that brought the room together. I repurposed decorative items from front and backyards throughout the kitchen.

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Before: No one wants to see your cleaning tools, your laundry in the dryer or your magnet collection on the refrigerator. These are easy and inexpensive “fixes.”

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After: Concealing necessities is easy and inexpensive. These striped totes were less than $5 each. That string art peace sign was uncovered in the sellers’ garage.

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Before: The only thing a buyer remembers is a brightly painted kitchen with a washer and dryer showing. When buyers see clutter on countertops they think, “not enough storage.”

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After: Curtains created just the right finishing touch and a distraction to the washer and dryer being out in the open. It’s now a space that a buyer will remember as charming. The multi-color pottery in the window was repurposed from the sellers’ backyard.

Staging is not just for wealthy sellers and high-dollar homes.  It’s for everyone. It’s evident here that the difference in before and after photos is profound. We’ve taken a hard-to-sell house and created a charming bungalow any first-time buyer would seriously consider. Yes, the home has some issues, but in putting a better face on it, buyers see the potential more easily and are more apt to consider a purchase.

And we’re happy to report 307 N. Waverly is now under contract. Staging works.