Decorating Homes To Sellfrom Scripps Howard News Service
As the real-estate industry has become increasingly sophisticated, the business of spiffing up homes for sale has become its own occupation.
According to published reports, people in several areas of the country have gone into the business of "staging" homes, arranging them artfully for maximal visual and emotional appeal to buyers. Staging as a business is new enough that such operations often do not know of one another, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Betty Welch Williams began staging as part of her work to sell houses she had listed as president of R. Sutton Realtors in Minneapolis, where some owners were vacating unsold houses.
"It developed by accident," she said, while having difficulty selling homes for owners who "had followed literally what I'd asked them to do, but not necessarily the spirit of it."
"I said, 'Give me a month and a little budget,' and I transformed the house and sold it for quite a bit more than we'd listed it for."
Williams realized she could envision houses in ways others might not-- the same gift of decorators or interior designers that homeowners hire to improve their current surroundings. But staging is done for people on their way out to make houses inviting to those on their way in.
Williams stages houses she lists at no extra charge, but she also will complete outside jobs at prices from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on sizes of projects. Usually, she works with clients' furnishings, but if necessary, she'll use something from her collection or rent furniture.
Candace Lano of Shakopee, Minnesota, got into the business of staging unintentionally, thinking "it would be flexible and part time and low key." But instead, she was surprised.
After three years in business, her Home Stage Advantage works for real-estate agents, builders and individual sellers. She will work with owners' furnishings or hers. Lano's stock is both new and used and bought at warehouse sales, auctions and estate sales.
"I have invested in a huge inventory," she said. "I own upholstered pieces, sofas, chairs, dining-room sets, kitchen sets, bedroom sets, pictures, plants, rugs, linens, accessories, kitchen dishes, towels--you name it, I've got it. I can set a house up to look like it's lived in."
Lano gets most of her individual-home business through real-estate agents and her fees depend on such factors as how many rooms are to be done and how much of the contents must be hers.
"I can do something for as little as $100 to $200 up to filling up model homes for $5,000 to $6,000," she said.
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Scotch Plains, New Jersey Specializing in Staging and Redesign