Over the weekend a property came on the market that many of the neighbors have regarded as the local Addams Family house. While I know most of my neighbors, this seller was sort of a mystery man – a recluse. In over 30 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood and walked my dog, I’ve never seen anyone go in out out of the place, and he reportedly had an extended family of raccoons for housemates during our cold winters.
The Open House sign in the front yard of course lured me in. And oh my gosh! The sellers (or his family and his Realtor) had the house completely emptied out, scrubbed down, and staged. And I gotta say, this may have been the best staging job I’ve ever seen in my long career.
A careful look showed a potential palatial Tudor on a corner lot with great bones, but in need of a serious facelift – and then some. There was the ori.ginal (1930’s ish) heating system, no central air, probably original baths and plumbing, Edison-era electrical, and a whole lot of original casement windows. The kitchen had been renovated, probably sometime in the 1980’s, and it had a serious stove and a great layout, but someone redoing it today would do things very differently. But this staging job so was amazingly great that nobody seemed to notice any of the home’s shortcomings
Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of activity, within the first few days of the house being listed, there were two offers in hand and several more expected by tomorrow’s deadline for submitting contracts.
And what is causing all of the interest? My guess is that it’s the totally awesome staging job.
And this is where a cautionary tale might begin.
The whole purpose of staging is to help potential buyers imagine what the house would be like to live in. The second is perhaps to distract buyers from the flaws – and this place may have had a few, if not fatal flaws, at least flaws that will be extremely expensive to remedy.
And there are morals to this story. First, if you are selling, the added expense of a great staging job is well worth the money spent. Second, if you are buying a house, do not let fabulous furniture (which after all, will not convey) cloud your judgement.
Staging is often thought of as lipstick on a pig, but pig or person, lipstick can make one look a lot better.