I’ve lived in Ashland for the past 15 years and have bought and sold over a dozen properties on both coasts. Early on, through selling my own homes, I discovered I had a talent for staging that created quick sales in a difficult market, at close to the asking price. I absolutely love home staging. When viewing a property, thoughts come to me —inspirations. The architecture of the home plays a role, but so does the light, playfulness of the space….the feeling of the house. I imagine who might choose this home and neighborhood, and appeal to what I imagine would appeal to them Selling and buying can be emotionally difficult. I make that process easier for the seller and possibly the realtor, by helping them with decisions about where to spend their money for the biggest bang.
What is real estate staging?
Some think staging a property for sale is about spatial, i. e., “Can my furniture fit in this room?”. Yes, that is important information, but for me it’s much more. It’s about exploring the potential of a property. Showing folks a house that is as fabulous as a house in a magazine and it’s house the buyer can presumably afford. They imagine they could live like this too. Some get staging confused with interior design. In staging, I create an ambience that draws the buyer in, intrigues, and allows the buyer to imagine themselves in the setting. Interior design is creating an exciting, practical and comfortable place in which to live.
Totally different — fantasy versus reality.
How do you decide how to stage a particular home?
I walk though the house and the house speaks to me – I’m a house whisperer. Obviously major things to consider are asking price, neighborhood, architecture of the home, prospective buyer, and of course, the seller’s budget.
There are many approaches to staging a house. One is what I care the “Fire Sale”… perfectly legitimate. You as the seller are giving the buyer an opportunity to buy a house at a discounted price. The buyer can then benefit by the improvements they are willing to do. So, that strategy is sell for less and do nothing.
Another approach is to capture more profit by optimizing the potential of the property yourself. Often a house on the market is occupied. In that case, I work with the seller in decluttering and removal of extraneous furniture, and perhaps some personal items. I make suggestions on what one might do to make their home more appealing to a buyer. What improvements will make a noticeable difference — perhaps paint, a lighting fixture, or faucets. And I guide the seller away wasting time and money on improvements that won’t be noticed. I have lists of costs for minor improvements and a wonderful crew
to help with that. To use us most efficiently, we’re called in to evaluate the property before the seller does any improvements at all.
Vacant houses are a lot of fun. The items I use in staging are unique pieces of furniture and accessories from many different countries and periods of history. I tend to mix antiques and contemporary items because they often work so well together. I love working in yummy, muted colors as well as bright patterns, whimsical colors. I guess you could call my style eclectic as well as versatile.
Houses should be appealing on the outside or buyers will be reluctant to take the time to come in. Sometimes that can merely be painting the front door and maybe an accent color on the shutters. We want the entry to be irresistible. Buyers are looking at dozens of properties and all those homes can often become a blur. A beautifully staged home is memorable and can become the standard by which other properties are compared.
Who are you?
I’m a New Yorker who has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years. I actually commute and work there still. I moved to Ashland 15 years ago and fell in love. Since arriving here I’ve bought and sold homes on both coasts, as well as in Ashland. I love to cook and recently got into to canning exotic chutneys. I paint furniture and upholster furniture in unusual fabrics. I love to toiles! I’ll be holding a workshop later this year in the art of painting furniture in the method of European Chalk Paint.
I love listening to mysteries while on my commute, walks through the park, watching classic mysteries of the 40s and 50s on TV, and love Masterpiece Mysteries on PBS.
What does staging a home cost and how can you be reached?
Staging a home runs between $500 and $1000 – it’s an investment that returns it’s cost many times over. Statistically, staged homes sell 2-3 times faster and for 7% more than unstaged homes.
My consulting fee is $25 per hour and I will also shop for or with people for an hourly rate. Reaching me by phone is best , 541-944-4497. I also have a website www.bobbiesariastaging.com. But the best way to reach me is to just call – I’m happy to give people who are selling a home a short, free consultation.