Staging Is Not Just Icing on the Cake

533 13th Street, Manhattan Beach, CA

We've been thinking about staging more and more on occasion of our latest Edge listing in Manhattan Beach, at 533 13th (2br/2ba, 1194 sqft.).

With our clients, we made the decision to stage the house, and we're happy with the results. So, yeah, sure, we love showing that off. (As in the image above, from the living room, and a couple more images below.)

But not all houses get staged.

As you visit properties for sale, you're going to see homes presented in all kinds of conditions.

There's the old verité look: You come in and think, "people still live here, and barely tidied up before the open house."

And a close relative, the partially prepped house: A couple rooms look great, but the kitchen counters are covered, you can still see all the family photos on the walls and shelves, and they didn't even try to touch the kids' rooms.

Some houses go for the ghost-town look: Totally vacant, everything off the walls, some stains left behind on walls and carpets that get you wondering, subtly, "what happened here?"

And then there are the really prepped houses.

Blank Slates vs. Staged Homes

The blank slate house is one where you find fresh paint and maybe new carpeting or flooring, plus a solid cleaning job. You can just about imagine what the house might look like if it had you and your stuff in it. (Or can you?)

And then we get to staged homes.

533 13th Street, Manhattan Beach, CAStaging is a spectrum and an art. It's usually more necessary than not.

Some people think you can just present a blank slate house, and people will fill it in with their minds.

No disrespect, buyers... but mostly buyer's can't.

Sellers really need to know this. Even if you spit polish the house and make it easy to "imagine," mostly people can't imagine.

Large rooms look smaller when vacant.

Floorplans might not make obvious sense without furniture as a guide.

A sizable yard and patio space might not feel like much with nothing there.

Staging is filling the house with furniture and art not to mislead buyers, but to lead them.

It can be done by formula, or custom for each home.

533 13th Street, Manhattan Beach, CAThe goal is the same: help people see what it might be like to live in the house.

Help buyers maneuver through challenging spaces, or see the potential in out-of-the way areas.

No doubt you've painted the house neutral colors (a lot of white)... so put in some pops of color.

We're featuring a few photos from our 533 13th, but not because we're the only ones who have ever thought of this. We do particularly love the work of the stagers & designers with whom we collaborate often. We are always trying to deliver an unexpected look, with a purpose: To help people "see" the house.

At 533 13th, there was actually some debate before we agreed on staging. The 104-year-old house has extremely high land value, so did we really need to dress it up, if people weren't buying the house, per se?

But we went forward. Our goals were to get people to the front door, and to get them smiling at the house. If you've been, perhaps you'll agree that we've succeeded. What if someone falls in love with the house, and not just the location?

Late 2022 Staging Transformation by Edge (Video)

Late last year, as the market was getting especially challenging, Edge took over a listing that another agent had run for 3 months without selling.

In that instance, they had tried the blank slate house approach, with fresh paint, but no staging. (Should we count so-called "virtual staging?" Discuss.)

When we took over, we could see how the home's uncertain floorplan and blank look were losing buyers.

The sellers took our advice, we brought in a top stager, and made a video of our process and results, presented for you below. (Or at this link.) If you like those before-and-after shows, you'll see what we were going for...

The result? Despite the same home's history of not selling, we drew multiple offers and sold it over asking price.

In fact, we got the sellers $94K more than they had ever been offered under the prior listing.

And the staging didn't cost anything like $94K!

In that instance, and in many we have seen, staging was not "icing on the cake." It was essential to selling the house.

In today's market conditions, that's probably more true than it's been for a long time.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Listings presented above are supplied via the MLS and are brokered by a variety of agents and firms, not Dave Fratello or Edge Real Estate Agency, unless so stated with the listing. Images and links to properties above lead to a full MLS display of information, including home details, lot size, all photos, and listing broker and agent information and contact information.

Based on information from California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as of March 22nd, 2023 at 10:01am PDT. This information is for your personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties you may be interested in purchasing. Display of MLS data is usually deemed reliable but is NOT guaranteed accurate by the MLS. Buyers are responsible for verifying the accuracy of all information and should investigate the data themselves or retain appropriate professionals. Information from sources other than the Listing Agent may have been included in the MLS data. Unless otherwise specified in writing, Broker/Agent has not and will not verify any information obtained from other sources. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.