Before I was a real estate agent or even knew what staging was I had a hand in trying to get a company started that wanted to compete in the collectible figurine business somewhere between Precious Moments and Tom Clark’s Gnomes. The business never really got off the ground but all of us involved in it had a lot of fun and learned a lot about all of the 4 Ps of the marketing mix.
We managed to get two of our lines “My Grandma’s the Greatest” (think of Cold Mountain as a comic book) and “Real Men” (this was when Promise Keepers was a big deal) carried by some of the rep groups. The problem that became evident very quickly was that this market is driven by sentimentality and our artist/sculptor was much more into cartoon or caricature. So we went looking for another artist to help us entend a line of licensed college mascots. We found local sculptor, Carl Regutti who has done numerous memorial bronzes including the Memorial to North Carolina’s Fallen Firefighters pictured above. Carl was really a better sculptor of animals I thought and his most famous work is Tristan, a full scale bronze of the first Kentucky Derby winner that is the centerpiece and only full sized equestrian sculpture at Churchill Downs.
Ironically, all of the stuff we were producing is the first thing you want to suggest a homeowner box up and store out of sight when you are staging a home. But one thing Carl taught me is very important to the discussion of staging. One day we were evaluating the painting of one of our prototype “mascots,” a ferocious looking wolf for the NC State Wolfpack. I thought it looked great. But without saying a word, Carl took out a small brush and a tiny jar of red paint and applied a thin line above the teeth of the eight inch high wolf. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe how that one detail could make such a difference.
All of us know that if you show enough homes you begin to get a sense of what’s going to sell quickly and what could sit in the market for a while, price notwithstanding. Most of us are also aware of the basics of staging, decluttering, de-personalizing, neutral paint, blah, blah, blah. But it is those little details that often create the “Wow” factor that only a real artist will know how to apply.
Stagers are the artists of the real estate business. In a competitive market where buyers are scarcer, the competent staging of a home in whatever price range can easily be the difference that gets a better price or wins the offer that might have gone to a similar listing around the corner.