Staging to Sell: A Case Study in Pictures


It’s no secret that I’m a real estate junkie that probably needs a 12-step program.  Even though I have no intention of moving (ever again), I still love looking.  Waste of time?  Perhaps, yes.  But, I could argue that golf is a waste of time too, right?  We all have our hobbies.

Anyway, in perusing the listings recently, I couldn’t help but notice the look and feel of homes that were “sale pending” vs. those that are still on the market.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what sells.  Yet, some people still don’t get it.

First, let’s start with what works.

Ahhhh, yes this works!  Such a simple, classic, elegant look, staged to perfection.  Don’t you love it?

It’s got an open concept floor plan, which appeals to the masses, but the way that it’s staged just says “Welcome Home” to me.  I’m guessing that’s why it’s “sale pending”.

What’s even better, is that it’s a tri-level home – definitely a 1970’s-1980’s style of home.  I grew up in a tri-level, and they’re great family homes, but many that are on the market are stuck in a time warp.  It’s great to see one that has been brought into the 21st century.

A lovely, open white kitchen.

And check out this cozy little den, complete with an inviting stone fireplace.  I could totally picture myself curling up on the couch with a book, in front of a roaring fire.

In the basement – they’ve even staged a little desk area, making great use of a corner space.

And let’s not forget the inviting backyard.  Perfect!

And then there’s the “don’t” portion of this study.  First, let me say that you don’t need to have a remodeled home or spend a fortune to get your house real estate ready.  But, apply some common sense, and put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer.  It’s really that simple.  I know it’s difficult, since you’re selling something with such personal ties, but try to be objective – or find a friend who doesn’t have an issue with speaking her mind.
I’m figuring that this seller is either 1) shut down to the idea of home staging, 2) has no friends that speak their minds, or 3) has a mute realtor.  Or maybe all of the above.  This is about the most overwhelming interior I’ve ever seen.  Imagine an unsuspecting buyer walking into this home! (although thanks to online listings, hopefully no buyer is that unsuspecting).  The wall spackling alone that would be required to get these walls into paint-ready shape is enough to scare away a potential buyer.  Gallery wall gone bad.

Is that a real parrot sitting on that white thingy hanging from the ceiling? 

The wall art continues in the kitchen, and migrates to the cabinets.

Notice the slight of hand used with the curtains in this room.  “Oh look, it’s French doors leading to a tropical retreat!  Aw shucks, it’s just curtains.”

And then I found this little gem in another listing.  Look at this newly remodeled kitchen!  Gorgeous, yes?

And it features a stone fireplace too.  With built-in double ovens.  Um, what?  So I suppose you market this home as a “Chef’s Delight, complete with three ovens.”  I can’t understand who would think this was a good idea.  Like, ever.

So there you have it – going from one extreme to the other in the land of real estate.  What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen while looking at houses?  I know Julia at Hooked on Houses has blogged about some doozies! 


  • Reply
    June 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Wow! While looking at the crazy house, I just kept thinking "This can't possibly be for real! This is a joke, right???"
    That's just terrible!

    • Reply
      June 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      I wish I could say it was a joke, but I assure you it's real. Just came on the market! I've never seen anything like it!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I also am a real estate stalker, and as we have our house on the market that moved it up a notch. I have seen a house on the market here that has two nude murals painted on the walls. Oh, that's really a house seller! LOL.

    • Reply
      June 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      Yikes! Apparently, the words "taste-specific" hold no meaning to those sellers. Although, if you're selling your house, places like this just make yours all the more appealing, right?

  • Reply
    June 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Let me start by saying I love your blog. I love your home and your style but I've noticed that since you've left the work force and become a "full time" blogger that a lot of your content has become very critical, rude and demeaning of others. I agree that sometimes the pics on Craigslist or what people are trying to sell leave a LOT to be desired as does the "Gallery wall gone bad" home in this post. However it is not becoming to down folks because they don't possess the same sense of style, cleanliness, photo taking abilities or amount of money as one such as yourself. There's no doubt the real estate agent here should have suggested that the home owners put most of their belongings in storage and perhaps done some nice staging before listing but whatever they do or don't do is not at your or my discretion to make fun of or criticize publicly. I agree they have put their dirty laundry out there for all the world to see but I believe it's just better to keep our opinions and criticisms to ourselves, especially in the blog world. Blogging should be a positive, fun and helpful forum. I used to read your blog everyday or whenever a new post was aired because I liked the diy projects, organizational projects and general loveliness of your home and attitude, but I have pretty much stopped reading Evolution of Style because it's just not stylish to down others. PS, in case you are wondering, the home at topic in this comment is not mine nor are any of the crazy craigslist items you've posted about. This is just my way of saying I'm not fond of your recent post material and I hope that changes so I can feel good about reading your blog. Have a great day!

    • Reply
      June 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks for your feedback Sheila. It was never my intention to be condescending or critical, but rather, sarcastic and funny, and I apologize if it came across otherwise. I'm nowhere near perfect, and I have aired my own dirty laundry (literally) on more than one occasion. The same holds true with the craigslist ads – I laughed at some of what I found on craigslist, and thought others would as well. Thanks again for your comments – I will take them to heart.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Shine Your Light
    June 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    That first home is staged so perfectly – no clutter or many personal items, and the furniture layout really makes the open floorplan cozy!! I know from getting my mom's house ready to sell, that it's hard to put away things you love and make your home feel homey, to try and sell your house – but it does make a big difference to perspective buyers!

  • Reply
    Deborah Buchanan
    March 2, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Excellent post I was checking always this blog and I'm intimidated! Extremely useful information particularly the last part I care for such information a lot.
    How to stop foreclosure

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.