Cynthia's Blog

October 5, 2012

Staging with Rented Furniture for Vacant Homes

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Should a Vacant Home Always be Staged with Furniture?

A while back a local television station contacted me for a piece they were doing to coincide with the long-awaited opening of an IKEA store. I gave them a good sound bite that resulted in zero new jobs but caused folks at church that next Sunday to say they’d seen me on the news…another example of how “shotgun P.R.” doesn’t result in new business, but I digress.








When I was asked about using IKEA furniture for vacant homes I had to answer honestly, that the best candidate for rented furniture is a higher-end home, and IKEA’s inventory is more for the first-time home buyer price range.

Furnishings can help support the price of a home when everything is of a current style and color, and when good design is involved. I am fond of saying that when you go to a 4-star restaurant that LOOKS like a 4-star restaurant, you expect to pay $30 for the steak; the same steak at McDonald’s, not so much. That’s because the opposite is also true: a $600,000 home with hand-me-down furniture featuring a futon in the family room isn’t going to elevate the home’s vibe. It would be better for this home to show empty than for it to contain the wrong furniture.

There may be home stagers who offer furniture for vacant homes, but you should ask to see photos before you commit. You may be getting a bamboo love seat with matching side chairs for your hearth room, and it isn’t going to have the effect you want: to make your home feel expensive.

Sometimes sellers move out and stage the home using furniture they no longer want, such as the mauve and teal sofa with matching teal wingback chairs from the formal living room that was never sat in during the 25 years of owning the home. The effect will backfire, making buyers feel that the home itself is dated. Again, it would be better for this home to show empty than for it to contain furniture that is sending the wrong message.

I personally rent the furniture that I need for vacant homes, which is far less expensive to sellers because my rental facility has the process down to a very affordable science. Me? I’d have to rent a storage facility, hire movers, get a truck, deal with all kinds of coverage and taxes that would be passed along to the seller and ultimately make it cost-prohibitive… only to sell the items when they, too, went the way of mauve and, more recently, “Tuscan-style.” A service that is unaffordable isn’t really a service!

Other creative ideas for furnishing a vacant home are available, too, so feel free to contact me when you need assistance turning your vacant home into a “4-star listing!”


HomeStaging by Cynthia, Inc.  © copyright (2004-2012). All rights reserved. For reprinting information please contact Cynthia Black directly.

September 25, 2012

House Flippers: Sell Your Home to Women, First!

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

There’s a saying: “Women Buy Houses; Men Buy Basements & Garages.”


Plainly speaking, if the house doesn’t blow HER skirt up, it ain’t gettin’ bought! Sure, there may be a couple of women who don’t need to have a say in what their home looks like, but I’ve not met them. So, Mr. or Ms. House Flipper, here’s how to help her say “YES!” to the house:


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October 28, 2011

Mistakes Made When Selling a Home

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Pet Peeves of a Home Stager

(or: Things that Make Me Go "Aaarghhh!")

I'll admit that I've never owned a Peeve so I don't know what they're like as Pets, but I DO know what drives me nuts as a Home Stager:

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October 24, 2011

Working with a Home Stager

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

How to Tell a Home Stager, "No!"

…signed, The Gorilla House


Someone posted this question on a buyer/seller bulletin board and at first it made me laugh.  Then it became a little disconcerting that someone needed help to say "No" to a stranger in their home, home stager or otherwise.  That's because the first thing I tell a seller who has allowed me into her home to work my magic is, "I don't want to offend you in any way.  My only goal is for your home to sell quickly and for you to get as much money for it as possible, preferably without spending a dime."

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October 19, 2011

Paint Colors for Home Staging

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Date House or Dated Paint Colors?

Remember when the turquoise-and-mauve color combination was in style? It was about the same time when people were decorating with plastic cacti and coyotes, and heavy stone lamp bases. Dated decor often creates an impression that the house itself is dated, and a dated house makes buyers think that it'll cost them more in time and money to update it. "Perception Is Reality" after all.

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October 14, 2011

Photographs of Staged Homes

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Lights! Camera! Action! Set the Stage for Better Photos

If your Internet photos are missing, few, or bad, don't count on many showings of your home. Buyers will just click to the next home. Rule of thumb: the first three photos should show the BEST aspects of your home, even if that means the photos are "out of order." Often, the photos begin with the exterior front, followed by a walk-through of the home, ending with the exterior back. However, if you just spent big bucks on an outdoor kitchen and pool (and your competition is lucky to have a newly-stained deck), a wide shot of your back yard should be one of the first three photos that buyers will see!

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January 22, 2011

Create Beautiful Display Areas

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Five Do's and Don'ts for Accessorizing Surfaces

I believe that there is a Universal Law of Surfaces: If you have a surface it WILL get covered! The trick is to cover it in a way that looks good and makes us feel good when we see it. Here are some tricks for five areas that I regularly "tweak" when staging.

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January 17, 2011

Home Staging Services

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

How to Choose the Right Home Stager

One of my Realtor® clients said to me recently, "I can always tell when I'm touring a home that you've staged. It's like recognizing an artist's paintings." I beamed, of course, but the reality is, Yes, I tend to arrange furnishings in a specific way, but style isn't the only way to distinguish one Stager from another.

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January 11, 2011

Home Seller Listing Flyers for Marketing

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Where to Place the Marketing Flyers Inside the Listing?

I probably shouldn't care about this, but I do. Staging is often about controlling the buyers' experience when touring a home. For example, I prefer that the bedroom closet doors be shut. I want buyers to enter the room, turn the doorknob and see the closet up-close, rather than pass over it with their eyes from the room's entry, seeing hangers and shoes and multi-color clothing.

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January 3, 2011

When Sellers Are Smokers

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

 Feedback: "Buyers were turned off by the smell of stale cigarette smoke."

 We're the land of the free and home of the brave, so we should be able to smoke in our own homes, right? Correct, until you decide to sell your home. When that happens it's no longer your "home" but a very expensive product that you're trying to sell.

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December 21, 2010

Five Home Buying Must-Haves

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Do you REALLY want it?  Really?

(1) Jetted Tub: Most sellers I work with say they HAD TO HAVE the large jetted tub when they bought the home, but after years of living with it they can count on one hand the number of times it's been used. It's dusted more often than scrubbed. Better to have a bigger, tricked-out walk-in closet!

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October 29, 2010

Internet Photos: Good? Bad? Too Many? Too Few?

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Because I often shoot photos for Realtors® after staging their listings, I polled recent home buyers:

(1) Did you tour homes with NO or very FEW Internet photos?

(2) Do you prefer photos or virtual tours?

(3) Close-ups: useful or annoying?"

The answers have been grouped and edited for brevity and redundancy (don’t miss the Additional Comments at the end!):

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June 22, 2009

Should You Rent Furniture for Your Vacant Listing?

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

To Furnish or NOT to Furnish a Vacant Home with Rented Furniture?


While it is true that vacant homes appear cold and unremarkable while their furnished competitors appear warm and inviting, it is also true that not all vacant listings are created equally.  If you are a seller considering rented furniture to stage your home to sell, you should know that not all vacant homes are good candidates for rented furniture:


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January 9, 2009

Home Selling Do’s and Don’ts

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Sell Quicker in Any Type of Market

Did you know that the best chance of getting an offer closest to your asking price occurs within the critical first two weeks of when your home hits the market? 

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Home Staging vs. Interior Decorating

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

What’s the difference between Home Staging and Interior Decorating?

One of the most common statements that I hear at a Home Staging appointment is: "I wish I’d known about you five years ago!"  Sadly, many sellers finish their Wish-List then barely get to enjoy their home that now looks the best it's ever looked. The next question I hear is, "Do you do this for people who aren't moving?" Of course I do! My approach is different, though, because the goals are different.

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June 14, 2008

Home Buyers Respond: Selling with Pets

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Are You Selling Your Home and You Have Pets?

I staged a seller’s home who mentioned that she interviewed an agent who insisted that the low-key sweetheart-of-a-dog be permanently removed from the home until the clean and neutral-smelling home sold. It prompted me to poll Buyers with the following:


"Buyers, assuming that a listing is clean and smells neutral, how do you feel about seeing pets when you tour the home?  Would they affect your decision to buy? Would it make a difference if you knew that allergens neutralize roughly 30 days after the pet is removed?"


The many responses have been edited for brevity and redundancy, and categorized as "I love animals…" "I have allergies…" "Only under these conditions…" and "Regarding dogs…" My favorite comment is the last one.  Enjoy!

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