December 1, 2015

Do You Need a Staging Inventory?


Do You Need a Staging Inventory?

Some stagers rely on an inventory of furniture and accessories to enhance properties. Learn more about staging inventories, and whether you need one.

So where do stagers get all that furniture and those accessories to fill the homes they stage? There are three main places that stagers pull from: Some stagers just rely on decluttering and rearranging what home owners already have. Others may use a rental company to bring new items in. And some stagers keep their own inventory of furnishings and accessories to turn to for whenever they need it.

“The goal is to get buyers to look at the room, not the furniture,” says stager Sharon Brown with Homescapes by Design in Roseville, Minn. “The furniture is just for enhancing the space.”

Oftentimes just using what a home owner already has is good enough, and stagers can rearrange the furniture to highlight the home’s architectural details (such as making sure the living room sofas are highlighting the fireplace, not blocking it) or do a massive declutter and neutralizing job of the home to welcome more buyers in. But when a home is vacant or a home owner’s items may be less than stellar, bringing in new items may be necessary in helping the home show better.

Rent vs. Own?

There’s some debate in the staging industry whether it makes more sense to have your own inventory or just rely on a rental company to pull from items whenever you need it.

Having your own inventory can be a costly undertaking. Once you collect enough pieces, you may need a warehouse for storage. Expect costs for not only storage but also for moving the items from listing to listing, cleaning, delivery, and insurance. Also, you need to have a system for keeping track of your inventory so you know which items are where and for how long. (Brown uses a booklet that has a photograph and description of each piece in her staging inventory.)

For those who opt to rent, they have the benefit of not having to store the items, and the rental companies will deliver the pieces to the home. But rental companies can be costly, and there may be a more limited selection than owning your own inventory.

For some stagers, it’s a mixture of the two that proves the best option: They may have their own inventory of accessories to dress up a home — such as throw pillows, vases, and artwork — but they may rent the big pieces, like furniture, for bigger staging jobs.

What Should You Have in Your Inventory?

Brown says for her staging inventory she tries to avoid overly trendy items in her furnishings or anything seasonal, trying to stay neutral so the home appeals to the widest segment of buyers. Besides furniture basics, she keeps in her inventory fluffy spa-like towels, area rugs, artwork, decorative lamps, bedding, mirrors (which she says can be great for making rooms look larger and adding drama), and throw pillows for adding pops of color to furniture. She has collected her inventory over the years and is always scanning consignment stores and decorating stores for items to add to her stash.

Stager Susan Tokarz-Krauss, principal broker and owner of Real Estate Designed to Sell in Grants Pass, Ore., says that for her staging inventory she has a variety of window treatments, lighting, dining sets, neutral furnishings, and an assortment of pillows and centerpieces.

Stager Jessica Dolan with Room to Breathe Home Organizing & Staging says she considers the following must-haves for any inventory for home staging:

▪ A large, black-framed mirror:A handy accessory for foyers, over fireplaces, and in living rooms.

▪ Decorative lamps: Used to spice up a table; also, a floor lamp or two can be good to use in staging.

▪ Vases: A tall vase filled with natural twigs can fill up an empty corner.

▪ Welcome mats.

▪ Fabric shower curtains: They can look more upscale than a plain plastic shower curtain.

▪ Fluffy towels:Have several different colored towels that are clean and fluffy. “Tired old towels never show well,” Dolan says.

▪ Colorful artwork: Dolan uses a local artist to decorate her listings. The artist will feature local places and hotspots so buyers can relate.

▪ Candlesticks:Have a variety so you can add simple decor accents to tables, mantels, soaking tubs, and master bedrooms.