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Linda Shepherd of Buyers Desire Home Staging

Talking real estate turnover with Linda Shepherd of Buyers Desire Home Staging.

Standing out among the rest is vital when it comes to selling a home. With the ease of online market research comes the need to give buyers a reason to investigate a property in person. By creating visual appeal, Linda Shepherd allows prospective buyers to see a home’s potential. Her neutral settings lure the broadest pool of buyers and help increase chances that a home will sell.

What do you keep in mind when staging a home? We conduct an assessment of the buyer demographic for the home by analyzing factors of the town, such as school systems and median income. We stage with the target buyer in mind by setting up “emotional connection points” that will subconsciously grab buyers’ attention and tell them that this is the perfect home. The architecture also inspires our choices. We’ve seen traditional homes decorated in all modern furniture. This creates a disjointed feeling that turns potential buyers off.  We also take the homeowners’ current belongings into consideration. Staging shouldn’t be expensive; using lots of what the homeowner already has and mixing in fresh florals, bright pillows, and interesting accessories may be all the home needs.

What do homeowners need to address before you arrive to stage? Most commonly, the problem is the paint color.  Bold paint colors scare potential buyers off.  We once recommended that a seller tone down bright blue walls to more neutral colors.  She chose not to paint because it was “too much work.” However, potential buyers will also be thinking it will be “too much work” and they’ll move on to the next house. Potential buyers should never see anything broken or needing repair. Removal of personal photos, lighting, cleanliness, evidence of pets, and even smells. These can be delicate subjects to discuss, but we talk to the homeowners compassionately. They’ve hired us, and they want our honest opinion.

What concerns do clients often have when considering staging? Some question whether staging really works. A seller once told us that she didn’t believe it would make a difference.  The realtor was adamant that the homeowner stage, so she did.  She received five offers at her first open house, four above asking price. Homeowners are also concerned that they will spend the money to stage and the house won’t sell. While we cannot guarantee the home will sell, last year’s statistics from Real Estate Staging Association showed that staged homes sold 73 percent faster than homes that hadn’t been staged.

What’s in your collection of props? Any “lucky” pieces that help make a sale? We do have one lucky piece of art that seems to work well in any house. It’s an abstract series of squares in rust, blue, and gray tones. Most of what we have in our inventory are florals, pillows, and art. The art is rather neutral subject matter. Done properly, artificial plants and flowers can look just as good as, if not better than, live ones and will stay beautiful throughout the buying process. It’s easy to make an outdated couch look new by adding bright pillows and a throw in a contrasting color. We also have a lot of accessories for bookcases, built-ins, and coffee tables. Our goal is for the home to look like a magazine picture.