Cynthia's Blog

February 8, 2013

Cynthia’s Blog

Cynthia's Blog >

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.

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:


(read more…)

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:

(read more…)

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."

(read more…)

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.

(read more…)