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!”


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