There are at least two Old Worlds - this is not the one you want to emulate
While I loved the 21 Grove Lane restoration mentioned below, even if I didn’t like its price, I was totally turned off by its staging (the process whereby a “professional stager” loads up a house with fake photos, books and old furniture to suggest to dummies what a house could look like, were it furnished).
A wall of pictures of old “family ancestors” looked more like a scene from Godfather II’s return to Sicily than anything remotely resembling former owners of the house next door to George Herbert Walker Bush’s childhood home. A nursery with a picture of a young mommy and her child might have been endearing if the room next door didn’t boast another picture of another mommy with her child – what is this, a boarding house?
The child’s playroom, (neatly) littered with toys and lead ink used kids books – now banned by our thoughtful government – was creepy, not inviting. Did the children die of Scarlet fever? Small pox? Leprosy? Let’s ask Edgar Allan Poe. Or the kid’s bathroom, with pristine, never used bath toys arranged around it. Gheeechh.
The master bedroom, with its collection of sex toys, whips and electrical stimulus devices was the only interesting room in the house but [no, he's just kidding - ED]
It was all so phony, so off-putting that I almost missed the beauty of the house itself. And that’s a shame, because the house is incredible, while stagers charge a small fortune to screw up a house. I think the builder would have been better off leaving the house empty and using the saving to reduce his price.
Kitchen by Rosie's Staging
I’ve always been dubious about the merits of staging: the process where, for a fee, a third party comes in with her furniture and creates a stage set out of your house with the expectation that you’ll get a higher price that justifies her expense. Now, according to this article in Greenwich Time, sellers are balking at the extra cost, and the business is lagging. It’s always possible that the sellers are being short-sighted here and that staging really does pay dividends but I’ve never seen a study sponsored by anyone other than the National Stagers Association that proves it and my own experience speaks against it.
In my opinion, staging was a luxury paid for by listing agents from their own pocket in order to demonstrate to the seller that they were doing something, anything at all, while the house wouldn’t sell. It is usually performed by the second or third listing agent, which suggests that the first agent didn’t consider it worth doing. And, if a house is priced properly, it isn’t. In a down market, according to the Time’s story, neither the home owner nor the new listing agent is willing to pay for this service. Which suggests to me that it isn’t worth what it costs. Your opinion may differ.
Stagers insist that it is and here’s another success story. I remain skeptical; I’ve seen plenty of houses sell that were staged and plenty that were empty and I’ve never noticed a difference in the prices they fetched or the speed with which they sold. I do agree with stagers that clearing clutter from a house is always important and absolutely essential if the sellers are packrats, but putting antique tables in parlors and pictures of other people’s children on the walls doesn’t strike me as a worthwhile expense. Your call, naturally.
Tips on home staging: get rid of the junk. The tips in this article are useful for those who want to attempt the job themselves, as I think they should – I remain unconvinced that paying a home stager for her assistance is worth it, but if you really can’t bring yourself to take down that refrigerator art that Billy, now 46, created in kindergarten, then bring in a professional with a heart of ice.