Home Staging “Tricks of the Trade” from Cathy Hobbs (Part 2 of 4)

, Baltimore Interior Decorating Examiner

Welcome to part two of my four part series featuring interviews with Cathy Hobbs. Cathy is one of the top experts in the country when it comes to real estate staging and preparing ones home for sale.  Always armed with her “stagers tool kit”, Cathy can display and showcase some of the basic tools any homeowner can purchase to prepare their home for sale.

Q1- If I was to look in your bag, what would I find?

You would find the basics, hammer, screw driver, picture hangers etc.  But you will also find a nifty handheld furniture lifter that allows me to lift furniture by myself as well as soft furniture movers. The furniture movers are really my secret tip! They allow me to move large pieces of furniture either by myself or with the help of a single assistant!

Q2-What 5 things do you think every stager should have?

  1. Picture hangers that leave virtually no holes in the walls
  2. Furniture lifter
  3. Furniture movers (soft disks that are placed under furniture legs)
  4. Eco-friendly cleaning supplies
  5. Clean air machine to remove cooking, pet, baby and tobacco smells

Q3-How do you stage a home when it is full of the homeowner’s sentimental objects and furniture?

I always remind home sellers that when they put their property on the market it is no longer their home it is a product on the market for sale and it will need to appeal to the largest amount of potential buyers.  In order to do this we will need to create a neutral palette, clearing away the clutter and removing the personal momentos.  I also remind home sellers that hopefully “they will be moving anyway” and so “why not pack early!”  There is nothing wrong with keeping personal and treasured items in the home when a home seller is living in the home and enjoying it for themselves, but at the moment it goes on the market for sale it becomes a marketed product and those personal items need to be packed away. Often large pieces or unattractive pieces are also removed from the home.

Q4-What was the most challenging staging job you have had so far?

Ah..yes! There was one staging where an apartment in Greenwich Village was an absolute disaster.  It was owned by a family who allowed their son to use the apartment while he lived in New York.  The son had two roommates.  Walls had been put up to create extra bedrooms and the apartment was beyond cluttered..it was a mess! The day we came to stage, there was still the apartment mascot a furry chinchilla in the apartment. Luckily it stayed in a closet the whole time!

Q5-What advice would you give people who want to sell their home?

A staged home has great appeal, enticing buyers inside, where they will see the best view of each room and the best traffic pattern throughout the home.  Further, a staged home is also in its best showcase, mint condition, so that it sells at the best possible price in the shortest possible time, an un-staged home does not.

Staging before placing the house on the market, even before the “broker tour,” is ideal because realtors, as much as potential buyers, want to be “wowed”, and will be! A staged house will stand out from the competition. Realtors will want to show it to their clients, increasing traffic to your listing and speeding its sale.

Thank you Cathy for your insights into home staging. You can learn more about staging by working with Cathy first-hand when she hosts her 3-day certification course in Columbia, MD. Space is limited so register today!

Please join me next Thursday when I share part 3 of my 4-part series with Cathy. The next topic:Ten Under Ten