Staging is a concept that started on the West Coast, and was virtually unknown when Guest and Kramer started introducing it to real estate brokers 12 years ago.
“The advantage is huge,” says Guest. “People walk in to these McMansions. There are so many rooms they don’t know which one is used for what. Is this the family room? Parlor? Great room? We define it. It lets them see that they could live there.”
“We would try to explain to the real estate brokers,” says Kramer, “giving them figures and excerpts from articles in San Francisco and London. It was a difficult idea to sell to a seller.”…
But since then, times have changed. From the real estate boom to the recession that followed, house staging has continued to grow.
“The worst year for everyone was out best year ever,” says Kramer. She acknowledges that perhaps, as it gets harder to sell a house, people are willing to put a little more effort into the process. In addition, people have gotten more involved in the process.
McMansions are so large that people don’t know what to do with the space! Why not get prospective homebuyers maps or at least architectural plans in order to make it through the house! On one hand, this seems to reinforce some stereotypes about McMansions: they have a lot of unnecessary space and Americans, for some reason, really like to have that kind of space. I can imagine Sarah Susanka would have a good time talking about why people should go with smaller homes rather than have to have their spaces defined for them.
On the other hand, staging seems to be pretty common today across housing types. It can be difficult for homebuyers to envision what a space can become without a little help. What does it cost to stage the typical McMansion (let’s say between 3,500 and 6,000 square feet) these days? And what staging touches in McMansions work the best for selling the house?