Are you sure I can’t keep my pigs?

Disclaimer: What you’re about read is true. Only the inanes have changed to protect other stagers from pointing and laughing at my clients.

When I’m called in to stage a house, the Realtor and I will chat about anything I should know before I go in so I won’t be shocked…like the homeowner usually answers the door naked. I’m telling you right here and now that unless it’s Robert Downey Jr. answering the door, the Eeeeeuuuwww Factor will be set to Code Orange.

So my Realtor lets me know that her seller’s house is decorated in a style that can only be described as “Late Green Acres-Early Hee Haw”. In other words….“country”.  Additionally, Mrs. Home Seller is really into pigs.  So I go to meet with them and Mr. Home Seller answers the door with clothes on and I walk in.  From my vantage point, I see pigs (note that’s pigs…plural); we’re talking pig pictures, 25 or so stuffed pigs in various parts of the house, pig wall hangers for oven mitts…that themselves look like pigs, pig wall stencils, blankets, fireplace screen, lamps shades, etc. Oh, just kill me now. The sellers seemed like very nice people that understood the need for their house to be staged and were prepared to follow my every instruction.

I wrote up my VERY specific list of things they needed to remove from the house and as always, I went over my list with them and explained the reasoning behind asking them to remove things like certain pieces of furniture, heavy drapery and…all things porcine because the pigs may be the only thing that buyers will remember about the house. Studies have shown that buyers can get distracted by looking at personal photos, extensive collections, a motorcycle in the living room, etc. and will forget about the actual features of the house which is why stagers are always whining about needing a house to be as visually neutral as possible. (Plus we don’t want Realtors to be referring to their house as the “pig house” to other Realtors. Call me persnickety (I won’t answer) but it sends the wrong message.)  The sellers understood everything I had asked them to do and I left them to do the right thing.

A week or so later, I got a call from the Realtor with the report that Mrs. Home Seller was in agreement with everything I told them to do….but…..she wanted to know if she  really had to get rid of her pigs?  She thought they made the house look “homey”.  If you’re very quiet, you’ll be able to hear a collective groaning from stagers from around the world.

Good people, read me now and hear me later. Here is just one example of why you MUST make your house visually neutral:   Young Mr. Silicon Valley Guy is ready to buy his first home. He’s pre-qualified, has a big down payment and wants a 30 day close of escrow …or less if he can get it.  He pulls up in his shiny black BMW in front of the “pig house”.   He’ll take one, maybe two steps inside and then will be a blur as he’s making it for his car. And you’ve just lost your perfect buyer.

If a seller insists on keeping their pig collection or a Smurf alter or wallpaper depicting risqué behavior, they’ve effectively sliced their pool of buyers down to what I call “a needle in a haystack buyer”.  So…..if you want to sell your house quickly, step away from the pigs and do what the nice stager asks you to do. And whatever you do, make sure you have clothes on when you answer the door. But I’ll bend the rules for you, Mr. Downey.

This has been another message from Karen Negrete IRIS™, your friendly stager.
Interior Redesign Industry Specialist™

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