Clever staging ideas

I tried this on my last build out and it worked like a charm.

We all know that once you get a house rehabbed and everything looks new…The house looks SMALL without furniture in it…Big houses look TOO BIG, and unfortunately, MOST BUYERS have a hard time SEEING their belongings in that home.

I approached a local Mom and Pop furniture store a few months ago with the following proposition.

You deliver 4 rooms of furniture to this address, I’ll pay your movng expenses, take responsibility for the furniture and you leave it there for 4 weeks. Put any signage you want on the furniture, leave the PRICE TAGS on it, leave BROCHURES on the end tables, market it anyway you want. Then pick it all back up in 4 weeks.

The idea is simple…Lots of people see the furnture that might not see it otherwise, any potential buyer of the home will certainly be buying SOME new furniture when they move in, and finally IT HELPS ME SELL THE HOME!!! New furniture LOOKS GOOD, SMELLS GOOD, FEELS GOOD.

The last delivery I took cost me $500 for labor.
The house sold in 3 weeks, the owner of the furniture store got called by the home buyer because they wanted to buy various pieces he had in the home. They paid full price, the furniture was already there, and the store owner told me they had 5 other couples come in for other items after seeing his product in my house.


leave the PRICE TAGS on it

great idea…

people love to BUY…


Hey FDJake,

Do you always stage homes? I am closing tomorrow on my first residential flip property. Or at least first I’ve bought with that intention. I didn’t plan on staging the home, just discounting it lower than the others on the MLS. There are two like it on the MLS for 315K, I bought this one for 191K. I was thinking of marking it down to around 290 and taking anything over 275K.

Another terrific idea! I can visualize that family sitting on the couch, running their hands over the upholstery, fantasizing about living there. That’s why developers pay big bucks for the staging in “Model Homes”.

Decorating a big home is really hard, daunting for most buyers.

How about you THROW IN THE FURNITURE for a full-priced offer? Or a quick closing date?

How expensive was the stuff?


My staging experience comes from a home I purchased that the previous owner literally walked away from. This was a rather large Colonial with 3700 sq ft of living space. It even had a 3 year old Christmas tree (real) in the family room with every needle in a neat ring on the carpet.

The owners wife died unexpectantly and he literally never went back to the home. His wife was a HOARDER…of NEW CLOTHING!!! TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS worth, 4 FEET DEEP in every room. TAGS still on everything.

When we got it cleaned out, the house had some very nice furniture in it. We sold the house FULLY FURNISHED…AS IS…It sold in 18 days for full asking price and the FURNITURE sealed the deal. That’s when I started thinking about furnishing/staging some of my flips to entice buyers.

The last house (Mentioned in this post) had about $7000 in furniture in it from the Mom and Pop place. They LOVED the exposure and offered to cut their delivery charges down to $300 for me in the future.

I have 5 projects going right now (that’s why I haven’t been posting much lately) 2 will be build outs…The other 3, AS IS wholesale deals to investors.

Just picked up a OCEAN FRONT cottage on Narragansett Bay for $60K which sold in 11 days for $160,000. Did NOTHING to it other than CUT down some over grown trees obstructing the VIEW…spent $1200…SOLD IT TODAY to a CASH BUYER that wants to tear it down and build a new home there.


Nice out of the box thinking fdjake.

You said…

The other 3, AS IS wholesale deals to investors.

Are you staging your wholesale deals too? If so, what shape are these houses in?

No staging on the wholesale deals.

These houses are dumps, usually filled with junk. I have a guy that just does clean outs for me…Usually $1000 for a typical 3 bed house filled with crap. That includes tipping fees.

I get these homes cleaned out, LISTED ON THE MLS for a number that makes my house THE CHEAPEST in that city or town, put a date for offers to be in by…and sit back and WATCH the feeding frenzy!!

I specifically make sure the listing says…NOT A SHORT SALE, NOT A FORECLOSURE, NO BANKS INVOLVED.

In my experience investor are LAZY…they WAIT for realtors to SEND THEM DEALS…I don’t play that game…ALL my properties come directly from the owners (don’t ask…I’ll give up my grandmothers apple pie recipe before I had over my techniques for doing this)
Every offer gets COUNTER OFFERED and the most motivated and CASH HEAVY deal gets it!!!

No staging on these properties…TURN 'EM and BURN 'EM!!!

Ok, didn’t think these were lipstick wholesale deals that were in such good condition to stage.

In my experience investor are LAZY....they WAIT for realtors to SEND THEM DEALS....I don't play that game....ALL my properties come directly from the owners (don't ask....I'll give up my grandmothers apple pie recipe before I had over my techniques for doing this)

Yep, investors are lazy, yep realtors enjoy having the upper hand and play investors and yep, I’ll take grandma’s apple pie recipe…I enjoy the smell of delicioussssssss apple pie. :biggrin

In all seriousness, you’ve given enough golden nuggets over the years that it would help just about anyone in finding deals.

Great insight, as usual.

How do you handle it if some agent shows the house to a family and the kid spills grape soda on the borrowed sofa?

Bluemoon brings up a serious issue. I’ve had agent showings where the “buyers” spilled coffee and didn’t wipe it up, left doors unlocked, left windows open in the dead of winter, and ripped blinds in half.

Agents no longer make any attempt to control their clients, and nobody ever makes any attempt to control their kids.

The way that gets handled is simple…

I either pay to have the sofa cleaned or I BUY the sofa, have it cleaned, and use it in my next staging project.

This isn’t rocket science folks…If I refuse to clean or buy that sofa, my FREE FURNITURE SUPPLIER goes BYE BYE

I can tell you that MY REAL ESTATE AGENT would be HEARING about this and the CLEANING BILL would be coming out of HIS commission if that problem was to occur repeatedly.

I started using staging companies in mid 2006 after I did a small home rehab and had a hard time selling it because of the size. People needed to vision furniture in it. Only thing I recommend is to not hand pictures with nails but use those glue patches that come off the wall. People like to see a nice home furnished and clean. Plants, pictures, etc.

I even bought non-working TVs from a tv repair store for $40bucks, LCD’s and put them in entertainment units or tv carts to help envision the room

NON-WORKING TV’s…great idea. So if they are stolen, let the thieves deal with disposal. Nice one.