When Realtor Karen B. Mendenhall entered the real estate business in 1993, she envisioned working alongside her husband in the field forever.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys show 77% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
However, by 2005, she saw an opportunity to capitalize on both her love of furnishings and her love of real estate by entering the field of home staging. Around since the 70s, home staging has gained popularity in recent decades thanks to the proliferation of real estate reality TV shows. The goal of staging is to make the home appealing for a faster sale and, theoretically, for more money. In home staging, a variety of techniques are used, ranging from adding furniture and accessories to painting and renovations. The end goal is to give potential buyers a more attractive impression of the property. “It is a fallacy that only high-end houses need or deserve this 'facelift' in order to get top dollar,” Karen said, adding that, “all houses deserve it.” Within one year of starting her business, she secured another employee, and by 2008 she decided to quit real estate altogether and go all in with home staging. She has never looked back.
According to the NAR, staging the living room for buyers was found to be most important, followed by the master bedroom, then the kitchen.
Today, her company, Stage It!, in Matthews, is one of at least 30 Charlotte-area home staging companies.
Tina Whitley, a local realtor with Allen Tate, agrees with Karen. Whether through a professional stager or simply taking advice from a realtor, every home needs a thorough decluttering. Tina elaborated, “Every home should be "staged" to some degree before putting it on the market. I tell my sellers that they are moving, so pack up what extras are in the house, make it look like a magazine and get ready to move!” That well-appointed, pared down interior helps buyers see their own furnishings in place, creating a more dynamic connection.
According to several sources, 2019 is trending toward creamy whites with pops of mid-tone blues, natural materials such as rattan on furniture, brushed gold light fixtures and hardware on cabinets, wood flooring, and quartz or marble counters.
Though trends may change, Karen doesn’t see staging “going by the wayside. The way you live at home, and the way you sell a home and the way you market [it] are two different things. I think we’re almost a relief in allowing us to do this work for them.”