Let's set the stage
Spring Loberg was getting the oil change done on her vehicle recently when a friend noticed the name of her business, Town and Country Staging, LLC., on it.
"He said 'staging'," she remembers. "What is staging?"
Staging, as Loberg explained to her friend, is the depersonalization of a house. It's part of the real estate industry, not decorative.
"It's my job to make sure the furniture in every room is to scale with the room, that it all works together and what the buyer sees makes a lasting impression," she said.
Loberg, an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP), earned her certificate last April from the Schwarz Company, which was created by Barb Schwarz, who started the concept of staging in 1972 in Bellevue, Wash.
Loberg has been married to Bob, attorney of Loberg Law Office, since 1980. They have been owners of Pierce County Abstract and Title, located in Ellsworth, since 1982, with additional offices in New Richmond, Eau Claire and Menomonie.
She handles construction inspections for the title company and even got her real estate license in August 2006, but her passion has always been elsewhere.
"I'm pursuing my dream," she said. "I love to stage and help people."
One of the first things she tells homeowners is this guideline from Schwarz.
"She said, 'The way you live in your home and the way you sell your house are two different things'," Loberg said.
Therefore, to depersonalize the house, she has a checklist of the three C's, clean, clutter and color, she follows.
"Cleaning is the most important aspect in depersonalizing your home," she said. "I've been taught that houses have to be Q-tip clean."
For clutter, she said, because your intention is to move, one might as well starting packing up the boxes.
"Start depersonalizing the house now," she mentioned. Finally, for color, a contrast of colors could be offensive, so stick with taupe, off white or "real estate" beige, as she calls it.
There's also one more C, she said, to consider--curb appeal.
"It takes 12 seconds for a potential buyer to decide whether they want to enter a property that is listed," Loberg said. Therefore, she said, make sure the windows are washed, the lawn is mowed and, during the winter, the walkways are shoveled.
"And if you own a pet, Real Estate 101 says offer to 'clean up the dog poop'," she said.
If none of that information seems to help sellers, Loberg gives them this anecdote.
"Treat your house like your car," she said. "When you're trying to sell it, don't you clean it and make it as nice and neat as possible?"
She then explained the benefits of what staging could do to a home. The average time on the real estate market for homes that have been staged are 33 days or less. Non-staged homes averaged 161 days. Furthermore, 93 percent of ASP homes sell within one month or less.
"Investing in staging is less than your first price reduction," Loberg said, quoting another Schwarz guideline. "The two things to sell your house are staging and price," she added.
And despite what the sellers may think, Loberg isn't there to criticize. .
"I'm not meant to be negative," she said. "I'm trained to think like the buyer. I'm honest in regards to declutter, repainting, recarpeting and help them depersonalize."
Loberg stages or will offer staging consultations within a 35-mile radius of Ellsworth. For information on Town and Country Staging, LLC., contact Loberg at (715) 821-0064.