Even though home staging has been around for years in the residential real estate industry, until recently the practice had been considered an added expense only used when a homeowner’s furniture and taste was a bit unstylish.
But now, even homeowners on trend with the latest decor are turning to home staging professionals to increase their home’s sales price.
The New York Times recently ran a feature on home staging, which said the practice is more sophisticated as ever, and necessary in today’s ulta-competitve housing market.
It appears the masses are taking notice. Showhomes, one of the largest home staging companies in the U.S. with franchises in 17 states, reported record-breaking revenues in 2015, the company’s highest in its 30-year history.
The Nashville-based company has come to the New Mexico market, with a franchise location open in Santa Fe.
The husband-and-wife duo Brandon and Elisa Macomber are the owners of the Santa Fe franchise, and have plans to expand into the Albuquerque market.
Besides traditional home staging, Showhomes offers home updating, such as picking new paint colors and carpeting, and home managers, who live inside and maintain vacant homes to keep them show ready.
Brandon Macomber said the price of home staging services vary, but usually cost about 1 percent of the home’s listing price.
Elisa Macomber has an eye for design, having worked previously as an interior designer in Massachusetts and as visual merchandiser for the luxury accessory brand Coach and Macy’s.
She previously ran a home staging company for a year and half in Santa Fe as well, so she knows the market a bit. The couple said Showhomes was hesitant at first to enter the smaller Santa Fe market.
“I don’t think they considered New Mexico as a high priority market. They were looking at larger cities. But when I made the initial inquiry, they did some research and saw Santa Fe and Taos has a higher-end home values, which made it doable,” Brandon Macomber said.
He said the business will focus on education first, both of homeowners and real estate agents. The couple said many people don’t realize, for example, that their furniture and personal items can turn off homebuyers, even unconsciously.
“With staging, we’re trying to appeal to a larger audience to get more officers and more interested parties in the home,” he said.
Elisa Macomber added that her home staging style is to pair modern pieces with traditional Southwestern touches, though the design usually depends on the style of the home itself. She focuses on decluttering and emphasizing more of the home’s architectural features.
She said her goal is to make the home as neutral and as inviting as possible, which ultimately allows potential buyers to see themselves living in the home, which hopefully leads to an offer.