Life in Portland Blog

Staging 101: Before & After


This is our beautiful new listing in the Alberta Arts District located at 931 NE Sumner.  A stone’s throw away from The Radio Room, Black Cat Coffee, The Alberta Street Public House and Frock, this is a genuine winner in every way.  Five bedrooms, two baths, over 3000 square feet and lots of lovely original features combined with great renovations all for $335,000!  What a deal.  But there’s more to this story than meets the eye and we have our wonderful seller Gypsy Tucker to thank for that.


When we first met Gypsy her house was, to say the least, tired.  It had been on the market with another agent the year before and hadn’t received any offers.  After our first walk-through we knew why.  The house needed staging and lots of it and I don’t just mean a vase of flowers or a new bathroom floor mat.  I mean a serious overhaul.  You see in today’s market a house must be absolutely fabulous in order to attract a buyer.  Why?  Because there is lots of competition.  Lots of houses for sale and lots of buyers out looking and buyers these days are savvy enough to recognize that they want and can get the best house for the best price.  Long gone are the days of bidding wars (although we still see them occasionally!) when a house gathered 15 offers within 24 hours of hitting the market (yes, that happened to us and believe me when I say we were exhausted by the time our seller finally picked the “winning” buyer!)

So when we go to a listing appointment now we go armed with the knowledge that to help our sellers sell for the best and highest price they need to do everything they can, with our help of course, to whip their houses into shape.  As part of our commitment to sellers we pay for a staging consultation with the inimitable Ruth Chancellor of Chancellor Designs who comes in, does a walk-through and creates a detailed report complete with photos and color charts to help a seller know exactly what they need to do and how to get it done.  From there, we work closely with Ruth and our sellers to get that house prepped and ready for market.  And of course hiring a designer to do the flyers and an architectural photographer to shoot the photos doesn’t hurt either.  It’s all about marketing and that’s what we know inside out.

Well, Gypsy got right to work on her home and within several months she had it transformed.  She hired Graeme Anderton of Upper V Custom Painting (503-380-3937) to paint the front and back porches, the exterior doors, the kitchen, dining room, stairwell and two bedrooms.  Then came Dave Pitzer (503-381-5033) to install marmoleum flooring in the kitchen and both bathrooms plus lay down new Berber-style wool carpet in the bedrooms.  Bob Lenz (503-380-8453, put beautiful butcher block counters into the kitchen, compliments of IKEA and a lot of research by Gypsy, and the honey-colored fir floors received a “Faux” refinish by Mr. Maid.  Gypsy also had the main floor deep-cleaned by Mr. Maid, a new side fence built by Creative Fences & Decks, an extra deep clean of the basement by Freddie Perry ( of Greenthumb Cleaning (according to Gypsy “She stuck it out for ten hours in that basement!”) and Elizabeth Cardinal of Superwonderful Garden Design finished off the landscaping to bring the house into perfect shape inside and out.  Gypsy also had fun getting rid of stuff with Craig’s List (“Advertise anything for free and someone will come and haul it away.” she proclaims) and 1-800-Got-Junk a company that she hired to separate, recycle and haul away everything not sold or given away through Craig’s List.

Her home went from underwhelming to over the top and the feedback we’ve been getting from other agents and their buyers is “WOW.”  So kudos to Gypsy for all her hard work and here’s some photos from her magnificent makeover!