Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stage to Rent For More Rent

Income Property via HGTV
If you are not sure why you should stage a rental property, watch one episode of Income Property on HGTV.  Yes, you will see my amazingly gorgeous, imaginary boyfriend Scott McGillivray. You will also see that rental spaces sing, fly, soar when they are staged. 

Often rental spaces are small, so open spaces serve multiple purposes. You can show the renter that a small sofa and bistro dinette set will fit in a space. They do not have to wonder or worse, doubt.  If you show them that a slim desk will fit in the bedroom, you can attract the young professional with a laptop.  Vacant rooms can look misleadingly small or awkward. By staging a room with minimal furniture and a nuetral pallete, you give them the answers to the test and you give yourself a better chance to rent to a higher grade of tenant.

My boyfriend,  Scott (ok imaginary boyfriend Scott McGillivray, but that is the last time I admit it) can tell you all about how to be a landlord. He has hundreds of income properties of his own plus the ones he has created for property owners on his show. I can only tell you what I saw as a potential renter and offer to help as a stager.

pensacola beach via pensacola blogger

Hunky Husband and I recently moved to Pensacola, Florida because Home Depot said we should. They were absolutely right. It is coastal/casual Heaven here and we love it! But it was nothing less than traumatic for me.

I have lived in the same small town (Summerville) outside of Charleston, SC my entire life.  You really don't know an area till you get there and we had only 5 days to secure a rental. We have 3 girlies (ages 8, 5 & 3) so I did my research on the schools in the area with school That pretty much decided where we would look.  Luckily for us, there were several good schools in the area and we had a helpful Realtor to show us around for 2 days -- that's right, new time zone, 2 days.

I scoured rental listings on the internet for weeks before our trip.  I used because it maps out the properties and the school district attendance lines better than anywhere else I could find. It has lots of great options to customize for size of property and the price you are looking for. I'm sure I drove our Realtor nuts with my frequent emails, but he good naturedly continued to send new listings and rule out my favorites that had already rented. Pensacola is a military town -- home of the Blue Angels. So, good rentals go quickly. 

Blue Angels flying right over my house via pensacola places

During that search I saw great properties well staged and well photographed. Sorry, I wasn't blogging at the time, so I didn't know to steal, link to the pictures.  I also saw some homes that were full of tenant's mess or empty rooms. Yes, vacuum marks are nice to see, but if they are all you see, it is hard to tell if your bookcases will fit or not.  Eighty percent of buyers/renters are looking for a home on the internet. The movers who packed us up said that all 3 clients they had before us, were moving to houses they had never been to -- just picked from photos on MLS!

When you are selling your house, you get to dust and put out flowers and leave.  When you are renting a house, the current tenant is not your agent. They are not invested in you getting a great new tenant.

One poor owner could only show pictures of the outside of his house because the tenants wouldn't allow photos of their things.  He had to show pictures of his lovely home from the street.  Even the best curb appeal cannot compete with great interior photos. Renters will not hope for the best, they will fear the worst.

lots of curb appeal, but that is all
via hot pads

One house that we were really interested in, was being held captive rented by a pilot who was too busy to answer phone calls from our Realtor.  In the listing it had beautiful hardwood floors, but I will never know, because he also would not answer the door. 

I say all that to say this. Stage your property to rent... at least once for the pictures.  Many renters will never see anything but your posting. If your images on a listing website or MLS are not good, they will never call your number. They will never knock on your door. 

If you can schedule the time after one tenant leaves to clean and stage, even for a small widow of time, it can be worthwhile.  Schedule as many potential tenants as possible for a few days, then you can evaluate their applications and decide on the best possible tenant (and get the best possible rent).

Boyfriend's Before & After, Income Property via HGTV

Please just watch one episode of Income Property and you will see what I mean.  Poor Scott spends weeks updating plumbing, eradicating knob & tube wiring, adding soundproofing, fireproofing doors and open concept-ing layouts like crazy. He also flips his hair, blinds with his crazy-white smile and wears tight T-shirts.  THEN, the reveal comes.. the homeowners see...the beautifully staged space.  They never comment on the lovely duct work. No one ever oooh's and aaaaah's over the functional plumbing stack.  It is the color and furniture and FEEL of the new space that seals the deal.

GUESS WHAT... when someone comes to see your property, it is the color and furniture and FEEEEL of the space that seals the deal. Go visit any large multi-family development. You'll see they have a model home, a model unit, because it works.  Make your rental property visit ready and you will see.  Better space. Better tenant. Better rent.

just bec

Inspiring Interiors via Pinterest
I am posting this old article at all the fun parties. First, because it was one of my first posts and 5 people besides my Momma read it the first time. 

I even posted it on the Income Property Facebook page, but it was the week his real wife was having a baby -- so much for my love letter to Dreamy Scott. Don't laugh, I have invested a lot into this imaginary relationship, in a totally non-stalker kind of way.

Second, to celebrate! My boyfriend is finally on Pinterest!! So now it is easy to pin inspirational interiors from Income Property.

sometimes I share at these link parties:

 nifty thrifty tuesday @ coastal charm show me what you've got @ our delightful home  tuesday to do @ the blackberry vine get your craft on @ today's creative blog tip me tuesday @ tip junkie  tutorials & tips @ home stories a to z  take a look tuesday @ sugar bee crafts  one project at a time@ a bowl full of lemons  tuesdays treasures @ my uncommon slice of suburbia  wow me wednesday @ ginger snap crafts   tuesday time out @ reason to skip the housework  sugar & spice @ 733 a creative blog  whatever goes wednesday @ someday crafts show & share @ southern lovely wow me wednesday @ polka dots on parade  under $100 @ beyond the picket fence  show off your stuff @ fireflies and jelly beans  pinspirational thursday @ the artsy girl connection   hooking up with hoh @ house of hepworths  strut your stuff @ somewhat simple    share awesomeness thursdays @ the 36th avenue  a glimpse inside @ catch a glimpse   feathered nest friday @ french country cottage  freestyle friday @ happy hour projects  thursday temptation @ two yellow birds decor   flaunt it friday @ chic on a shoestring  the pity party @ 30 handmade days  weekend wrap up @ tatertots and jello anything goes link party @ bacon time  pinworthy projects @ just us four  friday free for all @ five days five ways  frugal friday @ the shabbby nest  mad skills party @ mad in crafts  serenity saturday @ serenity you   manic monday @ serendipity and spice


  1. I'll never forget my first apartment on the lake my last year at Clemson. Of the eight apartments in the complex, the Realtor chose to take us to see the beautiful one. I am intentionally using that definite article. There was only one beautiful apartment, but seeing it assured me that we could move our college furniture in and make ours equally as beautiful. It didn't quite work out that way, but we ended up paying top dollar for the potential that it might turn out almost as cute!

  2. so sorry someone used their staging powers for evil. now you can steal all their tricks and use them for good.

  3. I am so surprised because that article is a good knowledge for stage rental. Your Design consultancy the right product and equipment for individual requirements are best.