EAST COUNTY— It’s early March, and this home in the Tara community still has Christmas spirit.
A red-leaved poinsettia plant sits on the counter, and a small Santa lies crumpled in the master bedroom shower.
Scribbled reminders blanket the kitchen refrigerator. The home’s walls have no pictures or art on them because the owners don’t want holes in the wall.
As part of a staging course hosted March 5 by The Academy of Home Staging, three students, led by two major figures in the home-staging industry, turned the cluttered home owned by three generations of family members into a place ready to be sold.
Wanda Colon — an instructor at the academy and the Los Angeles-based host of TLC’s “Home Made Simple,” a guest on HGTV’s “Designer Challenge” and former “Sex and the City” actress — and Mary Ellen Fortier, the academy’s Tampa area lead instructor and a certified home stager, led the home makeover.
Jessica Ross of Coldwell Banker secured the listing after the home’s owners decided to move to Las Vegas to be near family.
With 25% of for-sale homes being professionally staged last year, according to the National Association of Realtors — compared to 5% in 2007 — Ross saw the Tara home had a great need for staging and deserving owners; she contacted Fortier.
The academy assigned Colon to the Southeast region for the week, and she traveled to Bradenton for the first time to assist in the staging.
“The way we live in a house is not the way we sell a house,” Colon said. “Buyers buy square footage. If a home is cluttered, you can’t see that. Clutter creates angst. You need to highlight the features of the home in a calm, cool way to create that zen.”
After the home’s owners left the house to let the stagers work, the group started by putting loose items away. Then, they moved items away from the home’s sliding-glass door, showing off the back porch and yard, and did basic cleaning such as vacuuming and wiping counters.
Ross said she hoped to put the home on the market late last week with a selling price of roughly $300,000.
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].
Wanda Colon’s staging tips
Do: “A buyer will walk into a home and either feel it or not feel it. You don’t want the home to be totally boring, but you want it to be generic enough for them to envision putting their special pieces inside.”
Don’t: “Never over furnish. It creates angst.”