Lynn O'Brien's Blog

Europe Blog

I recently returned from a month traveling in Europe.  It was a fabulous trip spent visiting the sites of ancient ruins and unique architectural landmarks.  My trip included Rome, Naples, Florence, Monte Carlo/ Eze; Greece including, Mykonos, Olympia, Corfu, and Santorini, I also went to Kusidasi, a resort village in Turkey and then on to Venice. 


Decorating and staging to close a sale

Our company, Stonehenge Properties, builds large, custom homes in Northern California.  Sometimes, it’s  hard for a potential buyer to understand how to best utilize and decorate the large and unique spaces in these homes.  If buyers are distracted by a lack of vision, they may walk away from an opportunity to buy a home that would be perfect for them.  It is in our best interest to “Stage” homes to show the buyer the potential that the property holds.  It can be expensive and it will delay getting the house to market however, I believe that the way the get the highest offers is to have a property completely furnished for the buyers to see.  If the property looks like a sanctuary that would meet all of their needs, the buyer is likely to fall in love with a property and become passionate about presenting a winning offer. 

Most buyers, looking at higher priced homes, are not looking for a home that needs to be modified.  I often sell homes that are turnkey, complete with everything except basic personal items.  I once had an offer contingent upon leaving all of the furnishings including the “knick knacks”.  In this case, we left a fully stocked wine cellar, coffee table books and out-door patio heaters among many other furnishings. 
The price of staging varies.  Light staging of the public spaces can be done for  about $20,000. You can also lease furniture for homes which are on the market.  If the buyer loves the furniture, they a can arrange to purchase directly from the stager. Basic home furnishings can be purchased at high Point Market in North Carolina or The World Market in Las Vegas.  We purchase unique art and decorative items at many places. There are great antique markets in France and in London we often visit a reclamation company called Lasco’s.  This is a company that specializes in architectural salvage from reonovation projects.  We recently purchased a room of wood paneling from the Arts and Craft period It was several hundred years old and was originally installed in an old manor home using wooden dowels with no nails or adhesives.  We also purchased  a London phone booth for use in Billiards room.  We also love shopping at Salvage One in Chicago.  In the case of one of our highest value properties, the home was filled with several hundred thousand dollars of furniture and art owned by us.  Naturally, the buyer, did not want to pay more for the furnishings but insisted that they be included.  This is always a tough situation however, we remind ourselves that this buyer may not have made an offer at all if the home did not show as well as it did with the furnishings.