On a recent episode of Good Morning New York, Real Estate with Vince Rocco, host Vince Rocco welcomed television personality and home stager Cathy Hobbs to the show.
Cathy Hobbs is a five time Emmy award winning television personality and founder and creator of Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes. She was a finalist on season six of HGTV’s hit reality series “Design Star”. She is currently hosting Design Recipes on the PIX morning news which airs the last Thursday of every month at 8:45am. Cathy Hobbs discussed with Rocco how excited she is about the spring/summer season for real estate and interior design.
Vince Rocco and guest Cathy Hobbs discussed the importance of home staging and decluttering when selling an apartment. Rocco shared with listeners the benefits of home staging. According to Rocco, fifty percent of the time sellers are open to discussion about home staging whereas the other fifty percent of the time sellers are reluctant to put money into it. With Cathy Hobbs being a leading interior designer and home stager in New York City, Vince Rocco put this question to her: “What are the basic guidelines for staging, Cathy?”
Cathy Hobbs explained that she feels the biggest hurdle to overcome is for sellers to realize that staging is not interior design. Staging is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. A luxury is something you don’t have to have. Home staging is a necessity. A seller is presenting their biggest asset to the market. Sellers need that presentation to be as strong as possible. Hobbs said she often will ask people if they were selling their car would they sell it as is? Would they sell it unwashed, with a broken headlight etc. Usually the answer is no and then I ask them “Then why would you do that with your home?” When it comes to home staging Hobbs believes it’s a key marketing tool that everyone selling a home needs to use. Hobbs shared that she works with agents who use staging as a standard tool just as they use photographs. “Staging is part of the marketing package,” says Hobbs.
One key essential to home staging Cathy Hobbs shared with Rocco and the listeners of Good Morning New York, Real Estate with Vince Rocco is a neutral palette. It is absolutely essential to have a neutral palette. Sellers must remove personal mementos, photographs etc. A potential buyer coming in does not need to know someone’s race, religion, musical preferences and the like. It should be a neutral palette for that potential buyer.
Vince Rocco next discussed green staging with Hobbs, who is the only green home staging expert in New York City. Green staging and home sustainable design has become sought after by residents of New York City.Cathy Hobbs is part of a small group of stagers and designers that have earned the LEED credential. Most people with this credential are interior designers and architects. Having a staging business, Hobbs has blended her LEED credential into her business. For Hobbs this means that she can bring an elite level of expertise in order to bring sustainability to a project.
Though clients or brokers often can have differing opinions when it comes to staging, Hobbs said the best affirmation that a stager is doing a good job is someone referring you to someone else. Hobbs recently was called in to a project that had been on the market for a year. Within a week of Hobbs taking on the project the listing sold.Hobbs explains to clients and brokers that they have to trust her. They have come to her as a professional to get a professional opinion. “This is my recommendation. This is what I suggest for the best marketing approach for your property.” Usually the client will end up doing everything. “There has to be a certain level of trust when you’re hiring a home stager.”
Coming back to the neutral palette, though Hobbs believes personal mementos, pictures and items of the like should be removed, she does believe there should be an emotional trigger. Most buyers buy real estate as an emotional action and need that trigger. But at the end of the day Hobbs believes you are selling the space and not the stuff. “We don’t want distractions and decluttering helps prevent that from taking place. I don’t feel the property should reflect the personality of the seller, it should reflect the personality of the property. The property is the star.”
Lastly Rocco and Hobbs discussed virtual staging. Hobbs is not a proponent of staging. As she puts it, nothing beats someone walking in and seeing the space. However, Hobbs has incorporated virtual staging to some degree in her business and has a team that can do renderings. Incorporating virtual staging has prevented Hobbs from losing business to other firms that offer the service. “I think it’s a let down for buyers to walk in and see an empty space after they’ve seen something different online. Nothing beats walking in and actually physically seeing the space,”says Hobbs.
Good Morning New York, Real Estate with Vince Rocco host Rocco,a veteran real estate broker, strongly advises sellers to invest the time and money in staging in order to reap their desired results.
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