Home Staging 

PODCAST E003: Staging a home for sale with guests Sue Kaffman & Amie Howes of Sue Kauffman & Company

[Music]hello and welcome to how to sell a housein Central PA an insider's guide toselling a home in the greater HarrisburgareaI'm Derek Bixler experienced real estateprofessional and educator in Central PAand I want to inform and empower homesellers by providing you inside tips andstrategies to help them sell their homesfor more money thereby keeping centralVA strong for everyone in this podcastwe'll provide important information forhome sellers through quick tipsinterviews with related localprofessionals and access to free toolsand resources if you have a questionyou'd like answered on the show or havean idea for a guest please message us athow to sell a house or that's how tosell a house morgue or on our Facebookpage thanks for listening and enjoy theshowquestion drink on mic everyone this isepisode what episode episode 3 this iswith soo Coffman & Company staging withsoo and Amy have both of them theirmother and daughter-in-law combo we runthe company together and they do a greatjob at staging houses and homes for salethey also do you know holiday decoratingand interior decorating in general theyalso have a warehouse of furniture thatthey can use to stage houses if theydon't if homeowners don't have furnitureto do so and they they do a lot of otherthings too they can they have aphotographer that they work with in someother services so they're great at whatthey dohmm again staging is a huge part ofgetting more money for your house thebetter you make it look when people walkin the more money you're gonna get it'ssimple as that so definitely payattention to your staging if you need ifyou're if you need a lot of helpdefinitely hire somebody it's worth thethe couple hundred bucks sometimesthey'll give you some tips that'll makeyou a lot of money and and then youwon't waste money on areas of the housethat you might have thought you neededto fix up but the typical home buyerwon't care about so this one's greatit's really usable content and I adviseyou to use these guys if you ever needthem it's definitely worth it and getmore money for your house this is sueand Amy with sue Kaufmann in Companystaging and more[Music]the author and editor right here gotahold funny bloopers yeah that's whatpeople so welcome everybody it's episodethree of how to sell a house in CentralPA here with su and Amy mother-daughterstaging and design team in theHarrisburg area I will let them tell youmore about their business so have themon the show obviously because stagingand getting a home ready to sell and forpictures and everything and showings isof paramount importance and a lot ofpeople don't give it enough importancewhen getting a house ready and they theyskimp and they they want to cut cornersand and money frankly but you're gonnaget a big return out of what you doespecially with staging a huge hugereturn bigger than anything else you'regonna do when you're selling a house solisten up on this episode we'll start byletting su and Amy say hello and tell usa little bit about where you come frommaybe where you grew up how you getinvolved with this profession how youstarted the business okay I am su and wehis I had started this business abouteight-year a little over eight years agoand I came from growing up in a dairyfarm here right down in ElizabethtownPennsylvania and was always kind of myown person when it came to doing thingsand over the time of life I used to be afaux finisher then I went into someother Phil painting yes faux paintingfinishing we need oh it's so funnybecause now basically what we do is wetell people to go over their fauxfinishing so I've gone into homesalready where I felt finished in thehome I go back in several years laterand tell them that it's not paint overthat so did you do it over wallpaper isthat what people do that that's why wewere yeah somebody painted overwallpaper three times and I think youmight be fine to do that yeah the onlybut make sure that wallpaper is reallyadhere tookay I'll talk to you he started in fauxpainting I did and then when fauxfinishing started to kind of go out ofstyle a little bit then I thought I'dbetter find something else and I hadalways gotten so many good vibes frompeople from my clients who thought itwould be a good idea for me to go intothe decorating side of things so Ichecked it all out online and foundfound staging and took my certificationcourse and the rest is history so I'vebeen doing that for a while and then twoyears ago my daughter-in-law Amy came tome and EXIF um she if I would like tohave some help in this business and itwas a godsend because she she and I Ithink complement each other very wellbecause what I'm what I'm not as good atshe is extraordinarily good at so and itcomes to just the marketing and thefinancial end of things and the and thethinking of things and the all theinnovative things the ways to go Amy'sgreat do you want to say anything Amywell I - I'm a farm girl so we're theLancaster County farm girls turn turndesign so that's kind of a cool storyand the only mother-in-lawdaughter-in-law duo that I know of so uma lot of people are like I can't believeyou can work with your mother-in-law andI said well you don't understand thebackstoryI said I'm the oldest of nine kids so mymom was literally had the last siblingwhen my husband and I met I said so mymother-in-law said sue really taught mehow to be a woman and so she's like areal mom to like like a real mom to meso it's not it's a very good thing so umbut anyway so yes I was went to PennState and I have an animal science andbusiness back our degree and backgroundand I have always dabbled in in changingrooms around and have always liked thatside but I also have a passion forbusiness and animal husbandry is justalways been something that I grew upwith so when was the goal with doingthat in school I I was in a suitable Iwas actually in pharmaceutical sales andthen when we had children I stayed homeand then I worked with the Department ofAg in a non-profit and when the budgetdidn't pass my position run away I saidsue I see a lot of potential in yourbusiness how about this is a great timeto try something and she said yes andtwo years ago so it's just been amazingand we're just growing so excited to tobe here and you just opened a new ormoved facilities to a bigger betterwhere I can warehouse more stagingfurniture and all that stuffyes that's pretty awesome we're veryexcited about that it's from where wecame from our last warehouse space wehad to go up steps that are up theelevators and got to be a little bit sonow we have a perfect space for usground level with learning ducks and theoffice and everything else nice awesomeit's hopefully you don't have to movefor a long time hopefully yeah you wantto give a quick overview maybe of theservices obviously staging is a kind ofa general term but maybe dive a littlebit deeper and then into any servicesthat people might not think aboutnothing that you might do yes I I'llstart just with the staging side ofthings we offer consultations where wespend up to two hours with clients goingthrough their house just completelytalking about everything that's going tomake it more buyer friendly it could beanything from new carpeting to new paintto new countertops or just simply reallydecluttering a lot and yes and furnitureand putting some furniture into storageso there's the the consultation is verybroad and but we hit a lot of specificsin that and then after that we there isthat we do occupied staging when we comeback and actually after a consultationdo that actual staging for themsometimes using just their furniture andsometimes we'll bring in some of our ownto add to it and we do a lot of vacantssothey're probably our favorites in someway because it works it's a blank slateit's a clean canvas when we go in thereand it just looks great but althoughthey are our stagers they love the - ourspeed stage challenge we do two hoursand we just use only what the homeownerhas unless they specifically asked us tobring things in and they love just liketrying to find anything to bring ittogether and the homeowners come backand they're like oh my goodness like wenever thought our space could look likethis so it's it yeah it's a great it's agreat day I and somebody to pictureready yeah to our quick Stateshow much does speed stage it's threehundred ninety dollars yeah it's not badyeah and it makes a huge difference wecome in and just we don't even see theplaces usually before we go in therearen't usually any pictures online forus to look at so we go in with the blindeye and and we walk in and we think ohmy goodness what we gonna do here andbut it's fine we leave brother wow thiswill be matching and that and the homesellers are so delighted with it it'slike they I just was that one two daysago and she could not get done ravingabout the difference of the house andnow she will have us come back as adesign when she moves later she'll wantus to come back and help her her newthan her new home now do you have thehomeowners there with you well you dothese things usually okay not usuallybut we have found that if the seller isthere sometimes so it's usually betterif we just kind of you know ask them togo have a cup of coffee right visit afriend come back to see the reveal andmake it a little bit more like HGTVreveals they love it yeah for surethat's less painful for them in the endI think because as people touching yourthings and that's how when I have to doit for clients I just I don't want youthere even for pictures I don't want youthere because I'm gonna grab stuff andmove it and I'm telling them I'm gonnagrab stuff and move it and putback but yeah I don't just like when mycleaning lady's at our house I don't Idon't want to be sure one of the ourservices interior design has beengrowing by leaps and bounds since wehave more manpower to be able to handlemore clients and we work with from theground up whether it's working with theBuilder helping to pick cabinetrycountertops fixtures or or if youcurrently just need furniture we canhelp you with that with furnitureplacement art you know really it's allthe way from new build to existing andjust what your needs are and we found Iwe just always put ourselves in the inthe homeowners shoes and they love thestress we take away and that we canunderstand so many different types ofstyle and there's like you justunderstand and write know what I likeand I'm like wow this is I you knowyou've told me and we grow thatrelationship so we can really connectand yeah that's awesome Jen you probablytake their vision that a lot of peoplethey've seen something on Pinterest oron youtuber I don't know where howeveranother wise Pinterest for the most doit yeah yeah and sometimes they reallywant to be involved and then we'll starttalking and they're like you know whatyou just you just go do this and theyand it is they love that to go away somepeople aren't always there when theinstalls happening and they come back inthere and it they're like I feel likethis is on HDTV and I'm like I'm promisethere's no cameras hidden anywhere sothat's the way to do it they love itoh my see them that thing with thecleaning lady or a contractor anything Idon't want to see what their and itreally allows you to get your creativejuices flowing and not have thatinterrupted so but yeah yeah and that'syou get a lot of immediate gratificationof what you do I have a lot of delaydelay delayso I am a little bit envious you can dosomething and look at it at the end ofthe day though yeah so I just feel likewe're a one-stop shop where and thedesign side you know typically if wejust do a room or whatnot they'll end uphaving us come back so we have a lot ofrepeat client that way and they love totell their friends about usyeah yeah do you think it's what thenumber one thing to stage or would yousay it's the entryway usually what sowhat's the one if you had to pick onething to worry about when you're sellingto home interior let's assume theexteriors good are very importantbecause really that's the heart of thehome it's what they've been saying theyalways say that's the heart of the homebut actually it's the home and when westage those we don't like to stage themwith appliances you know or kitchenappliances and things our mixers andthings because we just want to make itlook really really fun and inviting butthat's kind of a double-edged sword whenit comes to picking just one because thefirst you have to have the first lookthe first 'since you have went up thatdoor that's the first impression they'regoing to have so that has to be reallygood right rightline of sight when you walk in the doorthe foyer in the living room which isusually off to the one side and maybe anoffice off to the other have to be readyyeah yeah even if you're just pushingstuff counter to the side and shovingthings around Oh get your line of sightand I would say I don't care thedeclutter everybody who hear me saydeclutter you claim that's the numberone thing anybody ever can do is whenyou think you decluttered declutter seemore a cup like you're moving make itlook like a hotel people should say arethey they should question whether peopleare still living there until they openthe closets and see things and I'm finewith people pack the closet spool packbook garage full pack the basement fullif it's the storage basement it's betterif you get it out completely but it's Ifind just get it out of the living areaas much as possible absolutely and Idon't know about you and I think Imentioned this last episode lightswitches driving me nutsdisgusting light switches and you haveto touchat least the first one you touch whenyou walk in the house they should all bebrand new with a brand new plannernice to touch maybe even a brand newdoorknob if it's a hole that's anothergripe probably the number one - trailersit's keys and trying to get in to theseold locks just get a new one is 20 bucksand it makes for a much betterexperience staying with staging it givespeople a good first impression and youcan't make a second first impressioneveryone we're always on the lookout forgood content for the podcast in ourwebsite if you have any ideas for guestsany questions we can answer or any ideasfor topics please go to how to sell ahouse org that's how to sell a house organd drop us a message there or you canfind us on our Facebook page thanks inadvance for your input it's muchappreciated yes yes like you never showyou mentioned the light switches youthere did you walk around the housethere have little fingerprints allaround them yeah yeah and nobody everliked with the switches againeverybody's gonna this the next homeowners gonna replace all the plates butthey're not gonna clean or replace thethings the next people are gonna do thesame thing when you have these 50 yearold houses they're disgusting so atleast do that the switches so next thingon my list here is what is the mostcommon issue you come across so we kindof talked about the kitchen anddecluttering and I'd say we kind ofcovered that pretty well I guessdecluttering or anything to add yeah Iloved how you said when you think you'redone decluttering do it again because wedo really want it to that hotel feelthat's a really great example so peoplecan visualize what is what it's to bebut yeah i decluttering and just justreally making sure that you follow thechecklist when it comes to photos andshowings making just making week we havea very detailed list at the end of ourconsultation that they're able to referback toand it covers everything that you can dothat will just maximize the potential toinfluence that buyer when they comethrough the door yeah that's awesome I'msure there's a lot of things that thehome the home sellers can do before andafter you leave I mean depending on howmuch they want to pay yeah I mean wecould do it all between you and me andgetting cleanly ladies and everything wecouldcleaning men - I don't know I saidladies - the ladies men - so yeah it'sgood to have so what's the craziestthing you've ever come across how's ithas there ever been a house where hesaid we just we can't even do anythingright now we have to leave maybe it wasthat bad or a particularly weirdsituation or well particularly good turnaroundbut we have we did that very good turnaround with our with our staging jobsbut what I had this was way back quite afew years ago I had a lady who reallywasn't too excited about selling herhouse and so she didn't want to changethe wallpaper and she eventually did butevery time I would go back to her housefor some reason or another she wouldchange she had changed some thingsaround and so we'd talk about that againso finally it all turned out but thatwas that was one thing but the craziestthing that's ever happened to me waswhen I was I went one time I was drivingmy own truck not my truck where you renta truck and I was driving the truck tothe to the house to stage and the top ofHummelstown Hill and you go down thereand it's windy and you go down the assoon as I was coming up from the backside of that and as soon as I got thetop of the hill my engine went out andso you know I had woken top my brakes Iwas at the top but I had huh that wasjust just going down over the crest andthe engine went out and I had tomanipulate with with a truck that wasfull of furniture and brakes were heartwere not working very well at that pointthe steering kind of clamped up becauseit was no longer power steering I hadthat was the craziest thing I've everdone like I pulled over on the bottom ofthe hill into a parking lot that wasover there and just kind of got my gotmyself together and said hey I did apretty good job of that I don't think wewere into a lot of really crazy thingsyou've never had a life-threateningexperience I haven't had a likes dogs Iwas gonna say not life-threatening butjust recently home sellers had threedogs and they were just so used to thesmell inside Mike the people that we hadcome in who are partners with carpetingand painting they were like it took Ihad to change clothes I went to my andthey told me afterwards because it wasso so bad so maybe the smoking smokinghouse away oh it's a yes so we workedclosely with them and were able toeradicate everything and get it get itcompletely clean to be able to go in themarket and once it did it hadn't smellat all yeah so how do you how do you getrid of a smell so we each ain't yep sothat's a great question so we haveseveral different things that we ofcourse we changed the carpet which wasthankfully it didn't get into thesubfloor so that had that saved us butthen we also highly recommended an airpurification system with naturalalliance we work with aleady who sellsair purifiers so they have a systemthat's big enough for a whole home andalso when it's really bad and saturatedyou can leave the home and have thissetting and it's ozone and it justpurifies the air sound like this rainbowsay is some kinda yeah but this iscalled metric yeah this is made fromstuff that they used for out and out ina Stronach and astronauts stuff likethis yeah so what was cool was not onlywas it purifying the air but then whenthey had the home painted and new carpetit was just able to purify that as thoseodors were being released when you knowfrom the paintyeah and it was night people the ladycame in and said I don't even feel likeI'm in the same home I'm just and theyhad multiple offers within a couple daysso it was it saved that home because atthat price point in its location it wasjust an amazing home it just needed someTLCoh yes Mel is if it stinks investors saycat pee smells money because nobody elsewants to deal with it and smoking I meanit means cuz it's not really that hardto get rid of if you can just do youknow you paint sometimes you can evenclean ductwork for couple brandcarpeting flooring or something airingit out I was just in a house where Iwanted to walk out right away it was amix between pets and then they varnishedthe floors or something so it was and itwas it wasn't forced air heat it wasbaseboard of some type so there was zerocirculation whenever they did this threedays ago probably because it was on themarket a day so stench and I was readyto leave right then I stayed in so thebuyer said I don't want to be a sissybut I mean I didn't write I startsneezing easily and other people willtoo especially with pets and if theydon't and it doesn't matter if they havedogs or they have pets they don't careeven you're a food that you made forlunch people don't want to smell itunless it was apple pie they don't wantto smell any of your stuff it should beas neutral yes yeah and not don't useair fresheners either for one they havechemicals in them and it's not good foryou for two it's just making it worsenobody you're not tricking anybody justclean it get a cleaner for a hundredbucks they'll clean your place fantasticit's the best I mean so yeah I thinkthat's great so what do I got the nexton my list here kind of went over a lotof these things or the top three thingsdeclutter declare declutter clean up andthen let let these guys and gals worktheir magic what's uh maybe amisconception people might think aboutstagers or what a what are they is theresomething they think you're going to door not do when you come that ends upbeing the oppositeI think the biggest misconception ofthat I can really think about is thatstaging is very expensive people thinkthat all the time and they really don'thave any way of knowing what it's goingto be in most cases before we get therebut staging is always less than thefirst price reduction so if they can ifpeople understand that to put to put alittle bit of money out front it's goingto save them from having a house sit onthe market oh yeah and then have to gothrough a price reduction oh yeah why doyou think investors buy exactly crappyhouse if they just paint them and dosome work to them and get a whole bunchof people need to start thinking morelike investors why do you think they doall those things and I think one otherthing that I thought about was I thinkhome sellers might be also afraid thatwe will like state recommend that everybedroom and everything is staged so thatcould be like a little bit fearful ofwow so yeah actually yeah so actually wejust really focus on the main areas thatare that are the most influential to abuyer and we will talk a lot ofhomeowners out of doing extra roomsbecause we say it doesn't benefit you topay us to do that I mean we'll do it ifyou really want to but unless it's thatoffice that's just off of the four yearwhen you walk in we are not interestedand just taking your money I mean itdoesn't know anybody let's put it overput your money over here and in thebasement or something if it needs to bedefined but yes we only when we go intoa home we really only focus on this iswhat is going to influence your buyerand just make them fall in love with theproperty yeah that's awesome is thereanything else you want to share withanybody out there I'll give you a chanceto plug your business and everythingtell everybody your phone number yourwebsite and where they can find ineverything if you're on social mediawhatever that is and for everybody likeusable it'll be on the website withlinks for everybody on my website andit'll be out there everywhere you canpossiblyokay so you can find Sue and Amy at soupKauffman and company where actually it'sWWC Kauffman calm and that would be ourwebsite we are on Facebook TwitterInstagram Instagram LinkedIn all of thedifferent socials getting bigger now itis LinkedIn I get a lot of I get a lotof comments yeah Microsoft just boughtit and they're doing a big huge push andthey're supposed to be ranking andsearch it blah blah blah um let me seewhat else our email addresses are veryeasy it's Amy at sue Kaufmann calm andSue it that's and Amy's am ie that'strue and Kaufmann is ka you f MA n not 1F 2 s that's one of the things we getasked about a lot to Epson compliment mmcomment and Kaufmann yes and it's good Ithink the Facebook page is the best ifpeople want to find you guys maybeinstead a visual also check out theFacebook page for sure the websiteprobably some things but it's that'sgonna be updated constantly on Facebookif there's any agents out therelistening to this obviously you probablyknow sue and Amy already but use themsome more they'll do some great thingsfor your clients and anything else youwant to say I would just say the soonerwe get involved the better we don't liketo overwhelm with what has to be doneand the sooner like Derek is a preferredrealtor of ours and we work kind of as ateam to come along at the very beginningstages so we can really walk alongsideof that home seller and he gets it andso we are excited about that partnershipand really want to just wow his clientsbecause you know that's you work withDerek and then you're gonna want torefer them to your friends so the soonerthe better and we look forward tohearing from youyeah if we can have three months outthat's often really really good threemonths we'd always get that but butpretty much you'll have to push as hardto get things done so quickly and youcan kinda yeah a little bit more and getother people to help you more becauseyou have more time to get everythingfinished so that's a really it's notalways possible but that's a good spotto start yeah three months is goodit took us longer than that I think andI I was trying to do it I was I'm prettygood about it I guess yeah and for olderpeople who are transitioning to asmaller home that that is like a yearyou know that's because that's soemotional and so we just let's starthere let's take it step by stepwe understand maybe you've built thishome and there's lots of memories hereso dapper J yes and it is a tough it istough too for them to walk through so wejust said we if we can have a year witha transition that is uh they appreciatethat yeah I hear you the the timeline ofdown cisors is definitely a lot good Byears I mean I say two or three yearsfrom start to finisha lot of times yeah and there's no rushtheir house is paid off they can writeexact look for whatever they want aslong as they want it's great actually soand I think people are wild the mostwhile they they see it when they come inafterwards I think they're wild the mostat the end when they get more money forthe houses which is what it's all aboutyou want to get more money for yourhouse and that's what this podcast isall about is how to get home sellers inPA more money for their house so youwant to stage it you want to use Sue andAmy find them on Facebook and thewebsite find me and all the other tipsand videos and podcast episodes andeverything at how to sell a house dothow to sell a house dot org I see thatevery single time like that how to sella house org and Facebook TwitterInstagram all that stuff and we'll seeyou next time see ya say bye guys thanksIron I just said guys because that'swhat I come the general termthanks for listening we hope you've gotsome good actionable information out ofthe show that you can go use today tosell your home for the most moneypossible more tips and strategies andhow to sell a house door that's how tosell a house dot board if you have anyquestions or ideas for guests or topicsyou can message us on Facebook or againfind a set how to sell a house goalthanks again for listening and have anawesome day[Music]


Staging is a huge part of the home selling process and should not be overlooked. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a great one. If people don’t enjoy their visit to the home, they will be much less likely to return or make an offer. Proper home staging can improve a buyer’s opinion of a home immensely, thereby bringing more money for the home.

Just a few general tips:

1. Less is best. De-clutter. Minimal is the name of the game when talking about furniture and especially nick knacks decorations, personal belongings, etc. It makes for better photos, better showings, and makes the home feel bigger and more like a blank slate to make their own.

2. Make it look like a hotel. Furnished and staged, but questionable whether someone still lives there. In a perfect world, buyers will ask if the sellers are still living there or not.

4. Touch up and paint as much as needed.

5. Repair any visibly damaged items (and not visible too, but those would be fixed for functionality and disclosure reasons, this is referring to items that are just messed up and ugly and catch the eye.

6. Mitigate any noticeable odors, whether good or bad. People don’t like pet smells or smoke or air fresheners that are trying to cover that stuff up. The best is to have as close to zero smell as possible, but maybe some cleaning supply type of smell that’s not very strong or construction type smells might be okay at low levels because they show care of the property (as long as they’re not overpowering). Again, with the smell, it should be as benign as possible. There are methods out there to completely get rid of all odors. You might not think your home smells like anything, but I guarantee it does. Just make sure to address any smells. Bake an apple pie if you really need a freshener, people do love that smell!!

7. Arrange furniture as intended… meaning if the bedroom was designed to have the bed on a specific wall and spot, place it there, do not leave it against a different wall or something because that’s the way you liked it; or maybe you made the dining room into an office. Set the home up as it was meant to be furnished. Pretend you’re a new home builder and you’re trying to show off what each room is and how one would lay it out. People do not have the imagination that you might think they have; they really need visualization most of the time.

8. De-clutter again. If you have to pack an unfinished basement or garage or closets full, that’s fine, but get as much out of the living space as possible.

Can you tell the theme… de-clutter and basically pack up because it will help you sell the home faster and for more money, and you intend to move, so you might as well get a jump on that anyway; you’ll be glad you did.

If you need help staging your home and getting it ready for photos and showings, you can always reach out to professionals like Sue and Amie, they know exactly want home buyers want and can make a huge difference in your bottom line!

Happy selling! 🙂

Sue Kauffman & Company
(717) 471-6519



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