2007-12-13 / News

Staging a home to demonstrate owner's investment, not the clutter

By Michaela Kennedy

Marsha Brome Marsha Brome In a buyers' market for real estate, homeowners trying to sell their property are increasingly nervous these days. Islander Marsha Brome has a solution for sellers that may mean the difference between hoping for an offer and getting their asking price.

Earlier in the fall, Brome discovered home staging, the concept of turning a disheveled house into a professionally polished home for sale. She completed a course which details the craft, earning her the designation of Accredited Staging Professional™ (ASP™).

"Homes that are staged, or prepared for sale, by an Accredited Staging Professional™ look better than other homes on the market by being clean, clutter-free, and ready to show to prospective buyers," Brome explains.

Brome shows her clients how to hide messes from the discerning eyes of real estate shoppers, creating an appealing atmosphere for potential buyers. "Essentially, it's about de-cluttering and de-personalizing," Brome says. She helps people get rid of stuff they don't need, and put congestion away into a basement, closet or attic.

On the other side of the coin, nothing moves more slowly on the market than an empty house, according to Brome. Staged homes traditionally sell faster, and often for more money, in today's real estate market. She notes that property owners often do not want to spend money on a house they are trying to sell. "But that's short-sighted," she says. "The first price reduction is a lot more than the investment of staging." The cost for staging for a two-bedroom house may be done for $1,000 or less.

The ASP™ course was created by Barb Schwarz, a customer service professional who has spent over 30 years teaching her specialty to millions. The registered trademark is recognized internationally.

Schwarz's impressive professional approach attracted Brome, who is now dedicated to the principles and practices of home staging. Brome points out that the three-day course offered by Schwarz is attended mostly by people who already have an innate ability to produce a streamlined environment. "She fine-tunes what you already know," Brome said about Schwarz.

Brome, a nurse by profession, claims she is neither a designer nor a decorator. But a peek at her work proves that she has the artist's eye for clean, inviting styles. "I've been doing this my whole life without realizing it," Brome reflects. Brome never enjoyed her work the way she does now, she admits, and designing comes easily to her.

A sample of Brome's expertise is on display in Newport Life Magazine's current issue of Home and Lifestyles. The magazine featured local architect Mary Meagher, with a picture of Meagher sitting in a tastefully fashioned sun room. The architect needed a sophisticated look for the photography shoot at her home, and called on Brome for help. Brome responded with a ready-for-publication design that pleased both Meagher and the magazine staff.

For years, Brome volunteered to organize the annual June festival at Central Baptist Church. People would question her about all the time she spent in the basement of the church sorting out piles of donations. "I did it every year because I loved getting in there and cleaning it out," she laughs.

When she learned about home staging, Brome looked around and saw that no one else was offering the service locally. Since becoming professionally certified, Brome does not stop at homes for sale. She stages settings for any occasion, from an open house to parties.

Brome is listed on the Internet at www.stagedhomes.com. To contact her, call 787-3261 or send e-mail to mbrome@verizon.net.

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