Professional House Stager Shares Tips on Creating a Space Buyers Will Love

Krista Price Designs
Krista Price Designs

Krista Price is something of a Jill of all trades. She parlayed years of theater experience into a successful house staging and remodeling business.

Wait, what? You read that right; Price is a theater teacher as well as the owner of Krista Price Designs.

“My degree is in theater,” she said, noting “in theater, the skills of doing things inexpensively but having it look like a million bucks is very much what I do (with my business). Theater helped with those skills.”

Price bought her first house in Grand Rapids while in her 20s, but took a job in Detroit soon after and bought a fixer-upper property there.

Krista Price suggests spending time decluttering your home to help potential buyers imagine the space.
Krista Price suggests spending time decluttering your home to help potential buyers imagine the space.

“I did a lot of the fix-up work on my own,” she said. “A friend was in the process of remodeling homes and said you should come work for me.”

Price quickly built her business from there, mostly through word of mouth. Today, Price offers a plethora of services, from layout and design consultations to full house staging to partnering on remodeling projects and more. She regularly partners with Val Placencia of Michigan Property Buyers on remodels.

“There are people who hire me to consult on layout and design, fixtures and finishes, contractors and house flippers, and sometimes realtors bring me in for staging,” she explained.

She added, “It’s been really fun building a business when I didn’t really anticipate going in that direction. I love doing it.”

Kitchens and bathrooms are worth the extra time and investment.
Kitchens and bathrooms are worth the extra time and investment.

Price said her favorite projects have been the most dramatic ones.

“A lot of times when you are buying houses to remodel you are buying the ones no one wants,” she said. “With Val, he and I have done a ton of hoarder houses. There is one in Rochester Hills that we did – unbelievably horrific conditions inside this house – and to be able to remodel that and have it be just gorgeous in the end is really rewarding.

“On the Grand Rapids side, I’m finishing up one that I’ve been working on for a year and a half, it’s also a hoarder house, originally. I took the roof off and added a second story and that was a rewarding project. It was a big one and has taken a while.”

With spring finally starting to show itself, GR|MAG asked Price to share some tips for sellers that she thinks can help add value to their home.

  • Light landscaping including planting flowers and adding fresh wood chips can take your front yard from drab to fab.
  • Rent a carpet cleaner or hire a carpet cleaning service to take the dinge out of your worn out fibers.
  • Give your rooms an instant facelift with a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware and light fixtures.
  • Finish up little projects you’ve been putting off.
  • Declutter your spaces to help buyers imagine their future life in the home
  • Hire a staging consultant to do a walkthrough and make suggestions or ask a friend to walk through your home and give you feedback on things you might not have noticed.

Price said for sellers able to invest a little more on their homes, the kitchen and bathrooms should get the most attention. “It is true what they say about kitchens and bathrooms,” she said. “That is where you want to spend a little more to make it feel updated.”

She added, “You don’t have to gut the whole bathroom necessarily, sometimes just painting a cabinet and putting a new top on it or a new faucet can make a big difference.”

Price said people are often surprised by what a little creative thinking can do to update a space.

She also said sellers should keep their updates classic to create the greatest appeal. “Most of the remodels I do I keep it pretty classic and punch up the style in the décor, (such as) pillows and furniture pieces, more style there, but keep the fixtures more classic. A subway tile or something more timeless will appeal to more buyers.”

With the Grand Rapids housing market as tight as it’s been, some home buyers are finding they have to purchase a house at the higher end of their budget, leaving less money for fixing up spaces in their new home that need attention.

Price has some suggestions for them as well:

  • Live in your newly purchased home for a bit and figure out what you really need to update and what you might actually find you can live with.
  • Aside from that, figure out which space you most want to feel like home and focus on that space first. It’s different for everyone.
  • Think economically. You don’t have to spend top dollar to renovate a space.
  • Take the first step. You won’t really know what the cost range is until you take the first step and get some quotes.
  • Take the DIY approach. Consider buying products from Home Depot or Lowes and doing the work yourself to save some money.

Whether you are buying or selling your home this spring, make it a space to fall in love with.

“Staging isn’t about being able to sell your house, it’s about getting $3 for every $1 you spend,” Price said. “Staging is about setting the stage for a way life that people fall in love with and have to have. People are willing to spend more if they get a feeling about the house and it’s not a house about numbers – three bedrooms, two bathrooms, or specific square footage.”

*Photos courtesy of Krista Price Designs

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