The bottles of sparkling water are set on the kitchen counter, in just the right spot.
The flowers and the book are strategically placed on the coffee table to give that feel of class and elegance.
No detail is too small.
Vicki Lerch’s job is to make a house more inviting to potential buyers. And according to her peers, Lerch is pretty good at what she does.
Lerch, the owner of Sold On Staging and president of the Real Estate Staging Association of B.C., was recently honoured as one of the top 10 professional vacant home stagers in Canada.
Realtors or homeowners — or their adult children — contact Lerch when they want to add a professional touch.
“You want to be able to help them market their house so it sells faster and when it sells faster it generally sells for the price you want,” Lerch said last week. “What staging is, basically, is connecting people on an emotional level. When people buy a home, they buy a little bit with their wallet, but when most people buy a home they buy with their heart rather than their head.”
Lerch will do an initial consultation for $299 (for a 2,000 square foot home). She will supply the client with notes from that meeting, ideas to help stage a home. That client can take those notes and do it themselves or work with Lerch on other options. Some people might want to stage the whole house, while others might just want to concentrate on a few rooms.
“As long as you stage the main rooms, that’s where you want to spend your money — the living room, the master bedroom and first impressions,” said Lerch. “It’s really important to stage the right rooms if you’re not staging the whole house. Staging is an investment — it depends on what your budget is.”
Clients, which include developers looking to stage their show homes, can decide to have Lerch bring in everything that’s needed for a professional staging. She keeps a warehouse full of items.
“I have everything from face cloths right up to high-end sofas and everything in between,” she said.
On this day, Lerch is showing a reporter around a 9,000 square foot home she has staged in Parksville. There are big and small items placed strategically throughout the house, including little, yellow, rubber boots near one of the exits. We’re talking expensive, little, yellow, boots because, as Lerch explained, one is not going to use dollar-store-type items for a house that’s likely to sell for just under $2 million.
Lerch recently returned from Las Vegas where she picked up more pointers at a stagers’ convention. Her B.C. association has about 100 members, 10 on the Island, a branch that’s less than one year old.
You can reach Lerch by calling 250-927-0331 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is at www.soldonstaging.ca.