Making a Good Impression Small Touches Enhance Curb Appeal

When a celebrity or public figure stands out and charms the public, he or she is said to have charisma—an elusive quality, often described as personality, magnetism, charm or appeal. Whatever you call it, it's highly desirable, thoughtfully cultivated, and not limited to human beings; properties can also be appealing in their own way. In today’s recovering, but still less-than-robust economy, making a good impression at the curb can make all the difference in a quick and profitable sale.

Setting the Stage

So how do condominium and homeowner associations, property management companies, real estate professionals, and individuals lay on the charm? It isn’t rocket science, but it is a science of sorts, and the good news is this elusive quality is available for everyone, regardless of time, talents or budgets.

Don’t bother to look up charisma when it comes to real estate properties—instead look for staging, and prepare for a wealth of information to make your property attractive for those who already call it home, and enticing to those shopping for a new location. The term staging goes back forty years, and like many great innovations, staging was born of necessity to address the very real challenge of showing a property at its best and most appealing.

In the 1970s, Barb Schwarz was new to the real estate industry. She soon discovered a common problem that still persists today; listing properties for sale when those properties do not show well. Sometimes an owner is objective enough to realize the property’s shortfalls, but other times it can be a painful education process for the realtor involved. Schwarz soon went to work developing a system to help sellers make the most of their apartments and homes. While working with a client whose home had been on the market with another agent for six months without positive results, Schwarz launched a plan to stage the home like the individual scenes in a theater production. “Every room is different, so we did a different scene in every room.” The client cooperated, the concept worked, and a new industry was born.

Schwarz was soon staging other homes, and reaping the benefits as a real estate agent. Almost immediately, she moved on to writing the bestselling book Home Staging, the Winning Way to Sell Your Home for More Money, and teaching other agents her system for staging homes and commercial properties. Today, she's the founder and CEO of, and the founder and president of The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP), When Schwarz speaks with HOAs and COAs, she starts with a two-part approach. First, she tells those involved to put away their checkbooks, “It’s not about spending money,” she explains. “Most changes can be made inexpensively and achieve worthwhile results.”


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