We had a great lunch event with Spade and Archer last month. Spade and Archer is a top staging company with offices in Portland and Seattle, and I really love their work. In case you missed the event, I interviewed Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer’s founder and owner. Here are a few of his thoughts about staging and his business.
How did Spade and Archer get started?
I received a degree in interior architecture from the University of Hawaii and then spent years working with high-rises and in construction project management. After the economy crashed in 2009, I could see that my job was in jeopardy. I thought about what I wanted to do for a living, and home staging was it. I started the business right then, which was fortunate because the layoff came several months later. We’re now in our ninth year and are continuing to grow.
How is Spade and Archer different from a typical staging company?
With traditional staging, the longer the house is on the market, the more the client pays the staging company. We don’t care for that model because we don’t think it’s right. We’re the only company that offers guaranteed home staging. We don’t get paid until you sell your home. If it doesn’t work out, we give you back your deposit and you don’t owe us a dime. We take all the risk out of home staging because we believe in the value of what we do.
Why does it matter what staging company I hire?
Realtors® often ask us if we can just put a chair in the corner and put up some artwork. We say no! I don’t want to get paid to do my job poorly. Hire a home stager that does a great job, and then trust them to do that job.
We’ve found that over the past eight years, the homes we stage consistently sell about 86% faster and for 12% more. Home staging is an investment that really pays off when it’s done right.
What are some staging principals you think are important?
We don’t use any fakery—no blow-up mattresses, fake TV screens, or fake plants. When everything you see is fake, it’s a reminder that your home can’t look like this. We strive for homes that look authentic, somewhere between obtainable and aspirational. We want people to walk in, think someone actually lives at that home, and believe that it’s obtainable for them.
We achieve this aesthetic by including a lot of vintage pieces. We also coordinate our pieces rather than use matching items.
Our rooms are color coordinated. When people see so many houses in a day, we want them to be able to easily remember and talk about our rooms. You may see a red bedroom and a blue living room, which are much easier to talk about than a beige bedroom and a beige living room. People remember and talk about our projects, and that makes them easy to sell.
The bottom line is that we think about the buyers and what they want to see, and we stage accordingly.
Why is home staging worth the cost?
The idea that home staging is expensive is a myth. Not staging a home is what’s expensive because you’re leaving money on the table. The return on investing in using us is better than any stock you’ll ever find. If you found a stock that gives you a 5 to 7% return on your investment in thirty days, you’d buy that stock, right?
How long does home staging take?
It really does take an entire day to stage a house. We think about even the smallest details, right down to ironing all of the sheets. We want everything to look perfect, and that takes a lot of trucks and manpower.
If you’re planning to sell, especially in the spring, it’s never too early to call and set up staging. In fact, it can be too late if you wait too long.
Thanks so much to Justin for giving us some insider details on the fascinating world of home staging! If you’re interested in learning more about how staging can help your listings sell faster and for more money, give Spade and Archer a call at (503) 766-5972 or email [email protected]