Vail Valley Habitat offers low-cost staging alternative |

Vail Valley Habitat offers low-cost staging alternative

CVR Habitat home KA 8-30-11

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – It’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you show it to people.

In the real estate industry, that’s called staging, and it’s what happens when people get their place all dolled up so someone will buy it or rent it.

This is not a new concept, but staging is the newest project for Habitat for Humanity.

Staging can cost a breathtaking amount of money … or not.

The local Habitat for Humanity affiliate has this store in Eagle where people donate really great stuff. The Habitat folks sell it and use the money to build houses for the area’s low income residents.

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It’s the whole karmic circle of life.

But we were talking about staging, and how Habitat for Humanity is getting into the business.

It went like this …

A local family owns an empty two bedroom/two bathroom condo on Bellflower street, in West Vail’s Intermountain neighborhood.

They wanted to rent it, but it was empty. Everyone who looked at it indicated a preference for furnishings, places to lie down or sit down.

Furniture costs all kinds of money, and it’s tough to recoup that kind of investment in a rental property.

They knew some folks from Habitat for Humanity, who have every sort of house stuff you can imagine.

“We carry everything including the kitchen sink,” said Jean Klein, who helps run Habitat’s Outlet store in Eagle.

Habitat offered to stage it for $5,000. The owners gave them a budget of $3,000 and they took the gig.

And for $3,000 they made the place look great.

“Our mission was to fill this house with what we had. We didn’t buy one single thing. Everything came from the store,” Klein said.

There’s a rug from Slifer Designs. The dining room from chairs came from Mickey’s, when Vail Resorts leased that space to Denver-based steakhouse chain. The dining room table came from the Wildflower.

The leather sofa came from somewhere wonderful.

The drapes came into the store and were too long for the condo.

Ruth Powers took them home, hemmed them and brought them back. Now they’re perfect.

Tuesday morning they packed up a three-story condo in Singletree. The owner is selling and the buyer offered a few hundred dollars for everything in the house.

It’s a better deal all around for the owner to donate everything to Habitat for Humanity, which she did. The seller gets the tax deductions; the buyer gets his new house cleared out.

The Habitat crew packed up everything Tuesday morning. Most of it went to the Habitat store. Some of it went to that Intermountain condo to help make it prettier.

If someone spent $3,000 on staging, they could sell the home faster and make their money back while they do it, Klein said.

Most people, when they walk through an empty house, don’t see where furnishings and accessories are supposed to go. That’s why developers always have furnished models for prospective buyers to wander through, Klein said.

“We can have it turn-key ready so that the person moving in doesn’t have to bring much besides their toothbrush,” Klein said.

For under $5,000 they can make a three-bedroom turn-key ready, Klein said. They can probably do a four-bedroom house for around $10,000, she said.

That includes delivery and set-up. It doesn’t include appliances.

“We can do as little or as much as anyone wants,” Klein said.

They can do everything because they have everything, beginning with concrete for the foundation and shingles for the roof, and everything that goes in it.

“We don’t sell clothes and we don’t sell food, but we have everything else,” Klein said.

Habitat for Humanity launched its store several years ago with a series of monthly garage sales. From there, they opened their store Gypsum and are now in Eagle on Chambers Avenue.

“The new store has exceeded expectations. We are ahead of projections and we had some pretty aggressive projections,” Klein said.

The money stays right here.

The local Habitat affiliate has built 29 homes in the local community with the help of volunteer groups, discounted professional services, family participation, donors and event sponsors. Their work has helped house 92 children.

Founded in 1995, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties has lately much of its energy on its Fox Hollow project in Edwards. By the time the Fox Hollow project is completed in the next year or so, the local group will have completed 35 homes and more than 110 children.

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