Tag Archives: real estate

Spoiled by PsycINFO

31 May

Ted and I are in the process of showing our house to potential buyers, meaning we spend a lot of time vacuuming and wondering what possessed us to choose long-haired cats instead of more practical pets like naked mole rats.

Oh wait, now I remember.

As per the holy wisdom of HGTV’s Designed to Sell, we’ve put a lot of time, money, and effort into staging our house (thanks again, by the way, to all the friends who helped us whip this place into shape!). Everything has been ruthlessly scrubbed, art and artificial plants are everywhere, the yard and garden look like someone actually cares about them,  the deck looks like someone actually uses it, all minor repairs have been made, and all evidence that real, slightly strange people live here has been erased as thoroughly as possible. There was no hiding my pet newt Spike, but hopefully people will just think he’s a deformed fish or something. Spike, UNLIKE our CATS, values our home-selling efforts and does not deposit hairs everywhere. Cats have a reputation for being imitative learners, so I make a point of complimenting Spike on his thoughtfulness whenever they’re around.

One thing I’ve realized as a product of house-staging is just how much I’ve come to rely on research to inform my decisions. Not just clinical decisions, although that’s where my research addiction began… we’re talking everyday, mundane issues. Should I be taking Omega 3 supplements? I’ll check PubMed. I don’t really feel like exercising. Is there any research that would justify me not exercising? (Not really, as it turns out. Maybe it’s just a matter of time?) This article says the “obesity epidemic” is overblown. What does the literature say? How does Ted’s and my retirement savings plan compare to the national average? Better see what I can pull up with Academic Search Premier. Don’t get me wrong – I’m as aware as anyone of the bias that can lurk in even the most objective-sounding study, and I’ve toyed with statistical software enough to know that you can often get the answers you’re looking for with enough prodding. Then again, “truth” is rarely clear-cut, and my faith in science as the best possible approximation of “truth” is still very much intact. My doctoral program has instilled a near-pathological need for empirical support in my brain, and with anecdotal methods still yielding less-than-accurate information (for example, our realtor insisted that we remove a peacock feather from its decorative location in our house because it would “bring bad luck”), I have yet to find a better source to guide my choices.

So you can imagine my disappointment when my search for controlled studies of how different house staging techniques affect buyer response yielded nothing. The only stuff I was able to dig up involved surveys of realtors (I might as well just watch HGTV) or comparisons of sale statistics for staged versus unstaged houses… funded, may I add, by the completely impartial Real Estate Staging Association. How’s a girl supposed to maximize sale potential in a research wasteland like this? I’ve been baking cookies like a fiend to make the house smell nice, but for all science knows, that could be totally pointless. It’s times like this that make me want to abandon my position of being a consumer, not a producer, of research… to get out there and answer important questions with the crushing power of SCIENCE!

But then I think about how much I hate SPSS. And who would fund a controlled study of house staging techniques, anyway? (The Real Estate Staging Association, duh.)

Anyone out there with loads of extra cash and a keen understanding of stats feel like doing some studies on home staging? I can provide cookies.


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