Staging a home is an important part of selling it. It’s not the magic bullet that will sell your home all by itself. But, combined with the right price, excellent photography and marketing, staging helps you sell your home for top dollar and in the shortest time. It directs prospective buyers to what they are looking for in a home – space, light and lifestyle. To be clear, home staging is part of a larger process involving the preparation and marketplace positioning of your home.
Staging starts with the normal decluttering, depersonalizing, and deep cleaning preparations along with any necessary repairs. Stagers are going to require that the home has been cleaned prior to moving nice furniture, rugs, artwork, and nick/knacks. That makes sense as you would not want them moving dirty furniture, rugs and art into your home….that would be counterproductive.
Staging is the presentation of your home to the broader marketplace and potential buyers. This presentation happens long before buyers actually step foot in the home. We want the buyer to see the property online and result in them actually coming to the home to see it in person. Staging enhances the photography appearance and in combination with a well thought out marketing plan that includes advertising spend…will drive buyers to the home. This is important as over 97% of buyers see homes online before having their agent show the home.
When buyers show up to the home they will see the home as it was presented online. This is important as our product & seller brand has established a level of trust. We put something online and when they showed up we fulfilled that promise. Without either of the parties knowing we have made a deposit into the buyer’s emotional goodwill account from which we can make a withdrawal later. This helps me as a seller’s agent get you to a smoother settlement if there is a wrinkle with one of the contingencies.
Staging focuses on the space and the property’s potential. It has nothing to do with a seller’s personal taste or how the seller thinks the home should be used. Rather, staging is a visual presentation of the home done so that the buyer does not have to process information or ask themselves questions about the space. We are controlling the buyer’s focus & presentation of the home. We are not leaving that task for the buyer’s agent. For example, if a living room near an entry was not staged a buyer could be asking themselves “how do I use the space” “will my furniture fit” “will I have to buy furniture” “Is the room large enough?” When staged properly many of these often silent questions are answered or minimized as people go with the flow especially if they like what they see.
Just as important and in some cases even more importantly staging distracts eyeballs away from detractors in the home. Every home has some feature or issue that is not that appealing. For example, popcorn ceilings, functional obsolescence in older homes..ie small kitchens or dining space, and other blemishes. Not that anything is being covered up, rather we are controlling the focus and minimizing the importance of blemishes that would have been the primary focus had the property not been staged. This Results in a better showing experience for the buyer based on the property potential rather than turning on a subliminal calculator in the buyer’s mind that keeps adding items or expenses as they move through the home.
For example, If you bring me to an empty room with popcorn ceilings and no furniture I would scrutinize the wall condition and my eyes would be drawn to the ceiling. Then I would add the cost to repair walls and remove the ceiling. What is worse is that I would then be hunting throughout the rest of the house doing the same.
I normally recommend the entry area, living room, kitchens, primary bedrooms and primary baths as well as any other space that need to be featured or may create questions in a buyer’s mind.
Many real estate blogs try to put an ROI on staging. They fail to point out that Staging is an investment by the seller but it is a joint investment in the home selling process. Meaning the agent is investing into paid advertising and marketing efforts to broadcast the home to relevant eyeballs. So to apply an roi solely on staging is a little short sighted. Having an agent who recommends the right staging company and remains focused on the marketing is important as the staging is part of a larger marketing plan.
You can expect staging companies to have a contract. They will require a deposit prior to delivering furniture. Many companies charge the move in and move out upfront. They will also charge the first month’s rental fee as well. When we get past contract contingencies and know that the closing will occur we schedule the staging removal immediately.
So in summary:
- Staging is an investment that is part of the larger process of Preparation, Promoting, and pricing plan. When all are in alignment, that is when we see the benefit.
- A staged home – Builds trust as we are delivering what we promised online. When the buyer shows up after seeing the home online; they are pleasantly surprised and our mutual brand gets instant credibility.
- Staging Is a presentation: meaning it helps control the buyer’s focus when they are in the home and minimizes the focus on blemishes or other property detractors.
- Work with an established dedicated staging company. The more furniture a staging company has the better as they can pull something from their inventory to highlight the space and show the true potential of the home
Staging is a powerful tool and should absolutely be leveraged in conjunction with other aspects of the selling process – high quality photography, aerial video, effective marketing, and proper pricing. Staging creates trust, directs focus to the property’s potential, and minimizes focus on home detractors. Also remember that staging is only part of the entire home selling process so make sure you have an agent who can lead you through every step of the way.
If you have any questions about staging or would like to learn more about the home selling process please give me a call at 571.228.4159.