The Importance of Staging Your Home To Show and Sell!
Your home is your castle and you should live comfortably and in your style. Then it all goes out the window when you decide to sell. If your goal is to optimize price and reduce market time, in any market and especially in a tough seller’s market you must take off the rose colored glasses and look at your home through the eyes of prospective buyers. You may think your home is beautifully decorated and filled with pretty things, but decorating should not be confused with staging to show and sell. Emotionally detaching from living in your beautiful home is not an easy process but that is what is needed to position your home for a successful sale.
Design-build firms and developers have long recognized the importance of staging a home to appeal to the aspirational buyer. Individual seller clients came to the party recently and often rely on the advice of their real estate agent on whether and how to stage their home. Some agents shun the staging concept as too much work and would prefer to advise on a bit of de-cluttering and the addition of an orchid or two. True staging is so much more. First and foremost, staging is about creating an environment that potential buyers walk into and say to themselves “I can see myself living here”. I’m lucky to have a secret weapon, Alyssa Ager, agent by day and designer by passion, who handles many of our staging projects.
1. What does your home say to potential buyers?
Your home speaks to you, but what is it saying to your potential buyer? Let your realtor or staging pro take the reigns on how to stage your home to appeal to the widest possible group of buyers. You might love mint chocolate chip but there’s a reason vanilla is the top choice in ice cream. Think vanilla. Think neutral. It’s not personal. You get to take all of your treasured possessions with you to your next home. Allow your current home to capture the eye of a buyer who might just fall in love because they can imagine themselves living happily in your home.
2. Be relentless about purging the clutter!
Every surface, closet, bookcase, and shelf should be free of clutter. Clean countertops and organized closets show space, and buyers will read into this: loads of storage space. What is left should be artfully arrayed if on display and ready for inspection by a marine drill sergeant if inside a closet. No place to put the stuff? BinSwap is your new best friend. There’s no better way to declutter before listing your house then get BinSwap involved; they deliver big red bins, you pack, they pick up and store. Need those holiday decorations or 40 of your favorite DVD’s? BinSwap will deliver them to you the next day!
3. A coat of paint goes a long way.
Grey is the new white and there are about as many shades of each. It is as important to pick the right shade of grey, greige or white as it is to do the painting. Neutral speaks the siren song to homebuyers, who upon moving into their new home may opt for Periwinkle Blue but when househunting it’s all about soothing neutral tones. If you cannot bear the thought of going totally vanilla pick one room to speak to you but make it the powder room, your office, or the spare bedroom.
4. Embrace your stager
(and your agent who is working hard to make sure your home shows beautifully
and that there are no hurt feelings!)
It’s tough enough to know you are about to open your home to a bunch of strangers who will parade through with a critical eye, and now you have to hear about all the things that are ‘wrong’ with your home. Remember there is no wrong or right. Your home should be all about you until you list for sale and then it’s all about the buyer. Your stager and agent have your best interests at heart. If your goal is to sell your home for top dollar and in as short a time as is possible for the market conditions then it’s time to embrace change. I often tell clients I would have to move out of my house in order to sell it – between clutter and 2 dogs I definitely do not follow my own staging advice and I am empathetic on this topic.
5. Set a budget.
I have staged homes for a total of $500 and a lot of sweat equity and have staged homes on a budget of $5000 per month. A number of clients still talk about the furniture I moved from my home to theirs in order to stretch their budget. A good stager, or an agent with an eye for design, can work magic with any budget and it’s important to be realistic.