Staging Basics

It’s a cliché, but it’s true. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This especially applies when buying or selling a home. An appealing presentation of the home is critical to obtaining that positive first impression. This is where home staging can be a home seller’s best friend.

Home staging is the professional preparation of a home for sale that uses interior design and organization strategies to make that home as appealing to as many buyers as possible. It does this by neutralizing a home’s décor and demonstrating the best use of square footage. While this may sound like home decorating, it’s not. Home Staging is marketing. Keep in mind these two statistics: Only about 10% of potential homebuyers can visualize themselves and their own furnishings in a home for sale; 90% of buyers will put their furniture in exactly the same place as the previous owners.

Effective home staging helps the buyer realize the true value of a furnished or vacant home. The goal of staging is to increase mass appeal and justify the current asking price.

FURNISHED HOMES: While many Home Staging techniques are specific to the home’s décor and style, there are a few basic principles that can be used by all home sellers to increase their appeal:

– De-clutter! Remove all items from the refrigerator; take all items off your ktichen counters that are not used every day; keep all personal items off your bathroom vanity and store under the sink.

– Pack it up! Remove clothes from closets that are off-season to maximize available closet space; pack up family photos and other décor items that may put-off potential buyers (not every buyer will agree with the crucifix in the entry way or the rock posters in the bedroom or the beer signs in the basement).

– Curb appeal brings them in! Do everything you can to make your home look well cared for and updated from the outside. Re-paint front door and doorframe, use a nice welcome mat and perhaps a silk greenery arrangement in a colorful pot near the door and hang a tasteful (and seasonal) wreath.

– Help them SEE the value! Clean all windows, inside and out. The best way to add light to a room is to clean the windows. Clean windows tell a potential buyer that the seller pays attention to detail, which usually means the house has been well-maintained.

VACANT HOMES: An empty room will often appear smaller than an appropriately furnished room. For vacant homes, especially in a highly competitive price range, short-term rental of furniture and accessories is arranged for key areas. Many of my vacant and staged homes had been on the market for months (one as long as twelve months!) with no offers. After I brought in furniture and accessories for key areas, many of my sellers accepted an offer within weeks and closed less than 30 days later.

Keep in mind: The fee for home staging is less than your first price reduction. Give your listings the best chance to make a positive first impression today and see what a difference home staging can make.