Staging Your Property for the Real Estate Market
When selling a property, the questions that go through a seller’s mind is always how are we going to sell quickly for the most amount of money? How can we compete against the other homes on the market? Should we consider staging? Is staging worth the time and expense?
If you have ever watched HGTV, you’ve probably seen shows on home selling and staged properties. Property staging has been around for more than 20 years but more recently has become a serious marketing tool for selling homes. Why? Because it works. That’s the whole point of home staging in the first place — to present your home in the best possible light. If you do this, buyers will be more likely to make an offer.
Staging a house means taking the time and investing the money up front to prepare the property for market. The National Realtor Association states that every $100.00 spent on staging a $400.00 return is made. Trying to see what a buyer sees in your home can be tough, but getting that glimpse is extremely important for preparing your home for sale.
When buyers walk through your home, they are making observations on various levels. They obviously need to make the emotional connection to the home where they feel comfortable. The emotional connection happens within the first 3 minutes of being in your home. They will also make sure the home meets all their needs from a structural standpoint (size, layout, number of rooms etc.). Savvy buyers will be looking for clues that indicate the true conditions of the home.
If you stage your house effectively, it will give buyers the impression of a well-maintained home. The first step in any home-staging plan are the basic repairs. You start by fixing what’s broken. This is the bare minimum. After that, you move on to the cosmetic touches like painting, replacing outdated light fixtures, replacing the flooring etc. The result is that the house seems like it’s in tip-top shape. These improvements put a buyers’ mind at ease, which is exactly what you want to accomplish in order to sell. Every buyer wants an easy transition. Moving is stressful enough. The last thing they want is to inherit a long list of repairs and upgrades. Staging your house well makes life easier for your buyers.
The second step in the staging process is packing. You want buyers to see the house as a good fit for their family. I often get the question what should I pack and what should stay? My answer: you don’t want them to see your family living in the home. If they see pictures of you everywhere, they’ll have a harder time making a personal connection to the home. The same goes for taste-specific decorating choices. Unusual paint colors and exotic knickknacks are fine when you are living in the home. But when you’re trying to sell it, you need to neutralize the decor. When you stage your house, you’re essentially removing yourself so that others may insert themselves.
You will have to pack up your belongings when you sell, so why not get a head start? By starting the pre-packing stage, you are also making your job easier when it comes to the move. You won’t have as many items to box up at the last minute.
The last step in the staging plan is the showcasing. This is where you get to get to make your home “Magazine Ready”. The art of home staging has a lot to do with space. You want to remove excess furniture and arrange the furniture in a way that maximizes usable space within the house. This gives the impression that the home is larger than it actually is. Have you ever walked through a home with minimal furniture and been amazed at how much space it had? But when you fill up that same house with over-sized furniture, knickknacks and other forms of clutter, it suddenly feels cramped. You may be surprised at how large your house seems all of a sudden. This is a common reaction among homeowners. And it’s a positive reaction among potential buyers. You never want buyers to feel like the home is cramped or crowded.
Staging doesn’t just occur on the inside. It happens on the outside as well. You’ve heard the phrase “curb appeal” before. This is the positive first impression people get when they pull up to your home. But you can’t achieve curb appeal unless you stage the house effectively.
You want buyers to be impressed with the property before they even step foot inside. This is a critical moment that will determine their attitude for the rest of the visit. It’s hard to overcome a bad first impression, even if the inside of the house is in prime condition. If you stage the house well, you’ll improve the exterior as well as the interior. Buyers will see your property in a positive frame of mind before they even walk through the front door.
Real estate agents walk through homes every day. This is especially true for the buyer agents, who might have to show dozens of homes to please their individual clients. Many of the homes the agents visit will be poorly staged. They’ll have oversized furniture, antiquated wallpaper, and shelves full of clutter. When an agent walks into a house that has been staged properly, they can get pretty excited about it. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.
As a seller, this is exactly what you want. You want the buyer’s agent to rave about your house. You want him or her to say things like, “This is so much nicer than the other homes we’ve looked at.” The agent’s excitement will rub off on the buyers, which increases the likelihood of a sale.
We just talked about real estate agents getting excited over a well-staged home, but the benefits of this goes beyond the agent’s buyers. Other agents will hear about your house as well. Word gets around quickly in the real estate world. The buyer’s agent will want to bring his or her other clients to your house as well. They’ll probably mention it to other agents working in their firm. This will increase the number of buyers who come out to see your home.
In order to enjoy this level of “buzz,” you need to stage your house before you try to sell it. Giving potential buyers a good first impression is your primary goal. Giving agents a good impression also helps sell your property.
There are only two ways to distinguish your home. You can price it below the competition or make it seem like a nicer home. If you do neither of these things, your house will probably be on the market for a long time. Staging can make all the difference in the real estate world, even if your home is priced the same as comparable properties that are for sale. You are giving the appearance of a better value.
So what makes your home stand out from the rest?