Oh how the stinging debate over home staging rages on! People have surprisingly strong opinions about it, from intensely against it, stating that staging is simply a Realtor ploy to strip more cash from seller’s pockets and deceive buyers by “covering up issues”, to Realtors adamantly insisting that a home simply won’t sell unless it has been professionally staged.
In my opinion the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Do I stage homes? Yes, I usually do. And I know that many homeowners can successfully stage their homes for a sale with a little guidance, often without paying a huge fee to a professional designer. Real people must be cautious with their money, making the decision to invest in their home reselling process after careful consideration.
Here is the real bottom line. Any seller is leaving his home after having spent much time there, comfortably going about his daily business. This typically takes a toll on a home and it’s contents, making a “fresh” start a very good idea. Think about it, if you visited a luxury hotel where the furniture and accessories were clearly “lived in” you might be a tad put off. Your future buyers will feel the same way when they visit your home.
Think of selling your home from this same perspective. Particularly since 2013 when builders resumed building gorgeous new homes in Orange County, buyers are becoming accustomed to touring homes that are beautifully lit and decorated by the best designers money can buy. And now that technology has made it easy for buyers to “virtually” tour homes, they are being bombarded with pretty, glossy images of luxury homes every few minutes. This is your new reality and your very real competition – whether or not those homes are in your neighborhood.
But effective home staging is much more than just filling spaces with attractive, trendy furnishings. A good stager will consider the age and architectural style of the home, the likely target buyer demographic and of course, the seller’s budget. Good staging will actually disappear, allowing a buyer to walk through your home, seeing the merits of the home NOT the pretty furniture. Yes, all items should be newer and in good, clean condition. This is precisely so they do not distract a buyer from seeing the home.
For example, let’s say you’re selling your home on the Back Bay. Ideally, a buyer will tour your home, wander back to the living room and unconsciously sink into the neutral, yet comfortable, sofa which has been strategically placed to capture the magnificent view. The windows are all spotlessly clean, so the buyer is not distracted by any filmy streaks. And the home’s interior is also well light, either naturally or otherwise, so that the environment feels like it is both within and without the home.
Does this require priceless works of art and Stiffel lamps? No, of course not. But it may well require smaller pieces of furniture than you would normally live with to make the rooms feel larger, and possibly strategically placed mirrors to amplify the view as much as possible.
At the very least, when a home seller simply has no budget for staging, I will recommend these following strategies:
- Fresh, neutral paint throughout
- Pressure wash and possibly paint the front door
- Deep clean all windows and the roof
- Freshly mown lawn, trimmed shrubs, and mulch or decorative bark in planters
- Remove all heavy and/or colorful draperies and replace with simple neutral panels
- Allow me to come “redesign” with the furnishings you already own
In some cases, we can get by with what you already own. In other cases, I’ll suggest you meet with a few staging professionals to see what else can be done. In no case should the cost to stage not pay for itself. If you could likely sell for $900,000 “as is” and after $20,000 in staging only sell for $925,000 then it may not make sense. Once size does not fit all.
That’s why you hire me. I will collaborate on your specific plan and help you save money during this important process.