How you live in your home is not always how you sell your home. We hear more and more about how home staging can help sell your home faster and for more money. The National Association of Realtors study has found that 77% of buyers find it easier to visualize a property as a future home if it is staged, and 40% of those who see a staged home online would be more willing to go to a showing of that home. 31% of Agents felt that staged homes sold for 1%-5% more.
So should you stage your home when you sell it? Where do you start? What is most important? Be aware up front that staging is the icing on the cake. It is not the cake. Before you consider staging, make sure you take care of needed or deferred repairs to the home, clean the home and de-clutter the home. You are selling the house, not your stuff! Also know that staging is not a license to make up for a big pricing error.
Here are some guidelines:
- Clean and repair first. Windows, carpet and grout, wood rot, cracks and leaky faucets that a buyer will see first need to be addressed.
- Create warm living areas, and return rooms to their original use. Having a desk/office area in the master bedroom is a big mistake that I often see. This tells the buyer there is no area in your house to have an office, and it crowds out the space in the bedroom that should be a retreat from the computer and phone.
- Don’t forget, it is all about the buyer. Consider the demographic of the buyer who will be looking at your house, and appeal to that buyer.
- Bright and light! Remove sunscreens that make a room dark, and make sure there is adequate light. Consider paint colors that would make the room look brighter.
- Create the illusion of space. Removal of big heavy furniture pieces in a small room, or pull furniture away from the walls in an area you want to make into a cozy living area. Balance the furniture placement in the room. Don’t have all the furniture on one side of the room.
- Find a focal point in your home, and make sure you feature it! You want the buyer to emotionally connect to your home.
- Open the flow so the buyer will want to walk into and through the space. No furniture maze to negotiate!
- Living rooms, kitchen and master bedrooms are the most important to stage.
- Keep to the cosmetic, know when to STOP.
Here is an example of a before and after:
The focal point of the room is the french doors that open out to the garden. The goal is to create an open visual path to that focal point, and make the room look like one big room. Consistent flooring all the way through, the desk area on the end pulled out of the way, removal of excess furniture and furniture placement opens up the room. Now the buyer will walk across the room to check out the view without dodging and weaving. Cost: the carpet. Money well spent.
So how do you manage your decision to stage? First think about a budget. What are you willing to spend? What I do with a client who is interested in staging is to build a plan to address buyer excuse issues. Once we have a list of options, we can prioritize and make a decision on how to go forward. Like I said before, repairs, cleaning and pricing have to be right before we can begin.