Is staging necessary to sell your home?

In this market where almost everyone is losing money, I would say yes, absolutely. How we live, is not how we well.  And I am not saying that because I am a stager. Staged house is more than just a decorated home, it is a neutral house which helps buyers picture themselves there. Staging, if well done, showcases the best of your house, demonstrates its value and evokes a positive feeling in buyers. It increases the perceived value of the property. A staged home will look better on marketing photos as well which is really what will drive traffic to your listing. In the era of HGTV most buyers want a ready made home where they can move in and be done.

Photo: HDS Design

This room was just too dark, getting the right paint color took some effort but completely changed the room.

Photo: HDS Design

Could you do it yourself? There are lists out there online (Houzz has a great list here) and surely it’s not rocket science: edit the clutter, organize and make things look pretty! It is so important to bring someone else in because you, however great your taste) are no longer able to see your home without bias. I’ll let you in on a little secret, when we sold our last house, the realtor brought in a stager! I almost had a heart attack, how dare she! And while she only suggested a few changes, boy that was a hard pill to swallow until I realized that while having my desk by the wall gave me the privacy I needed, moving to a different location made that area appear twice the size. It’s little things sometimes but these are things you can’t see objectively because you live there every day and are used to the way your home looks but it may not resonate with potential buyers. Staging is not a DIY sport – you need a professional to objectively assess your home.

This was a home office and while it worked just fine for the owners, the buyers of this particular home were surely going to be a family with children and needed a playroom more than a massive office. The heavy brown furniture and orange wall paint also needed to go.

Photo: HDS Design

After: fresh coat of paint, better lighting and different layout turned this room into a bright and cheery room where both younger kids and teenagers could hang out.

Photo: HDS Design

If your home is empty, you should stage at least some rooms such as dining, master, and family room. People have a tough time visualizing themselves and their furniture in the space. If the room is empty, they might think it is too small for their furniture or doesn’t have enough space to entertain etc. Stager can also help you figure out how to best use awkward spaces in your house and they will know what buyers are looking for.

Photo: HDS Design

The negatives of staging are that it takes money when you are already likely to take a hit on your house. But then again, it sure is cheaper than your next price cut. It’s a not a fun process: someone comes in and rearranges your house, until it doesn’t quite look like yours. Your life will be temporarily upended. It can be time-consuming, if you haven’t organized and edited your belongings, shifting though decades of stuff is time consuming and often overwhelming for sellers.

The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) found that staged homes spent 72% less time on the market. And while staging may not help sell your house for more money or even for the amount you are asking, it will in a vast majority of cases help sell the house faster. Paying for mortgage while the house sits on the market, constantly getting ready for showings and cleaning non-stop is so stressful and costly. Empty house doesn’t look, owner decorated house can still look off and cluttered. If you are not hiring a stager in this market, you are throwing away time and money. Staging is more than just decorating.

 

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