Staging a Property for a Quick and Profitable Sale
Good staging lets buyers imagine themselves in the home; shows off its good features and hides its flaws; turns weird spaces into usable spaces; creates mood (emotional staging); and makes the home look significantly better in photos. Staging is not decorating since decorating is about personal style while staging makes your home appealing to the largest pool of buyers. Buyers aren’t just looking for a structure to inhabit, but for ways to fulfill their dreams and improve their lifestyles.
Home staging refers to the act of preparing a property for sale on the real estate market. Staging is designed to showcase a home’s best assets, impress buyers, and sell it quickly for the highest possible price. When dealing with such a significant financial transaction as selling a home, you don’t want to settle for a lower selling price or longer marketing period than you have to. Staging is a highly profitable project with a great return on investment in terms of time and money.
If you are selling an empty home, in most cases you or your real estate agent will need to call in a professional home stager to bring in furniture and home decor to set up the space. If you plan to live in your home during the selling process, most real estate agents recommend using your existing furniture and home decor to keep cost low. A top agent experienced in home staging will be able to walk into your home and help you compile a list of everything you’ll need to do to stage your home.
There was a time when simple decluttering and some light painting was enough. Today’s trends include a more thorough process of depersonalizing, improving overall condition and even landscaping.
White boxing is about removing everything from a property and showing an empty space of just bare floors and white walls. For homes that are not in the best shape—whether damaged, neglected, or aged—white boxing can be a good strategy. Virtual staging companies can help increase traffic to listings, raise the sales price of the property, and catch more seller leads who are impressed with the product.
The median cost for most staging services is $600, although that can fluctuate greatly depending on the scope of the project. Sometimes you can simply pay for a consultation and DIY the rest, or sometimes staging is included as a part of a package when working with a seller’s agent.
When staging a home for sale, living rooms are considered the most important, followed by kitchens, master bedrooms, and dining rooms (respectively). Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of people staging a home office.
Home staging can turn around a sale that otherwise wasn’t moving. It draws more buyers in from online listing photos and makes the home look like a space that Pottery Barn would feature in a catalog. The National Association of Realtors 2023 Profile of Home Staging founds these statistics when it comes to the benefits of staging.
NAR reported that 40% of potential buyers went to see homes they saw online but weren’t planning on seeing after being enticed by how they looked after being staged. It makes it easier for potential buyers to envision themselves in the home if it's seen as "move-in ready." When looking to stage a home, options include DIY, working with a real estate agent, or hiring a professional staging company.
By making a home more appealing to potential buyers, staging can increase the dollar value offered and ultimately result in a higher sale price, with nearly 20% of seller’s agents reporting an increase in dollar value offered by buyers, ranging from 1-5%.
The report also found that 20% of potential buyers increased their offer on a staged property from 1-5%, compared to similar but unstaged homes.
By making a home more attractive to potential buyers, there’s usually an increase the number of showings and offers. According to this NAR Report, staging can reduce a home's time on the market by one third to half, although the exact amount of time saved may vary depending on the property and local market conditions. In general, staged homes tend to sell faster than non-staged homes, often in a matter of weeks rather than months.
Staging made 81% of potential buyers more able to imagine themselves living in the house. That connection is essential for purchase: Buyers don’t put in an offer unless they feel emotionally invested in a property; staging helps them get there.
To create an effective staging plan, start by analyzing the property and target audience. Consider the size and layout of the home, its special features, and the condition of its walls and floors. Take note of the color of the walls and the style of the existing furniture and décor.
Understanding the target audience's age, lifestyle, and interests will help you determine the most appealing type of décor and furniture. This will inform your staging plan, including the style, price point, and even whether to rent furniture or items. For example, young professionals may be attracted to modern, minimalistic décor and practical yet stylish furniture.
To stage a property effectively, create a clear and specific goal, such as "maximize appeal to young professionals" or "highlight special features." Set a budget, including renting furniture, repairs, and professional stager services. To stage on a budget, rent or buy used furniture and décor, do some of the work yourself, and use items you already have. Also, utilize natural light to make the space look brighter and more inviting.
Looking to spruce up your living space but don't want to break the bank? Read 7 DIY Projects to Improve Your Home.
Finding the right staging professional is crucial for selling your home. Start by asking your real estate agent for recommendations or searching for stagers online or locally. Evaluate their style and capabilities by checking their portfolio and requesting references. Schedule a consultation with your top choices to discuss your goals and budget and to determine if they are a good fit for the job.
Before signing a contract, make sure you both have a written agreement to avoid any surprises. Keep in mind that even if you’re an interior designer, only an expert real estate agent or professional staging company can provide specialized knowledge on staging your home for sale.
De-clutter and Deep Clean: This can help potential buyers see the home's true potential and give them a better idea of how their own furniture and belongings might fit in the space. Read Decluttering for the Intentional Home.
Maximize the Space: Create an open and inviting atmosphere by rearranging furniture, removing bulky items, and maximizing the use of each room. For example, removing unnecessary furniture can make a room appear larger and more open.
Add Color and Texture: Create visual interest with pops of color from throw pillows, area rugs, curtains, and other decorative items. Neutral colors are generally recommended for walls and large furniture pieces, but adding small colorful accents can make the space feel more lively.
Update Fixtures and Appliances: Making your home seem fresh and modern can be as simple as replacing outdated light fixtures or cabinet hardware. Updating the kitchen or bathroom with new appliances is more extensive and goes beyond “staging,” but is recommended if you’re looking to significantly increase the value of the home.
Curb appeal is crucial when preparing a home for sale. This involves enhancing the property's outside to make it more appealing to potential buyers by sprucing up gardens, driveways, and cleaning windows and doors. Adding outdoor furniture and plants creates an inviting atmosphere that draws buyers in and can potentially increase the property's value.
First impressions matter, and the exterior of a property is usually the first thing buyers will see. A well-staged exterior can pique their interest and encourage them to view the property. It's also important to consider the functionality of the exterior of the home when staging. Check that pathways and steps are in good condition to provide a safe environment for potential buyers.
For a more detailed guide on impressing potentional homebuyers from the street, check out Curb Appeal Matters: Simple Ways to Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal.
A focal point is a crucial aspect of staging a property as it draws attention to a specific area of the room and enhances its attractiveness. Aesthetically pleasing areas such as a fireplace, window, or artwork can be selected as a focal point. To create harmony and balance, ensure that all other elements in the room complement the focal point, including furniture arrangements and accessories. The focal point should be the centrepiece of the room and not overshadowed by other elements. The goal is to achieve a cohesive and appealing space.
Adding a fresh coat of paint is an effective way to stage a property and make it more appealing to buyers. It can brighten up a space and make it look cleaner. When choosing paint colors, consider the overall aesthetic of the home and opt for neutral colors to create a sense of balance. Lighting can affect how paint colors appear, so keep that in mind. Choose a color that complements the existing decor and is not too overpowering or distracting. Avoid bright colors as they can be off-putting.
Scent can be a powerful tool when it comes to staging a property. To make a property more inviting and attractive, using scented candles or diffusers is one of the best options. Lavender, vanilla, citrus, and eucalyptus work wells as they are familiar on not artificial smelling. The goal is to choose a subtle and natural scent that enhances the atmosphere without being overpowering or distracting.
In conclusion, staging a property can help increase buyer interest, fetch a higher sales price, and result in a faster sale. A staged home is more likely to stand out from the competition, drawing potential buyers in and making them emotionally invested in the property. To stage a home effectively, analyze the property, target audience, and create a staging plan with a clear goal and budget in mind. While professional stagers can be costly, staging on a budget is possible by renting or buying used furniture and décor, doing some of the work yourself, and utilizing natural light to make the space look brighter and more inviting.
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