Lois Marris | RE/MAX Results | Lois.Marris@Results.net
To stage or not stage? That is the question. You’re getting ready to sell your home, you’re busy and you’re stressed. You’ve cleaned your home from top to bottom and you’re tired. Is it really that important to stage your home too? Yes it is!
What Is Staging?
You’ve already cleaned your house better than ever. Everything sparkles and smells like your lemon scented cleaner. Having a clean, clutter free house is an absolute must but some agents, the good ones, will take it to the next step and actually stage your house for sale.
I always tell my clients that the way you sell a house isn’t the way you would live in a house.
Staging a home includes getting the house "photo ready" for your target market buyer.
For example, you’ve lived in your house for 14 years and you still love that flower print border you put up in your bathroom the first month you moved in. Your sage colored dining room and burgundy bathroom look just fine and the lace curtains in the master bedroom still give off a hint of romance. For you anyway.
But you're not the one buying your home, you’re selling it. The buyer for your home is at a different stage in their life, probably the same stage you were in 14 years ago. Staging your home is getting it ready to meet the next buyer’s style and tastes. Which means saying goodbye to your personal style and tastes.
As a real estate agent, I know the power of a well-staged home because I’ve seen it work over and over again. The first thing I’m going to do is determine your target market so we can stage the home appropriately. If your new buyer is likely to be a young family then I’ll stage a couple of the bedrooms for small children. If the new buyer is likely a retired couple, I may stage one of the bedrooms as an office instead.
I believe that staging a home is so important I offer a free staging consultation to my sellers. We get together and go through the house, notepad in hand, room by room. Our plan will include how to best decorate and arrange furniture for your target market. I’ll let you know what I think you should do in each room to get the house ready for sale. Usually the list is short, short, short. But let’s be honest. Some of us need more help and time than others (sheepish grin here).
Once we have a plan in place, we’ll take a look at how well your existing furniture, photos and accent pieces can be used to stage for your target market. Usually, I use your furniture and accent pieces and I bring in a few items of my own to get the right look for you. I often bring in little pieces of a trend color to use as an accent color, keeping things modern looking. This includes accent pillows, paintings, knick-knacks, etc. Once in a while I’ll even rent furniture to give your home a more modern, appealing look as some furniture styles are definitely out and instantly date your home. Think of the big over-stuffed couches of the 90s.
After our initial staging consultation, I’ll leave and let you get to it. I’ll have a handy list of my own things to bring to our final staging consultation. When you’re ready, call me back. I come with a car load of my own accent pieces, pillows and art work. We’ll work together to get your house picture perfect for the photographer, who usually comes later that same day or the next.
Here is where all of your hard work pays off. A potential buyer looks online at let’s say, fifty homes that match their home search. Something about your home has captured their interest and they breeze quickly through your online photos. Your professional photos. Your professional photos of your gorgeously staged home, staged to appeal to your target market. The other homes still have lace curtains (you don’t), dated paint colors (you don’t) and an urn full of great grandma’s ashes on the mantel (you definitely don’t). Your house gets the showing appointment which is the first step in getting the house sold.
A note about paint colors
Room colors are a very personal and bold colors or lots of different colors are not the best choice when trying to appeal to as many buyers as possible. When staging a home, my counsel is to paint rooms a neutral paint color. This opens you up to the largest number of potential buyers as you won’t likely have someone reject your home due to that burgundy (or terracotta, or orange, or hot pink) dining room. I call it “snoring boring” paint colors. We’ll add touches of color in the art work and decor so things look great.
Don't do this:
Buyers may move on if they think they need to spend time and money updating your home.
Questions from sellers
Do I have to paint all my rooms?
My advice is one room of color at the most and make that a small room. We don’t want the online buyer to feel as if they have to come in and paint every room themselves. They will just move onto a different house that has less work to do.
Is this really necessary?
Sometimes. If it is a hot seller’s market where everything is selling no matter what, then no. You don’t likely have to do extensive staging. It’s still in your best interest so you capture the most buyers and get the highest price for your house but you can likely relax a bit if the market is hot, hot, hot.
The more expensive your house is, the more the buyer expects it to be updated, current, staged and in good condition.
Can I hire you to do a staging consultation?
Yes! This is a free service I offer as a service to my sellers. Hire me as your selling agent and we’ll do the staging consultation. It’s not a service I provide otherwise.
I have very dated furniture. Should I get rid of it?
Sometimes removing furniture in poor condition or with a dated look is the right choice. We’ll take a look at things together and decide if you should move some things out before photos. I am sometimes able to rent furniture to stage a room.