by Dave Robles
Home Staging is also called Home Fluffing or Real Estate Merchandising but it all boils down to one thing: it gets your home in tip top shape so that it sells fast and for the optimum amount of money.
First impressions are priceless: When you know that prospective buyers make up their mind about a property within the first ten seconds of stepping inside and have already started to form an opinion while still on your driveway, it just makes sense that you want your home to look its best right from the get go.
What is Home Staging? Professional home stagers are interior designers and decorators that are focused on making your home appeal to the widest audience possible. They will bring in furniture and accessories, maybe change wall colours, add or delete elements like drapes or rugs and work with you in getting your place clutter free and depersonalized. They will look at all aspects of your home and decide what needs to be done to make its best features stand out while minimizing its bad ones, and they will also help arrange for contractors to do repairs and work before that all important first open house. Bottom line is, home staging makes your home appealing to everyone who comes through the door.
Why Home Staging gets you top dollar: How many model homes have you visited? They are not lived in, yet they are professionally staged to sell a product—the home itself. Why is your resale home any different? It's not! In fact, staging a home is all based on getting potential buyers to fall in love with your property. They may show up with a list of criteria, but they will choose their new home based on emotions, sometimes abandoning their list all together. The main key to successful house staging is to get those buyers to see themselves in your home, to have to have it so badly that they may even engage in a bidding war in order to secure it for themselves.
Online listings are where the value of Home Staging is: A huge percentage of people do their house hunting online. The trick is to get your home photos to pop and to trigger something in those potential buyers that makes them want to come and see your home in person. This is where home staging comes into play. A staged house's photos are going to evoke those passions in your potential buyers and they won't be able to wait to come and see the home in person. They have already liked what they have seen, right? This means they are arriving at your open house with a preconceived notion that they'll love this property.
Are you wary of spending money to make money? There are people who don't believe they need their home staged; they think they can sell it 'as is' and people will flock to their door. They don't want to spend money on something they are leaving and can't see the point since they will be moving all of their things out. Surely prospective buyers will look past the bad paint colour (they can fix it later), the mismatched furniture (owners will take it with them) or the clutter all over the walls, counter tops and floors. Actually, they won't. When you are selling your home you are selling a lifestyle, can these buyers see themselves in your space? Can they imagine cooking dinner in your kitchen or cozying up in your old family room? If it is badly decorated, there it too much clutter or they can't move around the carpet stains fast enough you'll be in trouble. If your home doesn't sell in the crucial first few weeks, your realtor will insist on lowering the price to get more interest. This is a financial hit to you. When you choose to stage your home professionally you decrease the likelihood of having to reduce the home's price later when people are already on to the next hot listing in the neighborhood. Staging before you put your house on the market means it is always ready for its close up and you won't be playing catch up weeks or months later when your property just won't sell.
Can you stage your home yourself? For sure you can! If you are going to look at your home with a buyers critical eye and see the clutter and what needs to be addressed on your own, then you can save the fees of a professional. Also, you may already be an interior designer or decorator who knows what they are doing. Some people, however are too sentimental with their possessions and can't bear being away from them for even the shortest amount of time. Likewise, sometimes we just need a fresh eye to come in and explain what can look better in each space. No one is going to suggest you throw away all of your belongings, you simply box them up and put them into storage somewhere for the duration. This also saves on packing time when you are ready to move.
How much does Home Staging cost? Like with anything, home staging prices will fluctuate depending on where you live and how much your home is priced at. Staging a small home will be less than the cost of the same service in a mansion, for example. The best idea is to shop around like you would for any service. Interview a few potential stagers and find the one that is the best fit for you. Your real estate agent is the best person to talk to to find out if your home needs staging or has just small fixes you can do easily yourself. They are in the business of selling homes, after all, and will work with you to get the best price for your property. Cost of home staging will also depend on if they need to bring in all new pieces or they can use some of the existing things in your home.
Home Staging will take the stress out of getting your home open house ready and will go a long way in getting you that fantastic offer!