This pro can help your home look its best — potentially resulting in a faster sale with more profit!
Home staging has become an increasingly formidable force in helping people sell their homes more quickly and for more money. Its overall goal is to help prospective homebuyers emotionally connect with a space, hopefully leading to an offer to buy. Home staging isn’t limited to just high-end properties. It has become a norm for homes at all price points. While staging may seem like an additional hassle and expense, the investment can pay off. Here’s a guide to home staging, including the benefits, process, and reasons to hire a home staging professional if you’re considering a move.
What Does a Home Stager Do?
A home stager gets your home ready to sell by making it look more attractive to a large number of potential buyers. Home stagers often are interior designers, or have worked as one in the past, and use their design skills to make your home look its best. They may rearrange existing furniture to optimize your floor plan, remove furnishings and declutter key areas, choose new paint colors and even bring in stylish new furniture and art to make your home appeal to more buyers. All this can help you sell your home faster and often for more money than what you listed it for.
Who Hires Home Stagers?
Anyone selling or buying property may benefit from home www. Homeowners selling single-family homes, condos, and townhouses make up the greatest percentage of those hiring home stagers. However, property developers selling new construction, and real estate agents, also are in the mix.
While home staging was created primarily to benefit the seller, seeing prospective properties in their best light also can be advantageous to buyers because it can cut down on their search time.
Benefits of Staging a Home
Most people have trouble visualizing a space’s potential, whether that’s figuring out how to lay out an empty room or trying to ignore oddly arranged furniture, clutter or decor that’s not their style. The majority of home buyers can’t easily look past what’s in front of them to appreciate a room’s potential. Staging helps eliminate the buyer’s guesswork.
“The key is to set the stage for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there,” says home stager Robin DeCapua of Madison Modern Home. A 2019 study by the National Association of Realtors confirmed that more than 83 percent of home buyers find it easier to visualize the property as their future home when it’s staged.
Had the staged living room seen here been empty, many people might have found the large space intimidating and possibly off-putting. Instead, Audrey Gourguechon of Staging North Shore in Chicago created multiple seating zones to highlight it as an inviting living and entertaining space to potential buyers.
“If you want to get ahead of your competitors, be proactive, Gourguechon says. “Chances are your next-door neighbor has their home staged.”Buyers decide whether they like the home or not in the first few minutes after entering. There’s only one opportunity to make a first impression, so you don’t want to be the seller who skipped out on staging, especially if there are several houses on the market in your area. Even if without staging you manage to get potential home buyers through the door for one viewing, they may not return for another look if nearby properties appear more enticing.
When to Hire a Home Stager
The best time to hire a home stager is prior to listing your property. Waiting until your property has been lagging on the market is usually too late. “I often meet clients that call me when their home has been on the market for 30 to 60 or more days,” Gourguechon says. “It’s good that they realize that other properties are more appealing, but they have already lost a big part of their audience. Most of them won’t come back.”
While stagers recommend clearing away pieces from the home that won’t be making the move, many recommend not doing anything else, like painting or decluttering, until they visit your home. You could pick an unsavory new paint color that has to be painted over or, as Sarikhani has experienced, remove too many items that then have to be replaced with staged pieces, which can add to the cost.
Staged projects tend not only to recoup the initial investment but to generate more profit. DeCapua says for 2015, Madison Modern Home’s data show that their clients received more than $6 for every $1 spent on staging — and more than half the homes they staged that year sold for more than their initial asking price. On average, 37 percent of staged homes sell above their listed price, according to a 2019 survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals and StagedHomes.com.Gourguechon makes a persuasive argument: The cost of staging will always be less than the cost of your first price reduction on your asking price.
What to Expect From the Process
An initial in-home appointment with a professional stager usually lasts between one and three hours. The stager will likely take photos and may draw a simple floor plan. He or she will determine what should stay, what should go into storage and what items might be moved to different locations, and will assess the property’s general readiness to be staged. The home stager will also discuss timing and availability, and supply an estimate and options, usually after a couple of days.
If the proposal is approved, a contract will be drawn up and a staging day scheduled. Staging typically takes one day, but large properties can require more time. The home will be destaged after it has been sold or as per the contract.
It’s a good idea to interview more than one home staging company, look at all of their portfolios and ask for references from previous clients.
This can vary with different home stagers and based on whether the property is occupied, but most do not supply window treatments, bedding, towels or live plants.
Any suggested updates, like painting and new flooring, are typically paid for and arranged by the homeowner. However, the staging professional may recommend paint colors or other products.
Homeowners are responsible for cleaning the home prior to staging as well as for the duration of the contract. The tasks of packing, moving and securing a storage facility for belongings that will not remain in the home during the staging period are the homeowner’s obligation as well.
Give your home a thorough, “white glove” deep cleaning.
Fix anything broken or easily improved — oil squeaky hinges, for instance.
Replace lightbulbs or at least make sure all of your fixtures have working bulbs and the illumination is consistent.
Weed and mulch your flower beds, especially in front of the home, for curb appeal. You’ll make a good impression before potential buyers even reach the front door.
Pack away superfluous family photos on display. Keeping a few out is OK, but too many pictures dampens the “I could see myself living here” reaction of potential buyers.