In today’s highly-competitive home sales market, a seller must create mass appeal. Online perusal is usually the first step buyers take, before even crossing the threshold of a potential property. Within the first few clicks of a computer mouse, your home must immediately invite, entice, and beckon potential buyers to move from the comfort of the armchair to your front door.
This is where the expertise of a professional home stager comes in, like a knight on a white horse, to rescue you from yourself. Yes, we all love, or at the very least, are pretty comfortable with, our living spaces. These abodes have been created from the heart with warmth and are adorned with memories in the form of photographs, knick-knacks, and collected items that have sentimental meaning–even that pretty wallpaper you lovingly picked out, ahem…a while back. You still like it, though wallpaper is decidedly out–but hey, it just might come back in style, right?
And this is the difference between design and professional home staging. Design takes everything you love and artfully places it into your home–it is all about you. Your beloved, and very expensive, Southwestern pottery collection gives you happiness every time you see it, the many pieces of collected driftwood, scattered about various shelves and surfaces, take you back to the very places you stooped to pick them up. Yes, I’m guilty, too; yet what meaning would these items have to a potential buyer?
Staging is the process of creating and editing your space in a way that will instill a new memory for potential owners–now, it’s all about the buyer. It’s setting the “stage,” or property, so the buyer will envision life within those walls, because they are not distracted with the details of the present homeowner’s life.
Most buyers know after about two minutes into the showing if they are going to be negotiating an offer. Staging creates the perfect environment to allow this to take place.
A professional home stager will take into account important aspects of the real estate market and the target buyer, and will highlight the positive features of the property through the use of neutral color palates; removing worn or dated items; rearranging furniture to draw the eye to important architectural aspects of each room; updating fixtures or cabinet hardware; sprucing up entryways and sidewalks, and enhancing front garden beds with cheerful plantings; as well as, and most-importantly, depersonalizing and decluttering each space. Yes, the driftwood collection will have to go!
You may ask yourself, “Why would I need someone to do this for me? I have great taste, and I have a very nicely-decorated home.” The answer is all about return on investment. Studies show that professionally-staged homes have a 9-10 percent increase* in offers, fetch higher bids, and most always sell quicker, because they have mass appeal and are pleasing to potential buyers. In short, they set the stage and sell the dream.
Everyone has a different dream. Presenting a tastefully-appointed space that is functional, well-organized, and welcoming in a neutral fashion allows more potential buyers to experience the vision of living in your wonderful abode. And that translates into a bottom-line which leads to greater opportunity for more dollars in your pocket for designing your next living space.
HOME STAGING VS. DESIGN
Professional Home Staging
|Goal: to create mass appeal
||Goal: to provide personal happiness
|Edits, removes, depersonalizes
||Adds, embellishes, personalizes
|Uses neutral color palates
||Uses owner’s color preferences
|Removes/replaces dated furniture, fixtures
||Highlights that quirky old chair, etc. Items hold memories, are conversation pieces or family heirlooms – must keep it
|Furniture Placement: Symmetrical to accent the home’s architectural features
||Furniture Arrangement: Asymmetrical because you like it that way
|Artwork: pleasing, yet understated
||Artwork: bold or eclectic, family-oriented
|Staged to be functional, welcoming
||Designed to be pretty and pleasing
|Less is more
||More is perfectly okay with you, or not
|Staged to sell
||Designed to live
|Bottom line = return on investment
||Bottom line depends on design budget
|Initial investment: up to 1-3% of asking price, with 9-10% ROI*
||Initial investment: varies based on taste and financial budget
*Source: NAR, National Association of Realtors