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Staging – Introduction

Let’s talk staging. But, before we get down to the nitty-gritty, please understand one thing. I’m a Realtor. I’m not a staging professional and although I can recommend a fabulous one, I don’t make a penny off the staging that my clients choose to do or not do. “Staging” a home simply means that you are modifying your décor to broadly appeal to buyers. Although we’d all love to believe that buyers make their home buying decisions based on the fabulous renovations you’ve just completed or your proximity to fantastic schools, the simple fact is that most buyers make their decision based on a “feeling.” They buy the house that most feels like home.

So, it behooves us to do whatever we can to create a homey, inviting ambiance… and good staging can be the difference between showing a home that is just okay and one that stands out and sells lickety-split.

Many sellers balk at the idea of hiring a stager for their home prior to listing. They think it’s too expensive, too much work and they like their décor as is. I recently worked with a client whose home had been on the market for several months with another Realtor. When her original listing expired, she contacted me and asked me for a consult. Her home had great bones, but she was selling due to a recent divorce. To complicate matters, her ex-husband had moved with much of her former furniture. She was desperate to sell the home (for both financial and emotional reasons), but I knew that she was unlikely to appeal to a wide variety of buyers unless she enlisted a good stager to help showcase her home in the best possible light. She was, understandably, worried about the cost, but quickly realized that four months’ worth of mortgage payments was significantly more expensive than hiring a stager. So, she took the plunge. Her home sold four days after the staging was complete. Now, if this were a print advertisement, I’d have to include an asterisk to say that those results are not typical of all staging stories, but you know what? It’s not that unusual either.

So… if you’re still reading and still interested, here’s a few more morsels for thought…

While we can’t quantify a well-staged, aesthetically pleasing home in terms of dollar amounts, most Realtors will tell you that when a home looks inviting, uncluttered, comfortable and simple, it elicits a most desirable result from potential buyers: DESIRE… and that, my friends is money in the bank.
The Association of Property Scene Designers (yep, stagers have their own professional watchdog, too!) reports that staged home sell 43% faster than un-staged homes. Forty. Three. Per. Cent. Fas. Ter.

Yes, you might dislike your stager for a tiny bit because he or she wants to create a clutter-free, depersonalized space and it will be up to you to pack away tchotchkes, trinkets and personal treasures. Just remember as you wrap and box these items up… it’s one less (or hundreds less) thing you’ll have to pack when you prepare to move!
Stagers actually teach their clients a thing or two about decorating and many homeowners tell me that they take staging tips with them to their new homes. No cost for the extra decorating karma!

I know it’s cliché, but in the land of real estate, it’s also true: you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so if your Realtor advises you to consult a stager, listen carefully and act quickly. The best time to stage your home is BEFORE it hits MLS!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some very specific staging tips (courtesy of my personal staging guru). I hope you’ll stay tuned to learn more about this important step in the big picture of readying your home for a quick and profitable sale!

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