What is Home Staging?
What is Home Staging?
Home Staging is the art of preparing and packaging a house to sell.
And, in many parts of the country, home staging has become an increasingly common way to distinguish a home on the market from all the other un-staged homes on the market.
Home Staging is preparing your home so that the buyers can imagine themselves living there with their own things. But most people have too much stuff in their homes and they don’t think to put it away. The end result is people will look at your stuff instead of looking at your home and decide that your home does not meet their wants or needs. The buyers will think that their stuff won’t fit in your home because it’s too small.
The way you live in a home and the way you sell your home are two different things. When you put a home on the market, it becomes a house, and the house become a product or commodity for sale. And, like any other product, it has to be properly prepared, packaged, presented, priced, and promoted in order for you to get top dollar for your property.
If you want the best price from the sale of your home, you need to show it in its best light. That’s why you do the staging – so the buyer doesn’t look at all that “stuff” in your house, but instead looks at the space.
Why is Home Staging So Important in Selling a House?
Staging a house both decreases the number of days on market and increases the selling price. The theory behind staging seems to defy common sense. You have to make your house almost generic, with a great deal of individual style and personality removed. And yet, earlier I wrote that you need to distinguish your home from the competition. It would seem that those things would distinguish your home from others – individual style and personality – would separate it from everybody elseʼs house. But it doesn’t.
So, why in the world would you want to depersonalize and neutralize your own house?
As the real estate industry often stresses, the first impression is the key factor in selling you home. In point of fact, the very goal of professional stagers is to prepare a house for market in order to give the best first impression to as many target buyers as possible. Their role is to create an inviting atmosphere and to show off the natural features of your house. The stager does this by de-cluttering the space, by removing all personal memorabilia and photographs, by removing certain furnishings and condensing or rearranging others, and by adding a few well-placed pieces of art and décor items to accentuate the strongest aspects of the house.
Potential buyers donʼt want to see your sonʼs football trophies, your wedding photographs, or you family album! They donʼt want your house to look like yours! The buyers want your house to look like it’s their house. Thus, the stager reduces the personalization of your home so that the buyers can forget itʼs your home.
In years past, you heard a lot about curb appeal – how curb appeal is so important in selling a home. Curb appeal is the all-important practice of improving how your home looks to buyers from the street.
That’s still true today. But today, the home must also have great web appeal. If the first picture of the house the buyers see is unappealing to them, then they will move on to the next house for sale instead of clicking on your house for sale.
When home buyers are searching for homes for sale online, you want the buyers to click on the images of your house. That’s why home staging is so important – it helps to showcase your house in its best light. So, it’s important that once the house is staged, that you have it professionally photographed.
I have a saying: If you’re going to have your house professionally photographed and it’s not staged, then what’s the point? Conversely, if you’re going to have the house staged but not professionally photographed, then what’s the point? When you’re selling a house, home staging and professional photography go hand-in-hand. The bottom line is, if your house is not ready for a photo-shoot, then it’s not ready for visitors either!
Isn’t Home Staging Expensive?
Instead of thinking in terms of cost, you should look at it in terms of an investment. Your home is also an investment. So, think about Home Staging as an investment in your investment.
The investment in Home Staging can be anywhere from 1% to 3% of the listing or sales price of the house. For a house that is owner-occupied, the investment may be considerably less than for a vacant property. The difference is typically in the furniture and décor items that must be rented as well as the type and style of house. The difference is also in the amount of work you’re willing to do – such as cleaning, making repairs, making minor improvements, and packing – as opposed to hiring a 3rd party to do it for you.
The key points are to do a thorough deep cleaning of your property, make necessary repairs and improvements, and be willing to pack away the things you don’t need in the interim while you’re getting ready to move.
Home staging and preparing a home for sale can take anywhere from a day to as much as 30 days or more. It all depends in part on how much work needs to be done, and how motivated you are to get it done.
So, when you get ready to sell a house, you want to work with a real estate agent who understands the importance of properly preparing, packaging, pricing, presenting, and promoting your house for sale, and who also understands that home staging and professional photography are key components of the marketing plan.
Is Home Staging Worth the Time and Investment?
A recent International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) survey found that across the country, Staged homes sell on average in 11 days, while non-staged homes are on the market for an average of 85 days.
The survey also found that 51% of staged homes will sell at list price, while 37% of staged homes will sell above the asking price. That means 88% of staged homes will sell at or above list price, and, on average, for $64,000 MORE than un-staged homes for sale.
A recent study by Redfin found that houses that are professionally photographed will sell from $934 to as much as $116,000 MORE than properties that were photographed with point-and-shoot cameras or smartphones.
So think of it this way: do you want to leave the sale of your house to chance, or would you rather play an active role in getting it sold quickly and for the best price?