What is Home Staging?
Home Staging is the act of styling and presenting a home so that it appeals to the most likely buyer demographic. Home Staging is marketing. Effective Home Staging ensures that your home will be seen looking its best, results in beautiful and engaging MLS photographs and allows buyers to emotionally connect to it. When buyers visualize themselves living in a home, they are more likely to make an offer. While the concept of staging has been around for decades, only recently Home Staging is becoming an industry standard. Whether occupied or vacant, all homes will benefit from staging. Occupied homes typically have too much in the way of clutter and furniture while vacant homes lack style or don’t photograph well. Competent stagers are skilled in both areas but it’s not unusual for some to specialize in one or the other.
Why should I consider staging my upcoming real estate listing?
Given the popularity of shows on HGTV and information available on the internet, sellers and buyers are more informed and savvy than ever. This is crucial to understanding why staging is so important. They understand the relevance of staging and how it will improve the appearance of their home. Buyer’s expectations are high and they know what they are looking for and at the top of the list is move-in ready. Also, it is becoming increasingly more common for sellers to inquire with their agents about offering staging services. At least one nation-wide real estate firm now proudly offers to pay for staging as part of their marketing package. By not offering staging, you are only helping sell the competition because someone else will!
What are simple tips for home staging?
When people make the decision to move, almost always, they are looking to hit a reset button. You are trying to tell a story here so no more chaos, papers strewn about or laundry piles everywhere. Today’s buyers are busy and stressed. Simple, stylish home design is a motivating factor to this group. Showing your home as calm, restful and organized is paramount so you’ll need to look at your home objectively. Each room needs to serve its purpose and one purpose only. Does your family room have a messy desk, craft table and ironing board? A family room is a place to gather to watch tv or play a board game. Does your bedroom have a treadmill and a drying rack? That’s too much information and sends the wrong message. All that is needed is a bed, bedside tables, lamps, a dresser and fresh bedding. A few charming touches like art and accessories will be enough to finish the space.
Next, get rid of the clutter. Heavy drapes, scatter rugs, bulky furniture, crammed bookshelves, papers and countertops are visually choppy and should be minimized to create an open and airy space. It may make sense to buy Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, to begin your clutter-free journey. She’ll take you through ridding yourself of material excess in an organized way that sparks joy. You are trying to sell your space not your belongings so drawing the eye towards beautiful pine flooring, a bay window or a stately fireplace take precedence over your children’s art collection.
You’ll want to address how “old” your home looks. The lifespan of a design trend is about 7 years so If it’s been more than 5 years since you last painted, you might consider repainting in an on-trend, neutral tone. Consult with a professional or do some research on a site like houzz.com to avoid costly mistakes. Address lighting. Are you living in the dark? Light and bright gives buyers a positive outlook and opens and recedes. Do you have a dark half-finished basement filled to the brim with junk? Even if it’s cinder-block, clear it out, paint the walls white, the floors medium gray, add a bright throw rug and few cute toys like a wood riding horse, install some track lighting and you’ve just added some great useful space!
How much should I spend staging my home?
Staging is objective. When considering hiring an expert, it’s vital to examine the before and after photos in their portfolio. This is the best way to ensure results you will be pleased with. Expect a good professional staging consultation to run about $200-$300. More or less if a written report is included. Need more help? You’ll probably be looking at between $50 and $250 per hour depending on how experienced your stager is and your location. In Metro Boston, the cost for staging will be between $600 and $1,000 on average. If you rent furniture, the low end will set you back $2,500 for a 1,000 square foot, two bedroom city condo and a 4,000 square foot, four-bedroom suburban home could easily fetch a $15,000 price tag for a 3-month lease.
Staged homes sell for about 6% more on average, so think about your bottom line. If your home is on the market for $600k, that could equate to a $36,000 profit from your staging efforts, when done correctly.
A home is likely the largest investment you will ever make and protecting its value is up to you. Your home has brought you and your family many memories and the best way to show your gratitude is to pass it proudly to another who will also cherish it.