With the recent proliferation of TV reality shows about home staging, I suspect that many sellers believe that these shows portray what home stagers do….which is often not the case. So, what does a home stager REALLY do?
A home stager will NOT go into a client’s home and exclaim, “What a horrible decor! What WERE you thinking?’ (as in many of the TV shows).
There are three steps in the process of staging your home for the market.
1. the consultation
2. the work
3. the showcasing (hands-on staging)
A home staging consultation, which is the first step in the process, addresses all the points below and can take up to two hours on site to complete, and, depending on the stager, another couple of hours preparing a written report.
A. De-cluttering is always suggested. Clutter does not necessarily mean junk, but often includes necessary and beautiful things. So, don’t be offended if a stager tells you to de-clutter-it’s not a reflection on your tastes/lifestyle. It is because the stager knows that buyers are looking for spacious homes and no matter how large the home, if every space is taken up with the sellers ornaments, collections, etc, they will not get that visual impression of a spacious home.
B. The paint colour in a house is so important. If the colour is too bright, too dark, or not neutral enough a stager will suggest painting the main areas in a neutral shade. Again, this is not a reflection on your tastes. It is a way to make the buyers feel that they can move in with no hassle of changing the paint colors. Anybody can live with neutral…as least for a while.
C. Cleanliness is a big must. Nobody wants to live in a house that is obviously not clean. A stager may suggest getting certain things cleaned, such as carpet, windows, etc. and may give you the contact info for a cleaner in your area.
D. Statistics show that bad odours are the BIGGEST turn-off for buyers…even more than uncleanliness or outdated decor. If there are pets in the house or a smoker in the house, a stager may suggest that your carpet, soft furnishings will need to be cleaned or replaced to eliminate the odor. It does not mean the stager thinks your house is ‘dirty’. Pets (esp dogs) have an inherant smell and that is quite acceptable when you are living in the home. But now your home is a commodity and has to appeal to as many people as possible.
E. Sometimes a stager will tell their clients that they need to de-personalize the house, often by removing most of their personal items, pictures, collections, diplomas, etc. Often buyers get distracted by all your personal things and don’t even notice the good features of your house. De-personalizing does NOT mean impersonal. It still needs to feel inviting, but that can be achieved without a lot of the homeowners photos, collections, etc.
F. Any obvious repairs (leaking faucets, squeaky doors, a cracked window pane, etc) need to be fixed. As homeowners, sometimes we become so accustomed to living with those issues that we become oblivious to them. Home stagers will explain that buyers are looking for ANYTHING wrong with the house so that they can make a lowball offer. If you fix those things upfront you will easily recoup the cost in your selling price.
G. Simple updates may also be suggested which will also increase your selling price…replacing outdated light fixtures and faucets, repairing or replacing flooring, a new counter top and new hardware for your cabinets can instantly upgrade your kitchen.
H. Curb appeal is extremely important and most stagers will give you suggestions to ramp up your curb appeal a notch or two. Most potential buyers will do a drive-by of your house to see if they want to pursue it further before they even contact the Realtor.
AFTER all these things above are completed ( step 2 in the process) a stager will come in and ‘showcase’ (stage) your home using proven techniques (step 3). This may include removing, re-purposing, re-arranging furniture and accessories. In some cases furniture and accessories will have to be rented or purchased…..(which the stager sources and arranges for delivery). Stagers will address the traffic flow, find a focal point in each room, hang appropriate art in the right places and the correct height, and hang window treatments. The home will be in “Open House” condition when finished. This can take a whole day and often more, depending on the size and condition of the house.
So this is what home stagers REALLY do. If you are going to sell your home, get the staged home advantage! Call Cathy at HOMESTYLING BY CATHY!
Two points to remember:
1) The investment you put into home staging will not exceed the first price reduction.
2) Staging can be tailored to fit any budget. The amount of staging is proportional to the budget…more money means more staging, less money means less staging.