What exactly is home staging designed to accomplish? This is a question that many homesellers puzzle about. They can see what a professional stager does, but they don’t understand why he or she does it.
The answers to the seller’s questions below will help you understand the purpose to staging a house for sale.
Identify your target buyer
Selling your house isn’t about your taste or your style, as fine as they may be. It’s about seducing a buyer whose taste is different from yours into seeing your house as his Dream House.
What will it take to do that? You need to know what your buyer wants and make sure he sees it in your house. So first, there’s a marketing issue to resolve: You need to know who your target buyer is. How old is he (or she or they)? Is this their first house? Do they have school-age kids? Do they need a play yard? Bedrooms for each child? Or are they empty nesters — perhaps professionals who will want a home office, guest room and places to entertain?
Making sure your house appeals to your target will likely get you more money for your house and will get it faster. So you stage to make your target buyer want your house.
How can I make someone I don’t know want my house?
First, thoroughly prepare your home for sale. When you put it on the market — whether listed with a broker or for sale by owner — you will be competing for your target buyer’s attention against all the other houses for sale in your area, especially the top 10% that will sell.
So make sure your house is in good repair, uncluttered and immaculately clean. If you want a quick sale, your house has to be in tiptop condition — because your buyer doesn’t want to work to achieve his dream house. He wants it looking perfect and ready for his family to live in. If yours isn’t, he’ll choose someone else’s.
So after cleaning and decluttering comes staging. Is that moving the furniture around?
Staging is doing everything you need to do to make a buyer see your house as his dream house.
- It’s highlighting the best architectural features of each room and removing all the distractions that interfere with that. Sometimes that’s done by removing some furniture and rearranging what remains to highlight a focal point. Making sure you have put away your family photos and collections of teacups — because they will take the buyer’s attention away from the features of the house.
- Buyers value space, so it’s making every room look spacious — maximizing space in rooms and closets so the buyer sees that he can fit his stuff.
- Maybe it’s turning an office back into a dining room or a bedroom if that fits better with the needs of the target buyer.
- It may mean removing wallpaper and repainting to make a room lighter and brighter and more appealing to your target.
- It may mean updating lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware because your target buyer may be a generation younger than you are. Maybe it’s replacing old switchplates. Updating window treatments.
- Stagers try to use your existing furniture, to keep costs to a minimum, but sometimes it’s worth buying something new that you’ll take to your new place: throw pillows, lamp, large print for a wall, a vase or plant.
If you were selling a car, you would probably want to make it as appealing as you can. You would wash and wax it, vacuum the interior; detail it. It’s the same with your house.
Why do I need a professional stager? Can’t my real estate agent do it?
Professional stagers are specially trained to help homeowners sell their houses by making them attractive to unknown buyers. That’s the nutshell of it. The training is thorough and covers all the applicable design issues of light and space, balance, rhythm, texture, color and contrast.
It covers dozens of specific topics that a prospective buyer may be concerned about including use of space, arrangement of furniture to highlight a focal point, traffic flow, lamps and room brightness, window treatments, paint colors, proper height to hang pictures, inexpensive home repairs, hanging chandeliers, cleaning closets and ceiling fans, using storage pods, restoring hardwood floors, steam-cleaning carpeting, identifying which updates need to be done and which do not, removing overgrown shrubbery, furniture rental, solving all sorts of problems, such as dealing with worn-out kitchen appliances and cracks in a concrete walkway. And many more.
Some real estate agents have undergone this rigorous training, though most have not. Ask your agent about his or her training. Some agents think staging is just decluttering, missing that its goal is to foster a potential buyer’s emotional connection to your house. If they misunderstand this concept, they may try to discourage you from hiring a professional home stager who can make a difference for you. Yet many agents recognize the value of home staging — particularly those who understand what motivates today’s young home buyers — and recommend routinely to all their clients that they hire a professional staging advisor.
Can I stage my own house?
Many homeowners have a good sense of design. Nevertheless, a problem that sellers often have in staging their own houses is that all the experiences that have gone into making their house a home can interfere with the objectivity needed for staging. Sellers are often emotionally attached to their homes, and this attachment will make it difficult for them to make the changes needed to seduce a buyer into seeing the house as his home. You may not want to remove that mirrored wall in the dining room or a wallpaper border that matches your favorite comforter. The result: houses that you are competing with are sold, and yours remains on the market.
So that’s what home staging is designed to accomplish and what a professional stager brings to the task of helping you sell your house quickly. Hopefully you have an understanding now of why you should call on a professional stager to stage your house for sale.