All real estate agents share a common goal: to receive the best possible offer in the least amount of time. That said, it’s important to make every investment necessary in your business to achieve this goal. Does that include staging the property? Is house staging affordable? Is it something you can do yourself, or do you need to hire a professional? We’re answering all your questions about one of the most effective home selling strategies. Read on for our tips on how to stage your home!
Home staging is the process of using interior design to highlight the best features of a home. The objective is to impress buyers during the open house phase. You want the buyer to visualize themselves living in their future home and it’s your job to enhance their experience. That means selecting furniture and decor that appeals to a broad audience. An empty house, or one filled with someone else’s personal items, will have a negative effect on buyers.
Is the sale dependent on whether you stage your home? While you may not want to tack on yet another cost in order to stage your listing, data shows that it offers great returns. According to the National Association of Realtors, real estate staging increases offers by 1-5%. For a house listed at $450,000, that could mean an extra $22,500 added to the offer. The NAR also reported that home staging can help your listing sell faster and increase the number of offers.
Hiring a professional
While it’s totally possible to take the DIY route with home staging, hiring a professional stager is usually recommended. For starters, not all agents possess the skills to stage a house well. When dealing with a high-stakes transaction like selling a house, it’s not wise to take chances. Professional stagers have the industry-specific knowledge and training necessary to do the job right. They know the latest trends, how to highlight a home’s best features and turn any awkward spaces into functional ones. Stagers can also tap into resources like contractors, painters and furniture warehouses that you may not have access to – and can usually swing discounts. Some even have their own studios filled with accent pieces and unique decor, cutting costs on rentals.
The most commonly staged rooms in a home are the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and dining room. Home stagers know what buyers focus on at an open house, so they pay extra attention to the details that buyers inspect most critically. Hiring a professional stager is also a great solution for alleviating emotional attachments to the house as they see the home with a fresh perspective. They’ll highlight the home’s most sellable features objectively while downplaying the less attractive aspects.
In terms of the cost, most stagers charge an initial consultation fee between $200-$600. You can then expect to pay between $500-$600 per staged room per month on the market. The price is also determined by the size and value of the home. A large luxury home, for example, would be more expensive to stage than a one-bedroom apartment. Of course, you can cut costs by staging only the main focal areas of the home. Another staging hack is to pay for the consultation and proceed to implement the stager’s ideas yourself.
If our reasons to hire a professional stager didn’t convince you, perhaps you have your own arguments for staging listings yourself. You may have interior design experience or have flipped homes of your own. Either way, you’ll want all the help you can get. Here are 8 steps to take when staging a house yourself:
Declutter and clean. Buyers only want to look at spotless homes. A clean home not only looks good, but it lets buyers know that it was treated with care. Be sure to clean every surface, including dusting the ceiling and light fixtures, dark corners and vents. Be sure to make your appliances and fixtures sparkle. The goal is to make everything feel brand new. Space helps sell homes too, so make the home look as minimalistic as possible. Decluttering is a great opportunity to donate or sell items. If the homeowner isn’t ready to part ways with some items, simply put them in storage. Keep in mind that buyers will peek into closets and pantries, so leave no mess unattended.
Depersonalize. The goal of staging is to help buyers visualize the home as their own. A house with too many personal items infringes on that fantasy. Chances are, buyers won’t make an offer if there are too many personalized touches, so create a blank canvas by removing them. Examples include family photos, monogrammed towels and toiletries. You should also consider switching out bedding that feels lived in. When making replacements, choose neutral colors.
Freshen up. Provide a pleasant experience for potential buyers by making the home feel and smell fresh – especially if the current owner has pets and/or kids. Sprucing up the space with flowers and plants creates a welcoming, healthy vibe. Wipe down countertops with a natural cleaner that has essential oils or lemon in it. Whipping up some baked goods, or lighting scented candles are also solid techniques. Just be careful to avoid any products that could offend guests who are sensitive to smell.
Change walls and flooring. Newly painted walls can create an impressive transformation at a low cost. If the home has wallpaper, it’s likely cracked, faded, or not the buyer’s style. Tear it down and repaint. Bold wall colors aren’t recommended as everyone has particular tastes, so neutral colors are best. When it comes to floors, homeowners often avoid remodeling due to expenses and labor. However, selling is actually the perfect time to add value to your home. Although the seller may not benefit from new flooring themself, it’s a project that adds significant value. Even if it’s only a few key rooms, updating to hardwood floors before selling is a smart idea. You can also use quality, affordable alternatives such as wood or durable vinyl tiles.
Update or rearrange furniture. The seller wasn’t thinking about selling when they bought their furniture. Chances are, their choices don’t equate to the buyer’s style. Since furniture can be expensive to replace, some pieces are probably looking out of shape or dated. Select some nice new pieces and arrange the furniture in a way that makes the room feel spacious. If new furniture isn’t in your budget, you can opt to spruce existing pieces up with new throw pillows, blankets or slipcovers. Renting the pieces you need to achieve your desired look is also an option.
Repair major damages. Any visible damage to your home will result in fewer and smaller offers. Therefore, it’s important to conduct a home inspection before putting it up for sale. It’s best to discover and address any issues that could present themselves as unwelcome surprises during closing. Give yourself time to finish any repairs before you show the home to buyers.
Let there be light. Humans need vitamin D, so it’s no wonder that we crave sufficient natural light in a home. When it’s time to host your open house, take advantage of any natural light you have. Throw open the curtains and supplement with light fixtures throughout the space to further brighten things up.
Curb appeal. Finally, make sure to give your home’s exterior the love and attention it deserves. Whether or not buyers like the exterior will set the tone for the rest of their experience. In fact, a buyer might actually end up driving away without checking out the interior if they don’t get a good first impression. See how you can improve curb appeal with a few easy hacks.
Home staging is a great way to ensure you make that sale. A blank canvas featuring neutral colors, minimalist decor plenty of natural light will allow buyers to see themselves in the home. Industry data shows that home staging will help you get a better offer and in less time, so why not try it? Consider hiring a professional home stager to maximize your home’s potential. Or if you have the skills to stage your home yourself, use our tips above to guide you! Let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about staging in the comments and happy staging!