Staging Your Home
Staging: Transforming Your Home Into a Product
The term ‘staging’ is commonly heard these days but very often misunderstood. It was coined by Seattle REALTOR® Barb Schwarz over 35 years ago and referenced the theatre where you set the ‘stage’ to give your audience an experience, to draw them into your story. When we stage a home for our sellers we are creating a story that will appeal to a target market of buyers. Much research has been done that proves that staged homes sell more quickly and for more money than comparable homes that are not staged.
Staging is not decorating. Decorating is about embellishing a living space to reflect your personality while staging is the art of de-personalizing and enhancing your home so that your future buyer can visualize themselves as the next owners.
First step for most every home is to de-clutter; to show off the space you actually have. For a lot of our clients we recommend the rental of a storage locker. This allows you to have somewhere off the property to move items like extra furniture, off-season clothes, seasonal items that you aren’t currently using ie Christmas decor in July, boxes of books and knickknacks. This has the added benefit of making your move so much easier once your home sells and generally these items are the last to be unpacked so they can just stay in the storage unit until you are settled into your new home.
Next step is deep cleaning. Buyers are looking at places in your home that dinner guests never will. Shower stalls, cupboards, window tracks and the like will be examined by home shoppers and the cleanliness of these areas greatly impacts their impression of a home. Buyers will low ball what they feel is a less-than-clean home. You can retain thousands of dollars if you are willing to go the effort of making your home Q-Tip clean. If you were selling your car you would detail it, so doesn’t it make sense to do even more when you are selling your largest single asset?
While you are packing and cleaning think about de-personalizing your space. Take down family portraits, kids art on the fridge, and your ball cap collection. To help you decide what should go or stay, think about a showhome and the décor that you would see in one. Showhomes are created to be inviting but not a specific personality in order to create a product with wide appeal.
Final step, to stage. Arrange furniture so that prospects can move easily through the home, look out the windows and access patio doors. The arrangement of furniture and accessories should also create a focal point in each room that highlights it’s best features. For example, fireplace in a room should be the focal point, not the TV (unless, of course it is a media room). Walk through your home like a buyer, stand at the thresholds of each room and note your first impressions. Is there a dresser blocking your view of the bedroom or is there a blank wall straight in front of you that could use a piece of art? Adding accents of colour also really makes a home memorable; in a good way. And all of this is not limited to the interior. You must also take the same approach with the exterior; your front & back yard and especially your front entrance.
If this step is the one that intimidates you there are books on the topic, internet resources or the option to hire a professional stager. You can also choose to work with a REALTOR ® who has staging experience. When, offered these services are generally provided by agents free of charge to sellers.
So steps are: de-clutter, de-dirt, de-personalize and then create a pleasing scene that will make a great impression on prospective buyers. It will mean more money in your pocket!