Anyone putting a house on the market wants to sell it as fast as possible, for as much money as possible. Most real estate agents agree that the best way to ensure a rapid sale for the best price is through home staging. That’s all fine and well, but what exactly is home staging, how do you do it, and why would you want to?
The Concept Behind Home Staging
An empty house is like a blank canvas to paint on. It can be difficult to envision the end result. Home staging is stylishly furnishing and preparing a private home for sale. You want to enhance the attractiveness of the house to be appealing to the greatest number of potential buyers.
The idea is to help prospective buyers see themselves fitting into the home. Leaving the home empty may be tempting, but every flaw and awkward space will stand out like a sore thumb. It probably goes without saying that the house must be immaculately clean. No one wants to move into a dirty or cluttered house.
Make sure the front of the house and landscape are neat and tidy. You will want to go over any repairs that may need to be done with your realtor. You may want to paint the walls white or off-white. Your daughter’s purple room may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but buyers are likely to be turned off by garish colors.
Any furnishings or decor need to be subtle and neutral in color. Be sure to remove any family photos or other personal effects. Consider having the carpets professionally cleaned. Dirty, stained carpets can be a real turn-off. Be sure to remove any unpleasant odors from the home. Bad smells aren’t going to put anyone in a bidding mood.
Be sure to take proper advantage of any natural light. Open curtains or blinds to let the sun shine through. You will want to be sure that all of the windows are sparkling clean. It may be best to hire a professional for that job. These things turn the house you are trying to sell from a diamond in the rough into a polished gem.
DIY vs Professional Home Staging
Home staging is something you can do yourself or you can hire a professional. When looking for someone to stage your home it is a good bet that your real estate agent knows someone with a proven track record to hire. It may seem like it would save money to stage the home yourself, but the money you save might only be the cost upfront.
Unless you have a real knack for design, and more specifically tasteful home staging, then what you do may make your home look like a swap meet. When selling your home you want the highest bids possible. If your home is very attractive, you may even find that buyers will bid against each other. This isn’t likely to happen if your home is an unappealing disaster. On the other hand, you may be able to successfully stage your home with furnishings you have on hand.
This would obviously save money on rental fees, and it’s also possible the buyer may like what you’ve done so much that they offer to buy the furnishings as well. In the end, whether you chose to stage the home yourself or hire a professional depends on how confident you are in your ability to stage the home properly, and if you are willing to spend the time and effort to do it.
Statistics of Staging a Home
Why would I want to spend effort and money on staging my home at all? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) research department produced a report on home staging in 2017. The report quantifies various statistics on the effects of home staging in the selling process. More than half of realtors believe that home staging caused buyers to offer as much as 20% more for the home in comparison to other homes of similar value.
That is a potentially high return on your investment from a dollars and cents perspective. You also need to consider the amount of time a house sits for sale on the market. If the house sits long enough people begin to assume there’s something wrong with the home. You certainly don’t want that. You will also have to make any mortgage, insurance, and utility payments that come due in the interim.
According to the Real Estate Staging Association homes that were staged before listing sold in an average of 23 days. Meanwhile, homes that were not staged before listing took a staggering average of 143 days to sell. Another important factor to consider is the online presence of the house. The NAR report suggests that 95% of home buyers start their search on the internet.
First impressions are important, so you will want your house to look as attractive to potential buyers as possible. Your house is going to be compared to other homes of similar value. The home that is carefully staged and photographed is going to be visibly superior during any online perusal. You could consider using photoshop to virtually stage your home online.
You would need to disclose that the pictures are photoshopped, and have real photos alongside the photoshopped ones for clarity. There is evidence to suggest that even photoshopped pictures of homes help buyers envision themselves in the property. This route would cost less than actually staging the home and help convince people to take a look at the property in person.
Ultimately, whether or not you hire a professional home stager when selling your home is your choice. Only you know how important it is to you to sell you home rapidly and for the highest price. Home staging boasts some impressive value in both of those areas. Although home staging is completely optional, it shouldn’t be. A home is a large investment and you owe it to yourself to get the best return possible on your investment.