Buyers looking at model homes have always expected to see a perfectly designed and decorated property offering the latest trends. Venture into any new construction community, and you’ll likely see a home tailored to how buyers aspire to live. And in today’s world where shows on HGTV and DIY Network dominate the airways, more and more buyers are coming to expect even existing homes be designed for perfect organization and style. What that means for today’s home sellers is they need to not only clean and declutter their houses before listing them, but also consider professionally staging them.
What is Home Staging?
Home staging means different things to different people. To some, it simply means giving the house a good cleaning and decluttering, so potential buyers can see your home without also looking at your wedding photos hanging on the wall or kids’ toys scattered around the living room. For others, it can mean hiring a company to take out all your furniture, rent new furniture and make your home look magazine layout-ready. The amount of work (and money) you put into home staging is typically affected by the condition of the home and the asking price.
Why Stage Your Home?
Most Realtors believe that staging a home can help it sell faster. Conventional wisdom among real estate agents is that buyers respond better to clean homes with neutral furnishings and decorations, because it makes it easier for them to see themselves living there. Additionally, many buyers are looking for homes that are move-in ready, so seeing bright floral wallpaper or stained carpeting may just make them think of all of the work they would have to do if they were to make an offer.
Staging often also helps potential buyers move from the virtual space to reality. When people are browsing listings online, they are more likely to actually visit a home that has nice photography and an inviting, staged interior.
How Much Does it Cost?
The cost of staging a home can range from free to thousands of dollars. Decluttering and rearranging furniture doesn’t have to cost anything, while hiring a professional stager pushes the costs higher. The amount you spend should take into account the return on investment. About one-third of Realtors believe buyers will offer 1 to 5 percent more on a staged home, while a smaller percentage believe the increase is closer to 6 to 10 percent.
Wondering how to get started? Here are a few staging tips that agents often share with their clients:
- To make a room feel larger, paint it the same color as an adjacent room.
- In the kitchen and bathrooms, clean and paint everything to maximize freshness.
- Staging is about more than simply taking things away, though. As an example, you can create a reading nook on an oversized stair landing by adding a chair, a light and a small table, turning unused space into something much more valuable.