When you’re selling a home, you’re out to do one thing: to impress. At any given time, hundreds of homes are being put on the market. But far from the impulse buys of online shopping, home shopping remains a big, well-thought-out investment. It then becomes imperative for home sellers to make their properties stand out by presenting them in a way that resonates with their customers, thereby increasing their chances of selling them at a reasonable price. Let your home give the best impression possible by staging it.
Staging is preparing a home for the viewing of potential buyers. It involves the thoughtful use of space, finding and showcasing the home’s best angles, and giving prospective buyers some ideas on how the space can be used for their needs. No Photoshop or Lightroom here — just excellent design principles at work.
All homes can benefit from staging, no matter what kind of market is prevailing in the economy. Empty homes, outdated ones looking for a revamp, or hidden properties in excellent locations are the types that benefit most from staging.
As of 2021, almost 50% of buyers’ agents say their clients have made buying decisions based on staged properties. For sellers, staging has significantly increased selling prices by 5-15% from the original asking price while only taking up 1-2% of total costs. Staged homes are sold up to 30 times faster than unstaged ones, fuelling the need for dressed-up properties to close the sale.
Staging gives your home the best advantage to get your foot in the door, and sometimes, that’s all you need to push a sale to completion. Staging is more than just making your home a pretty picture. It also:
Studies show that consumers are more likely to recommend brands or companies with which they are emotionally connected. The same goes for homes. Homes that are staged to look ready for moving engage buyers to envision the home as their own. Refreshing the look with trendy colors, furniture, and fixtures makes buyers excited to live somewhere new.
Emotionally invested buyers are more likely to fixate on your home and would be more amenable to changes in the offer price to your advantage. They would also make for less demanding buyers as they’ve already gained much satisfaction from the property as it is.
Dressing up the place may involve some costs, but it ultimately increases the property’s market value. By staging, you show greater potential for the home, which allows you to command a higher asking price. Buyers hunting and comparing prices across homes are always out for the property that will give them the most value for their money. Staging reassures buyers that your home is an excellent investment and that this home is far from a cheap fixer-upper they would have to worry about months down the line, but that also comes at a premium. The increase in perceived value and peace of mind must not be taken for granted.
Staging helps buyers visualize how to utilize the space of an empty home. Because people come with their own unique experiences, each home would hit each individual differently. However, a staged home would likely bring more inspiration than an unstaged one. For example, a small living area could be a personal reading nook for an avid reader, but for a family with young kids, this could be the perfect spot for a playroom.
Staging also increases the viability of a home by reimagining the use of awkward spaces, turning these spaces that stick out like sore thumbs into assets in themselves. A protruding corner could be staged into a cozy private nook that would endear buyers with the right accessories, and furniture or a low-ceilinged property could look bigger using lighter-colored walls.
Looking through a staged home also helps manage buyer expectations on the size and usefulness of the space and serves as a springboard on how they can adjust this to their liking. For most of the population who have no experience in interior design, this is a much easier option than filling out a space from scratch.
Think of the many times you’ve scrolled through your Instagram or Pinterest account and your thumb stops on something that catches your eye. Maybe it’s the color, the accents, or the overall look, but something about it causes you to stop and take a second look. The compulsion to gravitate towards whatever stands out applies to many aspects of our modern lives today, even for big-ticket items like homes.
Staging allows your home to put its best foot forward, cutting through the online clutter and into the minds of your target audience.
Staging isn’t rocket science; it’s all about making your space appealing to as many kinds of buyers as possible. There are professional stagers who can give your home a sweep and dress it up, but for those who would want a DIY approach, here are some steps to stage your home for success.
Cleanliness is the most basic tenet of staging. All the accessories and rearrangements in the world cannot cover up a dirty and cluttered space. Make cleaning the first step to create a blank canvas for staging later on.
As the current owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your home is a clean and safe environment for your buyer. Put in the time to thoroughly check all areas and leave no stone unturned in cleaning them for the next owner. If time is not on your side, you can hire a professional cleaner to do the work for you. It may cost you some money, but the peace of mind for both you and your prospective buyers will be worth it. Showing a clean space is crucial for an excellent first impression of you and the home.
Moreover, include simple repairs in the task list such as paint touch-ups, shining, and buffing. These cost little in time and effort but play a significant role in the full impact of your home. Bigger repairs such as pipes and electrical wiring can also be taken on. Still, if the repair does not improve the home’s aesthetic, it can be saved for more serious negotiations.
If you’re currently living in the space that you are selling, moving out is the perfect time to clear out your stuff. Not only is it personally beneficial to rid yourself of unnecessary clutter, but it also frees up your home’s space, making it bigger and brighter. This makes it easier for viewers to envision their things inside as well. If you decide to sell your space, try to live lightly, clear out the things you don’t need, or box them all up and move them to storage for your next home.
A well-lived home speaks volumes about how well it has served you, but it does not necessarily show its potential for its next owner. A clean slate is best for the home to start fresh. Replace your family photos with generic pictures or remove them entirely and replace them with potted plants or other accessories. Try putting your personal effects in the bathroom cabinet during viewings, then pull them out again at night.
Removing your personal effects makes it easier for buyers to picture themselves in the home, minus the prevailing thought of having to kick you out of the space. There is nothing like that awkward thought to make moving into a new home seem like an imposition rather than a welcome event.
With a blank canvas, you can now start adding in some elements to make your home picture perfect. Remember that this home is not for you to live in, so keep things simple and try not to burn a hole in your wallet by accessorizing. The accessories are only meant to enhance what’s already there, not overpower it. The goal is to create a welcoming space that will entice buyers to look further.
While it might be tempting to create a unique space through bright walls and funky patterns, these can be polarizing and would affect your chances for success. A neutral home is generally easier on the eyes, so try to temporarily tone down the quirky vibes in the home for viewing purposes. You can consider painting over accent walls, using more neutral or pastel versions of these colors, or trading bright carpets for some brown or beige counterparts. If your furniture acts as your accent piece, try moving this to other private rooms for lesser overall impact, or if space is a concern, rent a storage unit to handle it for a few weeks.
If you lack design or accessory ideas, you can never go wrong with a few fresh potted plants. Plants work on any color palette and are a refreshing pop of color in a home without trying to steal the show. To not distract viewers, spread plants out across your home, and use different sizes for different uses. Long-stemmed leaves can be used as centerpieces on a dining table in one corner of the room, while small vases with tufts of grass or succulents can work as accents for consoles or side tables. For those without a green thumb, don’t fret. Artificial plants are so convincing that they look just like the real thing, bringing life to a room minus the maintenance.
Fresh scents would also be an excellent addition to the overall atmosphere. The deep clean would ensure no foul odors linger, but adding a plug-in scent or a reed diffuser to the welcoming feel wouldn’t hurt. You can even try creating DIY home scents using food ingredients without breaking the bank. But be sure that the type and intensity of the scent are just enough for the room. The last thing you want is for the smell to overpower the room, leaving a suffocating first impression on your home.
Make the most of what you have and rearrange your existing furniture to provide as much open space as possible. With this, you assist buyers in navigating through the space and allow room for them to visualize their furniture should they decide to move there. If you have furniture that has seen better days or if one of those fixtures doesn’t fit with the room’s overall look, don’t be afraid to remove it or put it in storage in the meantime.
Brighten up your home and make the space look bigger by using sunlight to your advantage. Know the direction by which the sun hits your home at certain times of the day and adjust the placement of your blinds and curtains accordingly. Ensure all the bulbs in your home are in working condition and use the right tones to put your home in good lighting.
Staging a home is essential to keep up in today’s competitive real estate market. It increases the value of a home while helping prospective buyers pick out a space that is truly made for them. With a clean space and applying some basic design principles, anyone can get more value for their home at little to no cost.