To Stage or Not to Stage?

Some real estate agents believe that staging can make or break a showing of your home.  Some believe it is unnecessary; either it is the house for them, or it isn’t.  How it is decorated doesn’t really make a difference.  Whether you do it or not is up to you, as a seller.  It is more important for some houses than for others.  It can depend on your home and how much of “you” is in it. A few things to consider:

  1. How cluttered is your home?  If it is full of “stuff”, de-cluttering, packing, storing and then rearranging might do you some good in terms of how well your house shows.
  2. How much furniture do you have?  Too much furniture can make your rooms look smaller than they are. Even the scale of your furniture can matter.  If it is too big, a room will look small.
  3. How personalized is your home?  Do you have a lot of “kitschy” items or family photos on every wall?  If a home is too “you”, a buyer may have a hard time picturing him/herself in it.  You might consider packing away the things that scream you and save them for your new home.

If your house is slow to sell, it certainly can’t hurt to try to spice things up.  Staging is one way to change up your showings.  If your home isn’t selling anyway, you don’t have much to lose by trying a different approach (except maybe $50 or so to store your items, but if it works, you’ve lost $50 versus another house payment!).

How to Stage Your Home

If you’ve decided you should go ahead and stage your home, the steps are pretty simple.

  1. De-clutter- Less is more. Pack away anything extra, throw or give away anything you don’t need, and even consider removing some of your furniture.  Make sure there’s enough furniture to define the room, but make it look clean and spacious.
  2. Arrange furniture away from the walls in grouping that lend themselves to conversations.  It will feel more cozy and welcoming.  Make sure that foot traffic can flow easily through the room.
  3. Neutralize your space by painting the room a neutral color.  Neutral does not have to equal boring.  White isn’t a must.  Tans and even soft blues or greens can be great neutral colors that appeal to many buyers more than that bright yellow that you just had to have to brighten your home!  In small spaces, paint them the same color as an adjoining room to make the space appear to be one large space.  Paint can really make a difference in how your home looks to others AND how they imagine themselves in the space.
  4. Make sure you have adequate lighting.  Too bright is a turn off and too dark makes the walls feel like they are closing in on you.  Aim for soft lights that still allow you to get around a room, but don’t feel like you’ve just walked into a big box store.
  5. Use simple, tasteful art to make a room more interesting.  If you like nude portraits, that’s fine, but pack them up while showing your home!  Smaller pictures at varied eye levels draw attention and make a room interesting and appealing to buyers.
  6. Fresh flowers or foliage (it’s fall!  Bright leaves can make a great decoration!) can really pop in a neutral space.  Explore your yard or the woods nearby to add some interesting color to your spaces.
  7. Even if you only use one of your bedrooms as a bedroom, make a guest room with a simple air mattress, serene bedding and lots of pillows!  A cheap and easy way to show off space.  Most buyers want more than one bedroom, so it’s good to show them you have more than one.
  8. If your kitchen needs some rejuvenation, but it’s not in your budget, try painting cabinet fronts and putting on new hardware.  You can really give new life to your kitchen with very little money by doing these 2 simple things.

The list could go on and on, but if you are on a budget, these simply suggestions may make the difference between a house that sits on the market for months costing you money and a house that sells.

Will It REALLY Help?

Only time will tell if staging will really help to sell your home.  However, it is usually a relatively inexpensive way to improve the look of your house, which seems unlikely to hurt.  If your house is already unique, eclectic decorating may be the way to go and may bring more interest in and to your showings.  If your house is a “period” house, making sure the décor matches the style is probably a good idea.  However, for your run of the mill home, staging seems to be a good way to neutralize your home to appeal to the most sellers without costing you an arm and a leg. Some homes seem to sell fine without it. However, if your house has been on the market for a while and you are anxious to sell, putting $500-$800 (And, really, how much you spend is up to you.  You can do a little or a lot.) into staging may well save you money in the long run.  If your house sells one month sooner than it would have otherwise, that’s one less house payment you have to make.  If it sells 6 months sooner than it would have, that’s thousands of dollars in house payments.  However, there is no guarantee it will bring offers.  Getting someone in the front door for a showing has to happen before staging can do you any good.  So, ultimately, it is up to the sellers on whether they believe it is worth it, for them, to put the time, money and energy into staging their home. Guest post Amy R.

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm
Ellen Dudley | Category: Blog | Tagged

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