Photo Credit: Odigorealty.com
This post was contributed by Real Estate Experts, a leading team of realtors in Cary, NC.
Staging is more or less standard these days, even though it’s a fairly recent addition to the home seller’s to-do list. Most real estate agents will agree that staging offers clear benefits. Although staging is cosmetic, it can be decisive. It’s a bit like wearing a suit and tie to an interview – dressing up won’t transform a lackluster resume, but it may endear you to a hiring manager.
According to the national Real Estate Staging Association, staging can increase the final sale price of a home by as much as ten percent and trim the amount of time a home spends on the market by as much as three months. Depending on your local market, as well as your own post-sale plans, that can translate into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since we’re talking about an investment of a few thousand dollars a month at most, that means staging offers you significant dividends.
So why is staging so effective? The answers may surprise you.
Minimalist Is More
Most people think of staging as ornamentation – hiring an interior decorator or staging professional to kit out your property so that visitors are dazzled when they show up at the open house. The reality – and basic strategy – is much different. Staging is effective because it depersonalizes your home, turning it into a blank canvas where prospective buyers can more easily picture themselves. To that end, most staging professionals will advise you to remove signature furnishings and accessories, particularly if your tastes run to the eclectic or vivid.
If your staging plan does incorporate eye-catching, focus-pulling pieces, these will probably be made into focal points for a much more pared-down décor scheme than you’re used to. And if you’re planning to sell any large furnishings or built-in fixtures as part of your asking price, your staging plan will probably place them center stage in order to showcase these valuable pieces.
If you’re planning to undertake some DIY staging efforts on your own, you can achieve a similar effect with ruthless decluttering – of course, right before a move is the best possible time to discard and donate extra possessions – as well as a careful rearrangement of furniture, accessories, and art to create an overall impression of simplicity and clarity.
Photo Credit: Manhattanstaging.com
Remember, we mentioned above that staging is a superficial fix. It won’t effectively conceal serious structural issues – and of course, it’s in your best interests to be frank with prospective buyers about any problems that might affect the security of their investment down the road.
It’s also important for you to keep that sense of superficial touch-ups firmly in mind as you prepare your home for sale. It probably isn’t a good idea to invest in costly, comprehensive renovations before you put your home on the market. With rare exception, these upgrades won’t recoup the time or money you pour into them.
However, one cornerstone objective of staging strategy is brightening up a home to remove signs of wear and tear. One of the most cost-effective ways to do this is by painting dingy walls in a light neutral palette. Some of your fixtures can benefit from this treatment as well – for example, a brick fireplace.
Replacing kitchen cabinets is often beyond the resources of most home sellers, and fairly risky in terms of payoff, but repainting can cover up minor dents and scratches. If your cabinets are in good condition but dated in appearance, basic off-white can hide last year’s trends.
Now that the milk run has been replaced with the daily Amazon delivery, it should be no surprise to you that upwards of ninety percent of home buyers start their search for a new house online. Virtual house hunting is even more common among Millennials, who have officially overtaken their Baby Boomer parents as the biggest home buying client base.
This means that digital marketing materials are that much more crucial to a successful sale – and that in turn means that quality photos of your home’s interior are that much more of an asset to you. One of the most important advantages of staging is its ability to improve the appearance of your home in photographs and video tours.
“Curb appeal” is an industry term for staging techniques that are designed to enhance the appearance of your home’s exterior. These can also play a big part in your marketing materials, but their primary objective is capturing interest from prospective buyers walking or driving through the neighborhood. “Curb appeal” – get it?
Exterior staging tends to be extremely cost effective. For example, you might paint your door in an eye-catching color like scarlet or teal, or put in a small border of geraniums or marigolds. Wooden benches can create a seating area, and a few paving stones can guide buyers to your front door – protecting your lawn in the process.
As with your indoor checklist, a lot of exterior staging involves cleaning and clearing away rather than any expensive landscaping treatments. Dying trees, rusty patio furniture, overgrown hedges: these are probably not long for the post-sale world in any case, and in the meantime they can seriously downgrade the appearance of your lovely home.
Staging is a fairly straightforward process overall – and if you can’t afford to hire a staging consultant, there are plenty of cost-effective steps you can take to attract buyers and ensure a successful sale. Hopefully, this quick guide will help you understand the strategy behind staging, so you can apply it when you’re prepping your home for sale!
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