Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / by Bill Berning*
What is home staging? Home staging is the art of strategic home improvements and makeovers, in an effort to prep your house for the real estate market. If you’re looking to sell your home, staging it the right way is essential to getting a sale sooner, rather than later. But staging isn’t just about making your home pretty for sellers to look at – it can accomplish many other things as well, from real improvements, to masking flaws, and more.
Staging for Your Home’s Faults
Have a tiny bathroom, tiny kitchen, or tiny home overall? Have a yard so lumpy that it’s not suited for anything but postmodern gardening? Staging can help mask these flaws, or even improve them properly. While high-intensity renovations that knock down walls and overturn your lawn are best left to the professionals (or at least Home & Garden TV reality shows), there are some staging elements that you can do yourself with a minimum of cost and effort.
Tiny rooms can easily be expanded with a few optical tricks. While the only thing that will truly expand a room in the footage sense is some intense construction, clearing a room of clutter and bringing in light will help make a small room seem more spacious. Remove bulky elements, and replace them with smaller, sleeker pieces. Updating hardware in your bathroom and kitchen can act to mask flaws as well as be a selling point in itself: take, for example, the trendy and stylish standing shower. Removing the tub from your bathroom already reclaims a great deal of floor space, and installing this more modern option will act as a real bonus for buyers both young and old. Other bulky elements that can be replaced are bathroom sinks (after all, how much room do you really need to wash your hands?), cabinetry, and shelving. Lawns and yards can be staged with an attractive patio and well-planned garden.
With more serious flaws, it’s a matter of proper home improvement projects, rather than trying to mask the issue with an attractive loveseat. If you’re not upfront with things like bad piping or electrical work, you might wind up saddled with a court date down the line. Take this opportunity to go through with those improvement projects you always meant to get around to, but consider leaving sensitive projects (such as the aforementioned water and electrical) to the pros.
Staging to Sell Your Home, Fast
A staged home is a home that sells faster, and for more money. As a home seller, it’s just good business sense to make your product – your house – look as attractive as possible to your consumers. Consider it from your buyers’ perspective: a buyer wants to see what your home can look like at its best, and wants to see that you’re eager to sell them a quality product. An individual who has gone to no efforts to stage won’t stand out from the pack, and a house that’s completely a blank slate – no furniture, no decoration, no nothing – will look just like any other blank building, and won’t whet your buyers’ appetite. With a staged home, you’ll wind up with more buyers lining up, and more offers rolling in, allowing you to pick and choose who you want bidding for your home.
In this sense, staging can also help your home sell for more. The housing market has steadily improved over the years, and the sellers’ market has been slowly returning. Making the effort to improve your home before you sell with updated hardware and a fresh coat of paint will satisfy your buyers more, and will have them making fewer price-lowering demands for glaring flaws. A buyer can’t complain about cramped quarters and an overgrown yard if your staging has already taken care of the problem.
Professional Home Stagers: Are They Worth the Price?
Many real estate agents offer professional staging services alongside their other duties. When you’re already working with them on the legal paperwork and marketing duties, it makes sense to ask their opinion and advice on your home’s looks. Prices vary from stager to stager, but can range from $1500-$2500. When you’re trying to sell your home at a gain, is that added expense worth it? What can they offer that you can’t handle on your own?
That price tag is for professional-level advice, and professional-level service. Not only do real estate stagers have years of experience under their belts, they also have contracts and connections to get you the best prices possible on staging elements and renovations. They’re also knowledgeable about their location, and what buyers in the area are looking for; they can help your home stand out on the market and stand out on the street, without sticking out like a sore thumb. There’s also the simple matter of convenience: staging takes time and a keen eye, and instead of stressing yourself with the details and worrying if your personal tastes match the buying public’s, you can put your trust in a real professional to keep things running smoothly.
Even with the best canvas to start from, a well-staged home can and will sell for more, and sell faster. The expenses of staging aren’t negligible, but will be more than recouped when closing comes around. Staging your home is well worth your efforts, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional stager to do the legwork for you.