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October 19, 2017

Is Home Staging Worth it?

Nobody likes losing money, especially where selling a home is concerned, and moving is stressful enough without adding financial trouble to the mix.  Doubtlessly we have all heard at least one horror story of a home sitting vacant for months, draining the owners financially, until at last desperation pushes them to accept a low-ball offer.

With the economy mostly recovered, many people are upgrading to larger houses and better locations, or relocating for employment opportunities.  When the time has come to move, selling quickly, and making a return on the home’s investment, are both paramount.  How can you be sure you receive worthwhile offers as quickly as possible?  The simplest answer is home staging.

What is Home Staging?

For those who are not familiar with home staging, it’s the process of increasing a house’s desirability by furnishing it fully enough to seem homey, but sparsely enough to still allow potential buyers to both get a sense of the house itself, and imagine their families and belongings in the space.  In many cases it also involves fixing small cosmetic issues—a scuffed wall here, faded paint there—in order to increase the home’s value in the eyes of purchasers.

Why is Home Staging important?

This is important for a couple of reasons, according to an article in U.S News.  First, a properly staged home will attract more visitors.  Nearly all home buyers begin by looking at online listings.  In fact, a full 90% search for homes on the internet first, and then narrow down their choices to the few they want to see in person.  With hundreds of competing houses available at the click of a button, attractive photographs are vital to attract potential owners to your listing.  Place yourself in the shoes of a home buyer: would you want to spend your limited time visiting a house with no photos listed online, or with distracting chaos and clutter in every shot?  Or would you rather spend that time viewing a house that appears welcoming, orderly, and well cared for?

Second, the fact is that, while contractors and house flippers see potential beyond minor repairs and imperfections, ordinary consumers generally don’t.  This is true even of many consumers who believe they do look past they surface.  It is surprisingly easy to fall into the “fixer-upper” category, even if your home is not in bad condition.  Receiving a good selling price for your house depends, among other things, on attracting the right people to view it.  For example, first time buyers will pay more than house flippers, and will be willing to make a few compromises, but will usually not consider a house that needs a lot of obvious repairs—even small ones—unless they are bargain hunting.  Staging a home for sale will present a much more attractive image, highlighting positive features, and removing minor flaws that, although small and easily fixed, would hurt the home’s value.  Staging will help you home show off its maximum potential, thus increasing its likelihood of selling.  In fact, according to Nolo.com, home staging often means your house will sell faster and for more money.

Should you do it yourself?

But why, many may ask, is it necessary to hire a professional to stage your home?  According to The Cooperator New York, home staging consists of five basic elements: de-cluttering, paring down, positioning furniture, color, and lighting.  It sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it?  In reality, however, it’s not as easy as it seems.

First, it is harder for an individual seller to have the resources to stage a home properly.  Will you leave some of your belongings behind until the house is sold, or incure the expense of buying furniture just to stage the home with?  A professional, on the other hand, may have an entire warehouse of furniture and supplies to use in home staging.

Second, there is a certain amount of psychology involved.  Because there is no one “perfect house” that will fit everyone’s tastes, a staged home must be a carefully constructed blank canvas.  It must invite every visitor to superimpose his or her idea of perfection over it, and must do so discreetly enough that it feels natural.  Furniture will be chosen and placed to make the space feel larger and more open.  The emotional connotations of color also play a big role—different palettes may be used to make the family room feel warmly welcoming, and the master bedroom calm and peaceful.

Third, a good home stager is has one foot in real estate and one foot in renovation.  According to Nolo.com, this professional will be able to identify the market you need to focus on, see and discuss what can be done to most increase your home’s appeal, recommend contractors to make necessary repairs, and then stage the home to look its best—all while taking the stress off of you!  In the end, this adds up to make a big difference.

While there may be some people who already have gorgeous furniture, perfect, professional décor, and a spacious house that never looks cluttered, the rest of us live real life in real homes.  When the time comes to sell those homes, professional home staging is the key to a quick, profitable sale.  Without it, home sellers are simply rolling the dice.

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