What is Staging?
Real Estate Staging is the process of preparing a home for the real estate market. Staging can encompass many details: cleaning, de-cluttering, putting items into storage, cleaning the exterior of your home to establish better curb appeal, painting, re-arranging artwork and furnishings, etc. If your home is vacant, it may mean renting furnishings to fill those empty spaces, so that eager homebuyers will be able to easily envision the practicality and usage of each room. If your home is lived-in, it may mean renting a storage unit for excess clutter, hiring a painter to create a fresh neutral canvas, and/or hiring a professional to help you expertly arrange your furnishings, art, and accessories. Each homeowners' needs are going to be different and each market will create varied demands on the seller as well. The primary goal of Staging is to create welcoming spaces that buyers will want to make theirs! If you are successful, you will sell fast AND get the best possible price.
Should I hire a Stager before or after I hire a Realtor?
It makes more sense to hire a Stager before you hire your Realtor but it's never too late to Stage your home. Essentially, you want your home looking it's absolute best before putting it on the market. Period. If you've taken the time to prepare your home for the market, your real estate professional should be able to give you an evaluation and have your home listed within a couple of days. If they recommend Staging, the process will take a little longer. In the end, making your home the very best it can be is what is important. Both Stagers and Real Estate Professionals should be working toward the same goal; to help you create a desirable home that buyers will want to make theirs, and to sell fast, for the best possible price. It might make better sense to have your home Staged prior to an evaluation with your real estate professional, but it's never too late to make the decision to stage your home and replace any pre-staging photos that are being used to advertise it.
How much does Staging cost?
Staging costs will vary depending on the services you require and the company you hire. If you have a large vacant property that you want staged, it may cost a few thousand dollars to furnish your home and pay for a Stagers services. Alternatively, if you have a furnished home and you are willing to take advice from a Stager, but do much of the hands-on work yourself, you can spend as little as a few hundred dollars and still have successful results. Staging can also cost you nothing. If you already have a clean and updated home, you have an objective eye, and you understand the logistics of Staging, you can simply do it yourself!
Selling quickly is a win-win situation for everyone. Ensuring your home is shown at its best during Showings, Open Houses, and especially in your Listing Photos is paramount! Never underestimate the importance of effectively preparing your home for the market!
What if I don't like what my Stager suggests?
Ultimately you don't have to do anything you don't want to when it comes to preparing your home for sale, but it is wise to consider what your Stager recommends. How you live in your home and how you Stage it in preparation for sale are vastly different from one another. It is possible that you won't like what your Stager suggests, especially if he/she has to tell you your house needs cleaning, your wallpaper is outdated, or that they smell pet odors. Stagers don't like having to tell you these things any more than you might want to hear them, but in reality, they are simply pointing out the things that potential homebuyers will notice. Things that you may not even be aware of. It is important to keep in mind however, that what a Stager recommends, in no way reflects their opinion of your taste or style preferences. They are simply helping you learn how to present your home so as to create a welcoming environment that will appeal to many buyers, thus increasing selling-potential. While you may not be able to view your home objectively, an unbiased Staging professional can.
Should I reduce the selling price of my house?
Never reduce the selling price of your home if you have not first tried Staging it! Reducing your home's selling price will often be a loss of at least $5000 - sometimes more, depending on the listing price of your home. Staging can involve many things: painting interior rooms, reducing the number of furnishings, moving storage to an off-site facility, landscaping, replacing fixtures, etc. Investing a little time and money into Staging can save you thousands of dollars and in some cases even make you money.
Compare what your home has to offer, versus others in your area. Has it been priced comparatively? No one can ever guarantee that Staging will sell your home, but if your home has been priced fairly, and other homes in your neighbourhood that are similarly-priced with similar features are selling, it may be prudent to consider why your home may not be. Reduce your selling price only if you have explored all of your options.
This is, of course, all dependent upon your homes listing price. No matter how nice your home has been Staged or how great the condition of it is, if it is over-priced, it will likely languish on the market, eventually becoming what is referred to as a "stale" listing, and that will never work to your benefit. Insisting on a higher price than your home is actually worth is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a homeowner - ensure you have an experienced professional advising you in this area. Realtors can provide you with a CMA (comparative market analysis) to help you decide on a listing price.
Why should I Stage my home?
Real Estate Staging is a wise investment in any market. Consumer expectation and awareness is making staging commonplace in today's times - more so than ever before. Buyers are looking for un-cluttered, clean, updated, and move-in-ready homes. To stay competitive, sellers need to keep up with this demand. Also, with the many new homes being built, resellers have the added pressure of competing with show homes. Real Estate Staging focuses on the visual appeal of your home and is geared towards creating a neutral, yet emotionally appealing environment that will draw the interest of many potential homebuyers.
What if my Realtor doesn't believe in Staging?
Not all real estate professionals are on board with Staging, and others will not even take a listing unless it has been Staged. While some Real Estate Professionals will advise you on what you should do to better prepare your home for the market, and some will even provide a Stager as part of their service, others will simply list your home, in as-is condition. Your home is a product that will be marketed to mass numbers of people. As such, its condition, and how it is portrayed in your listing photos is vital. Preparing your home for the market is simply a step in the selling process and everyone should Stage to some degree, whether it is simply de-cluttering your closets or freshly painting your interior. Ultimately, it is up to you to make your home shine. Remember: the Internet is the first place the majority of home-seekers will look, so be sure the photos of your home are professional, and represent your home at its absolute best!