What is it? And, why do I want it? You’ve seen the HGTV, A & E, and DIY network shows where the ‘after pictures’ of the made-over homes look amazing! You secretly wish you had the time, funds, vision, or better yet – one of these pros to come in and redesign your home, too!
Keep in mind, there is a difference between getting a makeover and home staging. A makeover can involve remodeling. The ‘smallest’ of projects may be adding a closet or a skylight, or changing the tiling in the bathroom. Larger makeover projects can include flooring throughout the house, adding or restructuring a room/s, replacing all the windows and doors, etc. Staging includes de-cluttering, organizing what can and cannot be seen standing in a doorway, (think interiors of closets and your pantry), and arranging furnishings to achieve the desired, envisioned balance and ambiance.
The term staging is most commonly used when referring to a home being placed on the real estate market for resell. The intent, as Barb Schwarz, President of IAASP reports, “so the buyers can mentally move in”. In the case of the tv shows, staging only takes place to highlight the features of the makeover. Neither of these staging projects is completed with actual living circumstances or comforts in mind. ‘Ever noticed how rarely we see a television or stereo in a staged room? And, the rooms are mostly devoid of comfortable recliners, live plants, and pictures of the family.
Resell staging is NOT the same as decorating. Staging for resell is intended to invite potential buyers to picture THEIR items in your space. Beyond the required deep cleaning, this will require: (1) Minimizing the number of furnishings in each space. This is done to showcase the size of the space and remove distractions from forward dreaming buyers. (2) Neutralizing your home; removing extraordinary collections and family pictures, and ensuring wall paint color can support the average buyers’ furnishings. Again, less distracting… (3) The arrangement and balancing of furnishings, and adding decorative enhancements (as needed).
Do you really want to live like this? Well, maybe, with some tweaks, as the livable home can still appear to be beautifully staged. So, no more FOMO! Bring in the color! Keep the recliner! Have that oversized tv!
To have livable staging in your home you will still need de-cluttering, rearranging, a bit of updating or enhancements, and a deep cleaning. You cannot skip the cleaning part; carpets, walls, furniture, candlesticks, mirrors, overhead fans…everything. You want each surface to reflect light and look fresh. And, if your walls are scarred beyond cleaning, or have a blah color, or don’t accent your décor, it really is time to paint.
When you’re ready to sell your home recall when you were shopping for it. You probably visited staged, un-staged, and even vacant homes. If you are like most home shoppers, the messy ones had you focused on the random, out of sync belongings, dust, crumbs, crooked / outdated pictures, towels on the bathroom floor…and well, the smell. The vacant homes made it difficult to judge what size furniture would fit (i.e., queen or king size bed, dining table for 4 or 6+, a 7’ or 8’ couch, etc.). The staged homes assisted you in seeing how the home will look with matching, well balanced, updated, inspiring furnishings. All of these things helped you make your decision to put in an offer. As a seller, you’ll want to recreate that experience. And, don’t forget your online presence! Having professionally produced photographs is a must. Let’s face it; a picture of a beautifully staged home is much more intriguing to browsing buyers than a blank corner of a room.
For these reasons, staging your home for resell, in my mind, is a no-brainer. The statistics are there. Depending on who which ones your read, your home will sell 40%-85% faster (i.e., if an un-staged home takes 60 days to sell, it could have taken only 24 to 51 days). And/or, it could sell for an estimated 1-10% over the asking price. (Aka $100 to $1000 per $10k of increased purchase price.) Of course, one must always keep in mind the trending home resell market and the ‘comparables’ in the area.
In the meantime, if your goal is to have a livable, yet (mostly) staged looking home, that is achievable. You just may need a little help…We are but a phone call or email away.
Kathryn Hisert's experience includes 30+ years of sales and marketing. This includes having been a Realtor for over a decade, a Marketing association president, and an Accredited Staging Professional. She is currently a member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing), National and Arizona Realtor associations and various home staging groups.