Margaritas by the Pool and Home Staging?
Although Home Staging has been around for quite a while, it is still a relatively new concept to most people selling a home. Most realize they will need a Real Estate Agent, inspector, appraiser, and mortgage company but they forget the important aspect of fully merchandising their largest asset by hiring a professional home stager. Even when it is brought up by the selling agent as something to consider, it may initially be shot down and looked at as another added “cost” of selling a home. Home Staging is the art of merchandising a home to appeal to buyers the same way companies merchandise their products. We want to break down some of the top objections people have when they think of home staging and debunk some of those misconceptions.
- “I don’t want someone coming in to “judge” or criticize my home.” Let’s get right to it! This is probably the first thought most people have when initially approached with hiring a professional stager. The first and most important thing to remember is that a stager’s number one goal and your number one goal is the same – getting your home sold as quickly as possible for as much money as possible. They are not in the home to critique your décor style or judge the clutter that may have crept in over time. Their main goal is to help you capitalize on your largest asset by merchandising it to appeal to the buyer demographic in your area. Yes, they may tell you to declutter an area or recommend you remove some of your favorite décor pieces; but they will also show you how to see your home in the eyes of a potential buyer. They can help emphasize and strategically highlight the positive aspects of the home while downplaying the negative. If you take anything at all away from this post let it be this – People do not live in staged homes. No one expects a home that is lived in to perfectly appeal to a broad range of buyers. Your home is a reflection of you and the way you live, as it should be. The goal of the stager is to objectively view the home, depersonalize it and provide suggestions on what can be done to show the home in its best light.
- “How can I continue to live in my home once it’s been staged?” So the stager comes in, works their magic and the home looks amazing. Now what? In an occupied home, a best practice for most stagers is to work alongside the seller to develop a plan for the home that is realistic for the homeowner to live in until the home sells and a plan that is easy to maintain. Stagers understand that the home will still be used while it is on the market and that it is important to make sure it is ready to show at a moment’s notice. Once the changes and updates have been made to the home, it will be incredibly easy to prepare for a showing or open house. An HSR trained professional stager will give you tips and a checklist to have it ready to show within 15 minutes.
- “I don’t want to spend more money when there are already so many costs in selling a home.” Hiring a professional stager is not an additional cost in selling your home. Hiring a professional stager is an investment in your largest asset. We like to refer back to a quote from Barb Schwarz, the OG of home staging, “The investment of staging in your home is far less than a price reduction on your home”. According to the National Association of Realtors, the longer a home stays on the market the further below list price it drops. Homes that stayed on the market more than 4 weeks, sold at an average of 5% below the original list price. In another study by NAR, 53% of seller’s agents say that staging a home decreases the time it’s on the market. The typical investment to stage a home is 1-3% of list price and having a consultation with a staging report customized to your home is less than a 1% investment in most cases. An investment of 1-3% is LESS than the first potential price reduction! Another point to consider is the expenses you continue to incur while your home is on the market. You most likely have a mortgage payment, utilities, insurance, taxes and the list can go on. Most professional stagers have multiple service options available starting at a walkthrough that will result in a list of items that you can do yourself to a full day of staging where the stager works with you. It is important to review all options to find the one that works best for your schedule and budget. There are many costs associated with selling a home, but professional staging is not one. It is an investment in merchandising your largest asset to help it sell as quickly as possible.
Think of your home as a product in a store like we said in the beginning. For this example, let’s go with a blender. The manufacturer of blender A makes sure it’s shown in the best light possible so it stands out from the other blenders at the store. They carefully choose great ways to highlight the features of the blender on the package by showing graphics of frozen cocktails with little umbrellas giving the potential buyer thoughts of a carefree lifestyle, hanging out by a pool sipping a margarita. They set up a fun display with margarita glasses and limes next to their blender out of the box. Their main goal is to entice the buyer by giving them a glimpse of the wonderful life they could have if only they purchased this blender. Now, let’s look at blender B. There are no photos on the box. All the writing is in black and the box is white. The boxes are stacked on top of each other with no props or displays showing the blender out of the box. Which one do you think is going to stand out first to a potential buyer, margaritas or boring with no pictures? Which do one do you think the buyer will end up purchasing? Let’s take that same concept and apply it to a home. You want to be the fun margarita blender that stands out against the other competition by helping a potential buyer envision a wonderful lifestyle. While a stager is not going to set up your home to look like a tiki bar with margaritas, like the blender manufacturer, they are going to set the stage to merchandise your product (aka home) to appeal to the buyer demographic in your area. If you simply leave your home as is, you’re leaving it up to the buyer to visualize the home as theirs which most cannot. Over 80% of buyers say it is easier to visualize a property as a future home when it has been staged. Understand that staging is actually an investment in your home, not something to make you feel insecure or something that would be hard to maintain. It allows you to effectively market your home to buyers and allows you to stand out against all the other homes competing for buyers’ attention.