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Home Staging

What is Home Staging?
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Home staging, real estate staging, or simply "staging", as it is commonly known is anything that helps a home seller make their home more attractive and appealing to potential buyers.  The exact definition of what stagingencompasses does vary, but typically, a home stager brings in furniture, artwork, plants, rugs and accessories to make a house look it's best while on the market.  Some "full service" stagers also offer contractor consulting services which may include choosing paints, tiles, carpets, etc, and working with the contractors to get the house ready.

Sometimes the seller will want to use their own furnishings, and the stager can consult with them on how to reduce clutter, open up rooms more, etc. 

Sometimes stagers will also help reduce the negative impact of some challenge the house has.  For example, if there is traffic noise from a busy street nearby, they might put a fountain in the yard to create a more pleasant atmosphere.  One may think that buyers make logical decisions, but often emotions guide buyers to what just "feels right".  Creating a warm, inviting and attractive atmosphere can make a huge difference to the seller of a home.

Staging can range from a simple consultation with the sellers about how to reduce clutter, to completely running a project, including painting, landscaping, flooring and, of course, staging the interior of the home with furniture, plants, artwork accessories and more .

What are the benefits?

If you are selling a home, you may be wondering about house staging.  Here is a partial list of the benefits that home staging provides:

1) Staged Homes sell faster. 

2) Staged homes get higher offers

3)  Staged houses look better in the MLS pictures, getting more potential buyers to actually come see the house in the first place.

4) Staged houses have an edge over competing properties, and the stagingcan often sway the final decision.

Depending on what part of the country you are in, the cost of staging can range quite a bit.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, some stagers report that the average is around $2,500 per house.  That may seem like a lot of money for house staging, but many sellers report that they got at least $25,000 more for the house because they staged.  That would be a 10- fold return on their investment, usually within a few months.  There aren't many options like that available to a seller.   

In addition, there is the benefit of the home selling more quickly.  It is often hard to put an exact value on that aspect, but ask anyone who has been transferred across the country, and sold a house in the process, and they will likely tell you that the speed of sale was very important.  House staging can have a big impact, and often lead to a faster sale.

Here is an excellent article that summarizes the benefits of home staging.

Home Staging Tips

Studies have shown that most buyers make a decision about a house within 15 seconds of walking in the door.Many other buyers make a decision without ever getting out of their car.  The message here is that first impressions are very, very important when selling a home. 

Home Staging Tips for the Outside of Your Home

The feeling that people get about the house from the street is called "curb appeal" and there are many home staging tips  to improve it. 

1) Eliminate any and all clutter. Trim back overgrown bushes, and generally do a thorough clean-up.

2) A fresh coat of paint goes a long, long way to making a house look good. Be careful not to pick too strong of a color.  The idea is to appeal to the greatest number of buyers as possible.

3) Fresh sod or landscaping can make a major difference.

4) Eliminate any other negatives like oil stains on the driveway, an old T.V. antennae on the roof, etc.

5) Putting out some some simple flowers in a pot on the front porch, and a new doormat can create an inviting feeling to buyers.

Home staging tips to improve the inside of the home also:

1) Eliminate all clutter.  Homes look bigger and more stylish without any clutter.  Many stagers have the clients move out entirely, and the stagers bring in their own items.  Take all of the pictures off of the refrigerator, remove any stacks of paper on your desk, etc.  Also, having a professional house cleaning service come in and do a thorough once-over is almost always well worth the cost.

2) Fresh paint can make a real difference.  It is the frosting on the cake.  Use colors that will appeal to the greatest number of people.  You may prefer something bolder or outrageous for yourself, but when selling a house, neutral-colored interior paints work best.  Also, replace any worn carpets or other flooring.  If you have hardwood floors that are in rough shape, having them refinished can often return many times the cost of the refinishing, and sell the home much faster.

3) In many parts of the country homes are shown with no window coverings at all.  This creates an open and airy feeling.

4) Make sure there are no unpleasant pet or cooking odors.  Some sellers now bake cookies for the open house, creating a warm feeling in they buyer's mind.

5) Use size-appropriate furniture.  If you have a small bedroom, don't put a king-sized bed in there. Conversely, if you have a huge master suite, putting a single bed in there would look unbalanced.

6) Leave the lights on even during the day to make the home as bright as possible.

All of these home staging tips are really geared towards making the whole package seem as pleasant and comfortable as possible.  One would think that buyers buy with their heads, but it's often their hearts that make the decision!

Staging can range from a simple consultation with the sellers about how to reduce clutter, to completely running a project, including painting, landscaping, flooring and, of course, staging the interior of the home with furniture, plants, artwork accessories and more.