A Realtor’s Anecdote
Several years ago, I was invited to give a listing presentation at a palatial home in very upscale neighborhood in South Florida. The finished part of the home boasted over five thousand square feel of living space. Yes, there was a large unfinished section comprising of an additional two thousand five hundred square feet as well. I found the house to be nicely appointed with quality furnishings, a beautiful chef’s kitchen and a magnificent pool area. However, to be diplomatic, it looked very lived in. I found the bedrooms so cluttered that it w as difficult to enter them. Blankets and old newspapers where strewn on the entertainment room’s coffee table and the kitchen table and personal mementos decorated every room. To my clients, their home was a cozy place to unwind and relax in. But this was a home clearly in need of staging.
Over the years, staging has gained in popularity as sellers became educated as to the benefits to be derived therefrom. Think of the concept from a professional’s perspective, from the point of view of a builder. A successful builder has many options as to how to decorate a model, but a single minded focus. His sole concern is how to sell houses quickly and at his price. So why does he choose go to the expense of hiring an interior designer to stage his models. Because his research shows this expense is far more than offset by the resulting savings in overhead and financing charges.
Impressing the Buyer is Your Goal
You may have beautifully designed and furnished your home and every piece of decor may serve to evoke fond memories. But in all probability it is not staged to elicit the most advantageous reaction from a buyer. Your personal photos and other artifacts bring back fond memories of family events and loved ones. They are things you cherish and rightfully so. But while they are of great importance to you, to a buyer they are just things. They are clutter that makes it more difficult to visualize this as his or her home.
Since you have decided to sell the home that you love, the treasure trove of your fondest memories, the time has come to replace emotion with objectivity. It is the most effective path to the new lifestyle you desire. Consider that staging a home adds more value than it costs.
You only have one opportunity to make a first impression on a buyer and the advice of an expert will maximize the probability that your home will make a spectacular one. An experienced stager can quickly assess how a buyer will react to your home and recommend modest changes that will create a wow response.
Clutter Devalues, Staging a Home Revalues
It is rare for a home not to have a certain amount of clutter. The chef in you may enjoy experimenting with every new device that promises menus to impress even the harshest food critic. But now they are all sitting on your kitchen counters and to a buyer they are clutter. You may swear that every paper on your home office desk has a purpose and that you know the location of each one. But to a buyer its just more clutter. Staging a home is the solution.
A typical buyer equates organization with a high standard of maintenance. He or she may conclude that a well organized home is in excellent physical condition and has a stylish ambiance. The buyer is searching for a change in lifestyle just as you are and decluttering removes distractions and helps the buyer visualize living in your home. Isn’t that the reaction you are trying to achieve?
Trust Your Stager’s Judgement
I good stager has one mission in mind, to elicit the best reaction possible from prospective buyers. He or she is dispassionate and relies on experience and training to maximize the presentation your home makes. The idea is to eliminate distractions and create an ambiance which will present each space in your home in the best light.
You may be asked to remove and store some things, re-position furniture to create more open spaces and even change where your favorite work of art is displayed.
The Staging A Home Verdict
Make no mistake, when you hire a professional stager, you will be inconvenienced. You may turn your daily routine upside down. You may find it to be unsettling and feel you’ve allowed others to rearrange your home to suit their tastes. But if selling your home in the shortest amount of time and for the most money is your goal, it is precisely those “others” who should be your focus. Remember, research shows that every dollar you spend staging returns five to six additional dollars in sales price.
Happy staging – Andy K.
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