Open House Tip # 3 – Staging the Home

Before Pic Living RoomMarketing a home takes place externally and internally. External marketing includes the MLS listing, website listing, newspaper advertising, classified ads and Just Listed postcards to name a few.

Marketing a home internally is equally important as you have spent all this time and money getting them to come to the home and now you want to impress them. In an earlier post called Open House Tip # 2 – Sell the House to Buyers I discussed the importance of setting up small signs and notes around the home highlighting features that buyers might not notice.

After Pic Living RoomAn equally important internal marketing tool is “Staging the Home” . Almost without exception you cannot put a home on the market “as-is” without alienating at least 60% of the people who see it and cannot get past the clutter, untidiness or the “lived-in” look. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, if you expect to get top dollar you will have to invest at least as much time as you did when you sold your last car. Remember vacuuming, shampooing the rugs, changing the oil and cut-polishing it until it looked like new? Why? Because you want ed people to think it was newer than it was to get more money for it. It is no different than your home.

Staging defined – “the preparation of a home to sell by a professional who specializes in this form of decorating.” Staging can occur on two different levels:

1. Basic Staging
• Removing clutter in the home.
• Placing only attractive, basic furniture in each room.
• Keeping walls, trim, and carpet in neutral colors.
• Removing personal items including pictures, hobby items, etc.
• Taking care of any deferred maintenance items.
• Cutting the grass, trimming the bushes and taking care of the landscaping.
etc

2. Emotional Staging
Emotional staging goes a little further trying to get the buyers to picture themselves living in your home by creating a specific ambience. Examples of this are:
• Putting pillows and two wine glasses in front of the fireplace to create a romantic evening in front of the fireplace.

So while I agree that Staging is an important marketing tool you might find the view from the other side interesting.

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer’s Agents recently published a report entitled “How not to get tricked by staging and potentially save $ 5,645 when you buy your home” which I found enlightening.

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (naeba.org) conducted a survey in the summer of 2007 of their broker & agent members about the practice of home staging. The survey focused on the impact on home buyers of the practice. The report outlines the results of the survey.

According to a 2003 survey by HomeGain (Emeryville CA) of 2,000 real estate agents Nationwide, a small investment by a home seller on cleaning & decluttering, lightening and brightening, and home staging, produced an average increase in sales price of $5,645.

So while staging is supposed to be helping market a home the buyer’s agents have found two interesting outcomes.

  • 82% of home buyers are likely to be distracted from important issues when they go through a staged home.
  • 51% of the respondents noted that staged homes often cover up real defects including structural damage.

Whether you are a home buyer, selling agent or buyer’s agent there is something to be learned from this. When viewing a “staged” home you need to look beyond the staging. You may love the colors but it is the structure of the house, the layout, how the property fits your needs, etc. that is really important. Don’t get fooled by small furniture making a room look larger. Measure it and make sure your sofa will fit.

Here are a few resources for you to learn more about staging.

Staged Homes website
Recreating Interiors website
Home Staging Resource website
Decorated to Sell website
20 Staging Tricks to Sell Your Home

7 Comments Add yours

  1. CWaterhouse says:

    A note about home staging … My friend, Cindy Lin of Staged4More has put very eloquently shared some thoughts about home staging and the NAEBA survey.

    From Cindy Lin – “I suppose it’s a form of flattery that we stagers are considered as public enemy #1 by National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. While I agree with certain parts of the report such that sellers will be able to sell their home faster and potentially for more money, but a lot of it I do not agree with.

    The report spent a lot of time explaining that sellers use staging to mask fundamental flaws such as foundation cracks, stains, leakage, etc. which I considered as HIGHLY UNETHICAL on a stager’s part, and illegal may I add (at least in California). It is NOT my job as a stager concealing fundamental flaws of the home, nor I should do it because not only I am open myself, my agent client and my seller client to liability and lawsuits, it is something that sellers must disclose while selling. Additionally staging is geared toward buyer’s benefits as well.

    The staging will help buyers to realize the home’s potential by staging tricky floor plan and using furnishing to help guiding the buyers to realize that just because of the room is small, it doesn’t mean this is a total waste of space. Moreover, staging helps buyers’ agents by assisting the clients finding the home that they want. It will help to add to their commission by closing a higher priced sale. The report also pointed out that buyers get so distracted by the staging, they don’t noticed details such as cracked windows or cracks on the wall and they end up buying the house. Excuse me, but isn’t it buyers agents’ due diligence to notice these types of things as well? And seller must discloses these on the contract (at least in California). Moreover, staged props are generally removed by final inspections. Things such as cracked windows, carpet stains, should be visible in plain sight.”

    Hmmm… just a thought. Perhaps there really are two sides of every story.

    Calie Waterhouse
    Decorated To Sell

    1. hmmm says:

      I doubt he wanted the stager to do all the work. I believe these are suggestions for pros to come in a do.

  2. We are retired due to my husband’s illness. Extra bars have been added to the walls in the bathing area of the master ensuite. We also have a special ” Raised toilet seat” in there for his convenience. Is it ” ok” to leave the bathroom as it is during the selling of our home ? Without these items my husband , who has Early-Onset Parkinson’s Disease, will have a very difficult time with using the bathroom facilites. The other bathroom down the hall & the powder room are not “Outfitted” with these extras… Your advice would be greatly appreciated as we are in the process of staging our home for sale. Thankyou !

  3. Vince Mc Guire says:

    I don’t view the bars as a problem; on the contary they may be an added plus when selling.

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