The world of sales is one of those industries that is shrouded in mystery. One of the reasons for this must be that it concerns humans and our (often irrational) psychology. Which is why it is one of the most controversial and frankly hated industries at the same time. Few positions as (drug-dealer, hitman, Herbalife affiliate) incur the same amount of skepticism as salespeople. Considering that home sales are just like any other type of sales, that means, one in which first impressions matter, the way and degree to which your home is staged is essential in creating that lasting first impression. The following are our top staging tips.
The purpose of staging is to draw attention to a home’s strengths while diverting attention away from a home’s weak points. This brings us the first major staging tip which is to prioritize and focus your staging efforts.
Let’s be honest. Some rooms are more important than others. Just think about it. Most of your time is spent in the living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. All rooms that are essential to your daily routine. Your energy, focus, and money should go into these spaces more than any other. Rooms like bathrooms and guest bedrooms shouldn’t receive the same amount of attention as those mentioned above. This is not only logical, but supported by buyer surveys. According to the National Association of Realtors, the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen were shown to have the most influence over buying decisions.
Home staging is as much a creative endeavor as it is a business one. When it comes to the creative side, stagers must carefully curate furnishings and decorations that fit the style and flow of the home. One of the most essential balances that stagers must nail is the balance between personal and impersonal. On one hand, staging should give life to a space, ignite a buyer’s imagination, and provide some eye candy. On the other hand, the staging can’t be too flamboyant as to shut down a buyer’s imagination and prevent them from seeing their personal tastes imposed upon the space. With this in mind, some neutral, abstract artwork can bring a space to life while still allowing buyers to visualize the home as their own. Check out Wayfair for some cost-effective options. Taking steps to de-personalize the home is also a must. A properly staged home is devoid of any personal photos, framed or otherwise, on fridges, etc.
3. Declutter and Perform a Deep Clean
I think it’s fair to say that we have established that first impressions count. So, in that vein, let us say unequivocally that nothing turns buyers off more than a dirty or cluttered home. Oftentimes, we tend to give ourselves slack when our living spaces begin to get messy. Bluntly, we are more unaware of our own clutter because, well, it's our clutter. Unfortunately, others (and homebuyers in particular) do not share that same forgiving attitude. This is especially true for buyers—they aren’t coming over for a “chill” afternoon in grey sweatpants and a t-shirt—actually it’s quite the opposite. They are looking for every opportunity to point out grime, lack of care, or worse, things like water damage or mold. This is, to some degree, natural. Everyone wants to protect their pocketbook and make sure their family isn’t living in an unclean or even dangerous environment. That being said, as the homeowner, real estate agent, or stager, you must make sure the home is sparkling clean.
We recommend performing a deep clean. This is the type of clean one does when they move into a new home. Our pro tips include using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for stains on your appliances, cleaning all lighting fixtures (high and low) for dust, and using vinegar for tile floors.
4. Minor Repairs
This point piggybacks off the previous. Oftentimes, the loving use of a home can end up giving it some minor scuffs, scratches, and dents to the walls and ceilings. We recommend performing these minor repairs yourself or finding a trustworthy handyman to help. Dents in walls and ceilings can be repaired by sanding, applying joint compound, sanding again, and applying paint. Scuffed/scratched walls might require some touching-up with a fresh coat of paint. A common problem area that we see is bathroom tile. Often, years of hot showers will cause the caulking between bathroom tiles to erode or collect dirt and grime. This will require a fresh caulking, and that’s it! You can pick up a tube of caulk for $5 or less from your local hardware store and you’re well on your way to repairing one of the biggest eyesores in the bathroom.
Your home should be as bright as possible in regards to both natural and artificial light. All blinds should be open as to invite in as much natural light as possible. During showings, all lamps and lights should also be on. The more lighting, the better. This isn’t just superstition—there’s a science to all of this. According to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, exposure to sunlight or bright light is correlated with increases in serotonin which improves mood and feelings of well-being. Besides the effects on buyers, well-lit rooms appear more spacious and welcoming.
Well, that’s it! Some of these tips are more obvious than others, but overall, they are all related to nailing the all important first impression. Something we recommend is having multiple people spot check the home for cleanliness and lighting before showings to ensure that it is indeed in tip-top shape. Many of these measures are deceptively simple, but they can absolutely make or break a listing. In staging and cleanup, it’s all about giving agents the best chance they can to sell the property at a fantastic price.
Staging a house can get expensive, especially if the stager doesn’t cut corners. However, if you’re listing a house and the homeowner does not have a budget to stage the house, we suggest virtual staging!
Virtual Staging is when we take a photograph of an empty room, and add virtual furniture, art work and more. This gives a buyer a great idea on what a room looks like while occupied while saving the seller tons of cash.
We offer Virtual Staging for $50 per photograph. Learn more about our Virtual Staging service here.