The Benefits of the Growing Trend
Selling your home these days is a fierce competition. HGTV shows are popular; professional photography is expected. Upon seeing your listing in their inbox or social media feed, a buyer’s first impression is critical. It’s either, “Show me that home, now!” or “Not interested”—with very little gray area in between.
So, how do you make your home stand out? How do you make sure a potential buyer who sees your home’s listing…asks to see it in person? Then, how do you turn that showing…into a sale?
The answer could be home staging—giving your home a facelift that makes it more appealing to potential buyers. According to a 2015 report from the National Association of REALTORS®, 81 percent of home buyers say it is easier to visualize a property as their future home when it is staged.
RE/MAX realtor Nadine Blakely provides the service for free when a seller lists their home with her—something she has been offering since 2007.
“I’ve been trained to have a keen eye for the little things that make a big difference,” said Blakely.
She explains how “staging is different from decorating.”
“I don’t necessarily decorate your home but work with a client to help them show off the really good side of all aspects of their property,” said Blakely.
Staging in occupied houses for sale focuses on the elimination of “things” to attract buyers to the spaciousness, organization and cleanliness of rooms. And sometimes, they aren’t major tasks. For example, Blakely tells homeowners to take the magnets off the front of the refrigerator or, her pet peeve, remove cereal boxes from the top of the fridge.
“[Doing that] screams that the kitchen is too small to even store cereal boxes in the cupboards,” said Blakely.
If you don’t currently live in the home, Dan Vollmer, associate broker with RE/MAX, says staging is “incredibly important.”
“Buyers sometimes have trouble envisioning the way a space can be used, particularly if it’s empty,” Vollmer said.
But does all the effort pay off? In the decade since Blakely started offering free professional staging, she says, “It works.”
“Many of my homes sell in a matter of days, and even for more money, once I’ve staged them,” said Blakely.
More statistics from the National Association of REALTORS® back her up. Their report says 32 percent of buyers’ agents believe staging a home increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by one to five percent. Another 16 percent believe it increases by six to 10 percent.
But if you do choose to hire a professional to stage your home (or take advantage of a free service), Vollmer has these words of wisdom.
“You should rely on them and their guidance…” he said. “No one likes to be told their paint color choices or furniture or decor is anything less than beautiful! But if you take a step back, swallow your pride a little, and trust the person you’ve hired to give you expert advice, you’ll be much better off.”
If a professional is not an option, prepare to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. The elbow grease could pay off through a faster sale for a higher price.