Home Staging 101
Have you ever watched HGTV (or my listings) and wondered how every home always looks perfectly put together? The answer to this is staging.
Home staging goes beyond just cleaning and decorating your home. Staging is adding decor, arranging furniture, "debrassing" and prepping your home to look perfect for listing photos, listing appointments, and open houses. When a home is staged, potential buyers see exactly where furniture should go and how each room is laid out. When a home is not staged, potential buyers are only focusing on the visible issues the home may have.
Not only does staging make your home look like an HGTV dream or like it belongs on Pottery Barn's homepage, but it can actually speed up the sale of your property.
So now that you know how important staging is, what’s next? Do you hire a stager? Do you do it yourself? Will your real estate agent help? Do you stage virtually? Should you just count on me to manage the process?
It depends. Every option has its benefits, and some require more time or more money.
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, especially if you will be living in the home while you sell it, it may be best to stage your home yourself.
First, you’ll want to start with cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing. This is a great excuse to finally get around to that annual cleaning from earlier in the year that you’ve put off. Each room should only have what is absolutely necessary. Throw out anything you don’t need or keep things tucked away in a bin during open houses and showings. You’ll also want to remove any personal photos or decor around your home, including anything religious or political. The less personal your home is, the more a potential buyer will imagine themselves living in your space.
Once everything is clean, you’ll want to start staging the important rooms first. The kitchen, living room, and master bedroom are what sell your home. Focus on these rooms and then you can work your way through the additional living spaces. There are plenty of inspiration photos for current trends online, but here are a few tips to get you started:
Virtual staging allows you to rearrange furniture, add decor, and still make your home look attractive to buyers but everything is online — and cheaper. Because virtual staging is done on the web or with staging software, you don’t have to spend funds on new furniture, decor or expend time rearranging everything. This method saves you time and money while still getting the same results as traditional staging in online promotions. Of course, it doesn't help people fall in love with the home while they are walking through it--but it will increase the visibility on Zillow, Trulia, REALTOR.com and ideally create more showings. The only required cost is the digital software and most services charge a flat fee per room staged.
Hire a Professional Stager
If you plan to move out prior to listing it’s best to hire a professional. I have a remarkable stager on my team who I am a raving fan of. The transformation that homes undergo while she implements her talent is remarkable and leads to better photography, virtual tours and showings! Ultimately, I'm a firm believer that it leads to faster and higher sales than if the home was vacant or even staged by a lesser talent.
The average cost for the initial design consultation with a stager can be between $300 and $600. As part of my listing service I pay for the staging consultation which generates terrific tips and suggestions specific to your home OR a proposal to stage the home with the designer's furniture and decor. The average cost per month per staged room can be between $500 and $1,000 depending on the size of your home and the rooms required. It’s important to know that some professionals require a contract of 3 months minimum even if you sell your home within a few days. I don't typically work with stagers who require this and am happy to guide you in the process to avoid common pitfalls.
To save some money when working with a professional stager you can opt to hire them for just the important rooms - the kitchen, living room(s), and master bedroom. If your walls need fresh paint, you can save money here by painting them yourself. You can also gather tips and advice during an initial consultation but still decide to conquer some of these tasks yourself.
What do real estate agents do?
All agents are different. Some offer staging services, some offer advice, some refer you to a trusted professional or company, and some don’t offer any resources for staging. If an experienced real estate agent has your success in mind, they will offer honest feedback when it comes to home staging advisement. My advice will come from hundreds of successful sales and happy clients who have been consistently impressed with how I manage the process to assure the best outcomes.