When your real estate agent talks about staging your home, they're referring to bringing in furnishings and decorations that will make your home more appealing to potential buyers. This is a strategy that works, according to the experts – a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that 37 percent of Realtors representing sellers and 32 percent of Realtors representing buyers believe that buyers will usually offer 1 to 5 percent more on a staged home. Another 22 percent of Realtors representing sellers and 16 percent of Realtors representing buyers said the staging price bump from buyers is even higher – up to between 6 and 10 more. So what does a well-staged home look like? Take a look at some staging strategies that work.
Depending on the age and condition of your furniture, you may be able to leave some or all of it in place – staging doesn't necessarily have to mean moving everything you own out of the house. However, you definitely will need to move things like family photos, children's drawings, and religious items from view.
A staged home isn't quite a blank slate – you're encouraging the buyer to envision the home tastefully decorated and furnished, after all. But it's not supposed to look lived-in, either. You want potential buyers to imagine themselves and their families in that home, which is tough to do if they're reminded at every turn that your family is still living there. That means it's important to depersonalize the place as much as possible. That means that your leather couch may be able to stay in its place, but you should take the fingerpainted drawings off the fridge.
Make First Impressions Count
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That saying is as true in real estate as it is in any other context. Your living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms could all be beautifully staged, but if your front porch and foyer are a mess, your buyers may not even really look at the rest. It's important to put effort into making those first views count.
Get the clutter off the front porch. Update the light fixture outside your front door. Mow the lawn and trim the bushes. Paint the front door and put out a new welcome mat. Many buyers drive by before going in, and you don't want the view from the curb to encourage them to keep driving. Likewise, make sure that when potential buyers step inside, they're greeted with a floor that's been freshly vacuumed or polished, clean walls, and good lighting.
Aim To Please Your Buyer
Your home has a specific market, whether you know it or not. If you live on the beach, you might attract people looking for a vacation home. If your neighborhood is known for being in a great school district, your target buyer might be a young family. If your town has a high concentration of retirees, then more retirees are probably home shopping in your district.
As you might imagine, a retiree, a young family, and someone looking for a vacation home might all be looking for very different things. Knowing what sort of customer you're trying to attract can help you figure out whether you should go with nautical décor or mid-century modern.
Good full service real estate agents will have experience with staging homes and will know what sort of staging works in your area. They can help you find a professional stager or figure out a DIY staging strategy. Having an expert in your corner can help you sell your home faster and make more money on the deal.