Home staging is on the rise in the real estate industry as one of the most effective marketing strategies for selling a home faster and for more money. If you're a seller or agent new to staging, I'm guessing you have a few questions. Here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions I receive about home staging:
1. What is home staging?
Staging is the process of preparing a home for sale by highlighting its best features and creating an environment that will appeal to potential buyers. In a competitive market, staging helps a home to stand out and focuses on what the buyer will need to see and feel to make an immediate, full-price offer.
2. What's the difference between home staging and decorating?
Staging is performed when selling a home, to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers. It's not about personal taste, rather it focuses on keeping things neutral and non-distracting. Decorating occurs when a homeowner is living in the home and wants to create a personal style that works for them on a longer-term basis.
3. Does staging really work?
Like any marketing weapon, there are no guarantees; however, there are plenty of stats to support the fact that staging translates to excellent results. Click here to review a recent infographic with some great stats.
4. How do I know if I need stage my home?
Every home can benefit from staging. Even the most beautifully decorated homes need to be staged (again, so that the look/feel appeals to the masses as opposed to just showcasing the existing homeowner's personal style). Since buyers have a hard time looking beyond existing decor, staging is critical. Vacant homes (without exception) need to be staged so that buyers can get a gauge on the scale of each room, feel a sense of connection to the home, imagine their own furniture placement in the space, etc.
5. What's involved with the staging process?
I work on a 3-step process as follows:
- The consultation (a) helps me to establish the current condition of the home and (b) allows me to create an overall plan to prepare the property for showing.
- The 'work' involves the execution of the recommendations. Sellers may choose to do the work themselves or I can make referrals to the various trades.
- Showcasing is the final step where I put all decorative touches in place to make sure buyers instantly connect with the home. I will showcase each room using staging techniques that make the home photo-ready.
6. Will simply decluttering not suffice?
De-cluttering is important but it's only step one. Addressing other condition items such as cleaning, painting and basic repairs are also critical. And, the final, most important step (showcasing the home with decorative and lifestyle items) completes the process.
7. Will the staging process be disruptive?
The first thing I always tell sellers is this: how you have lived in your home and what you now need to do to sell your home are two different things. This helps to shift the focus from it being 'home' to a property that now needs to be marketed and sold. Buyers don't want to see how homeowners live in the home; rather, they want to envision it as their space. And, in order to make this happen, change is inevitable. Tasks that I recommend be addressed will need to be completed with the impending move anyway (cleaning, decluttering, packing) so staging just helps to kickstart the process (and guide sellers through in a much easier way). In the majority of cases, I use existing furniture so offsite storage and furniture removal is not usually necessary. Showcasing occurs when the homeowner is not present to minimize disruption and photos get co-ordinated on the same or following day.
8. How will staging affect my selling price?
Most staged homes end up selling for the listing price or close to it – sometimes even above it. A staged home has a higher perceived value, so you can list the home for what it’s truly worth. A non-staged home will look like it needs more work, which often leads to lower offers. My goal is to ensure that the buyer has no reason to offer you once cent less than asking price.
9. Do I need to use a professional?
As a certified staging professional, I have the ability to evaluate a home's condition items, prioritize what I feel will be the most important items to address before listing, recommend contractors and showcase the home with my inventory of decorative items prior to photos. Having assistance and knowledge throughout the process is invaluable. For agents, I become an important part of the pre-listing process and ease much of their burden by working directly with the homeowner.
10. How much does it cost?
I partner with local real estate agents who include my initial consultation fee as part of their listing package. This is a great benefit for you! If you are not working with an agent, my consultation fee is $250 + HST. I will visit, tour your home, take photos and provide formal recommendations via a handbook that I complete and leave with you. My job is to put your mind at ease by providing a step-by-step plan moving forward. I will also complete and submit a proposal to you for hiring me to showcase your home. My fee varies but is generally based on square footage and rental accessories required. I can quote on furniture rental (if needed) as well. While I always recommend staging the entire home, there are options (main level only versus all levels, key rooms only such as living room, kitchen, master bedroom) and I'm happy to quote on those as well.