Thursday, May 2, 2019

Why You Should Hire A Home Stager When Selling Your House

The Case for Hiring a Home Stager When You’re Selling
This pro can help your home look its best — potentially resulting in a faster sale with more profit

Karen Egly-Thompson April 30, 2019
Houzz Contributor

Home staging has become an increasingly formidable force in helping people sell their homes more quickly and for more money. Its overall goal is to help prospective home buyers emotionally connect with a space, hopefully leading to an offer to buy. Home staging isn’t limited to just high-end properties. It has become a norm for homes at all price points. While staging may seem like an additional hassle and expense, the investment can pay off. Here’s a guide to home staging, including the benefits, process and reasons to hire a home staging professional if you’re considering a move.

Madison Modern Home

What Does a Home Stager Do?

A home stager gets your home ready to sell by making it look more attractive to a large number of potential buyers. Home stagers often are interior designers, or have worked as one in the past, and use their design skills to make your home look its best. They may rearrange existing furniture to optimize your floor plan and flow, remove furnishings and declutter key areas, choose new paint colors and even bring in stylish new furniture and art to make your home appeal to more buyers. All this can help you sell your home faster and often for more money than what you listed it for. [Let’s face it, the vast majority of today’s buyers are HGTV junkies and we need to give them the looks that they are subliminally being trained to want.]

Who Hires Home Stagers?

Anyone selling or buying property may benefit from home staging. Homeowners selling single-family homes, condos and townhouses make up the greatest percentage of those hiring home stagers. However, property developers selling new construction, and real estate agents, also are in the mix. [Go to any new development and you will see dramatically staged models to inspire people to buy.]

While home staging was created primarily to benefit the seller, seeing prospective properties in their best light also can be advantageous to buyers because it can cut down on their search time.

Benefits of Staging a Home

Most people have trouble visualizing a space’s potential, whether that’s figuring out how to lay out an empty room or trying to ignore oddly arranged furniture, clutter or decor that’s not their style. The majority of home buyers can’t easily look past what’s in front of them to appreciate a room’s potential. Staging helps eliminate the buyer’s guesswork.

“The key is to set the stage for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there,” says home stager Robin DeCapua of Madison Modern Home. A 2019 study by the National Association of Realtors confirmed that more than 83 percent of home buyers find it easier to visualize the property as their future home when it’s staged.

Had the staged living room seen here been empty, many people might have found the large space intimidating and possibly off-putting. [Rooms that are un-staged don’t have a sense of scale and can often appear smaller than they actually are; its also helpful to provide furniture layouts that enhance the space.] Instead, Audrey Gourguechon of Staging North Shore in Chicago created multiple seating zones to highlight it as an inviting living and entertaining space to potential buyers.

Shopping for many things these days is done online, and real estate is no exception. “Today, buyers look at the online photos before deciding to come in and view the homes in person,” says Shirin Sarikhani of Seattle Staged to Sell and Design. Web surfing is the first step in the buying process, and if your home doesn’t grab their attention, it will likely be passed by. [I often find buyers lock into homes due to certain fixtures or decorative items, it’s imperative we give them the ‘bait’ on the hook so we can real them in.]

“If you want to get ahead of your competitors, be proactive, Gourguechon says. “Chances are your (competition) next-door neighbor has their home staged.”

Buyers decide whether they like the home or not in the first few minutes after entering. There’s only one opportunity to make a first impression, so you don’t want to be the seller who skipped out on staging, especially if there are several houses on the market in your area. Even if without staging you manage to get potential home buyers through the door for one viewing, they may not return for another look if nearby properties appear more enticing.

Flüff Designs
Most homes have characteristics that are selling points, like architectural details or a great view, like the one shown here. But if these highlights aren’t actively showcased, they could go unnoticed. Or worse, a positive attribute could instead be perceived as a negative. [staging allows us to focus the buyers’ eyes on what we want them to see, highlighting the features and benefits that can make all the difference in a buyer making an offer and ultimately buying a home.]

Let’s use this room (above) as a hypothetical example. Slim, modern-style seating accentuates the city view by not blocking the window. On the other hand, an oversized roll-arm sofa with its back against the window could have send a message to prospective buyers that the living room is too small for a full-size sofa without obstructing the sought-after view. Boiling it down to a mere sofa location, the buyer might have moved on and considered a different property.
Before Photo

Let’s be honest: (like most of us,) you’re too attached to your home to see it clearly. Homeowners have too many memories and attachments to belongings that can cloud seeing the whole picture. A home stager is a pair of fresh eyes with no emotional ties to the house or its contents. He or she is in a position to suggest packing up Grandma’s afghan or shifting a beloved painting from the hallway to the fireplace mantel. For the staged living room seen here, a bulky cabinet angled in a corner was swapped out for a more useful and attractive reading area.

It’s not personal. “When selling your home, it’s not about you anymore,” Sarikhani says. “It’s about the buyers, so being detached is the most important aspect of selling the home.” Home stagers emphasize to their clients that their feedback shouldn’t be taken personally, but rather should be seen as a means of helping prospective buyers envision their own belongings in the home. Most often, clients are happy with the changes and remark that they should have made changes earlier. Sarikhani has even had clients love their newly staged home so much that they take it off the market.

While the architectural style and age of the home play a role in the look of a staged room, other factors come into play with staging. The style is dependent on market trends, the likely buyer pool and demographic information. DeCapua says stagers glean this information from real estate agents or from prior stagings in the area. Her Los Angeles market is made up of thousands of different cities, neighborhoods and districts — and each one is unique. “Each home receives an appropriate style of staging,” she says. “For instance, an urban downtown loft gets a trendy look, while a San Fernando Valley home will be more family-friendly.”

Another plus is the vast inventory of stylish furniture and accessories home stagers have at their fingertips, something a homeowner selling a home is unlikely to spring for. For example DeCapua says she recently put a blush-pink sofa in a luxury condo, and indigo lounge chairs paired with an orange midcentury modern sofa in a more contemporary space. “All-neutral staging is a thing of the past,” she says. “Now staging is hip, at times brightly colored and often full of personality, but it has to be tempered with good taste and an assemblage of furniture, decor and art that speaks to potential buyers in a powerful way.”

When to Hire a Home Stager

The best time to hire a home stager is prior to listing your property. Waiting until your property has been lagging on the market is usually too late. “I often meet clients that call me when their home has been on the market for 30 to 60 or more days,” Gourguechon says. “It’s good that they realize that other properties are more appealing, but they have already lost a big part of their audience. Most of them won’t come back.” [There is only one chance to make a lasting and impactful FIRST IMPRESSION.]

While stagers recommend clearing away pieces from the home that won’t be making the move, many recommend not doing anything else, like painting or decluttering, until they visit your home. You could pick an unsavory new paint color that has to be painted over or, as Sarikhani has experienced, remove too many items that then have to be replaced with staged pieces, which can add to the cost.

What It Costs

Home staging costs vary widely and tend to fluctuate with location, scope of work and ease of access. Some home stagers charge based on square footage. [From our experience, staging runs from as little at $250/room to as much as $500/room, projects can range from a couple hundred to as much as $3,000-$5,000 depending on the size of the home and the price range being targeted.]

Staged projects tend not only to recoup the initial investment but to generate more profit. DeCapua says for 2015, Madison Modern Home’s data show that their clients received more than $6 for every $1 spent on staging — and more than half the homes they staged that year sold for more than their initial asking price. On average, 37 percent of staged homes sell above their listed price, according to a 2019 survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals and StagedHomes.com.

Gourguechon makes a persuasive argument: The cost of staging will always be less than the cost of your first price reduction on your asking price.

Insurance Needs

Professional home stagers should have comprehensive insurance to guard against any damages made to your home during the staging and destaging processes. Likewise, the client would be responsible, either personally or through homeowner’s insurance, for any damages made to the staged furnishings. It’s a good idea to check the coverage of your homeowner’s insurance policy and discuss with the home stager his or her insurance coverage. Also, it’s wise to verify a stager’s insurance and business licenses before you hire anyone.

Seattle Staged to Sell and Design LLC

Which Rooms Are Most Important to Stage?

While it’s ideal to stage all the rooms in your house, your budget might not stretch that far. If you can do only a room or two, rooms should be staged in this order of priority, according to the NAR 2019 Profile of Home Staging: living room, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room, yard or outdoor space, bathroom, children’s bedroom, guest bedroom.

Sarikhani also advises that homeowners not dismiss “forgotten” spaces. She recently turned a large furnace room into a fetching little home office.

What to Expect From the Process

An initial in-home appointment with a professional stager usually lasts between one and three hours. The stager will likely take photos and may draw a simple floor plan. He or she will determine what should stay, what should go into storage and what items might be moved to different locations, and will assess the property’s general readiness to be staged. The home stager will also discuss timing and availability, and supply an estimate and options, usually after a couple of days.

If the proposal is approved, a contract will be drawn up and a staging day scheduled. Staging typically takes one day, but large properties can require more time. The home will be destaged after it has been sold or as per the contract.

What Items Typically Are Not Included in Staging?

This can vary with different home stagers and based on whether the property is occupied, but most do not supply window treatments, bedding, towels or live plants. [Since you are moving, you may want to evaluate what items you plan to take with you and what items you may need for your new home; this could allow you to sell off some items so you will have an offset to some of your staging costs and/or you may also save by being able to buy a new piece of furniture you plan to take with you.]

Any suggested updates, like painting and new flooring, are typically paid for and arranged by the homeowner. However, the staging professional may recommend paint colors or other products.

Homeowners are responsible for cleaning the home prior to staging as well as for the duration of the contract. [Cleaning should be done by professionals and should include wiping down all moldings and window sills, etc. You should also invest in having your windows cleaned to make the home sparkle and to allow the most sunlight into the home.]

The tasks of packing, moving and securing a storage facility for belongings that will not remain in the home during the staging period are the homeowner’s obligation as well. [The Slade Team offers its clients use of a moving van for nearby trips to put items in storage or to move to your new home for local moves.]

And don't forget to borrow or rent a power washer for the outside areas. We found that made a tremendous difference as well as buying the inexpensive little tool and the supplies to replace the tired-looking screening in the sliding screen doors. And, get someone with a good nose to come through after you're all done. Our brains are hard-wired to get used to funky smells. One house we looked at was beautiful but smelled strongly of clean cat litter while another had an odd but unidentifiable odour. Clean, tidy and decluttered is a big start. Also, we bought a whole suite of second-hand stainless appliances as that's the fashion in the market niche of the place we sold. Worked.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams
Good Homes

Selling a Maplewood/South Orange/West Orange area home involves many steps and having an experienced Maplewood New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor®, specializing in the Bedroom Communities of New York City in Essex/Union County— Millburn, Short Hills, Montclair, West Orange, South Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Springfield, Summit, Madison, Chatham, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Westfield--by your side will make the transaction run a lot smoother. I would love to be your Maplewood/South Orange New Jersey Area Real Estate Professional! I assist both buyers and sellers in the Bedroom Communities of New York City, mostly served by NJ Transit’s Mid-Town Direct Train Lines, offering commutes of 45minute or less to NY Penn Station, with either the purchase and or sale of residential real estate.

As an Accredited Buyer’s Agent (ABR), I have received special training to guide and educate you through the entire home buying process. From start to finish, I listen to your needs and desires in what you would like and take the information you give me to find you home. My GO-TO team can provide you the best in Real Estate advice with regard to attorney choices, Home Inspectors and Mortgage Loan Officers

I am also a Luxury specialist (CLHMS), I have received special training to guide and educate you through the entire home buying and selling process. Not only does this extra training help me better understand this upper echelon in real estate, its benefit include a special luxury website: www.njluxhomes.com and a corresponding worldwide luxury network that helps to put luxury buyers and sellers together.

As your Maplewood/South Orange/ West Orange New Jersey listing agent I am well versed on as your local expert in all things in the West Orange, Maplewood and South Orange area Real Estate Market. You can expect personalized service that includes a detailed consultation on how to best position your Mid-Town Direct home to be competitive in today’s market with training to provide my clients with an in-depth Advanced Comparative Market analysis, and advice on staging. As my office’s technology officer as well as both a Zillow Platinum Premier and Trulia Premier agent, I use the latest and most up-to-date marketing methods to get your home in front of as many buyers as possible. Being your New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor ® not only involves just finding the home or selling the home, but being your guide, negotiator, advisor and advocate and making sure that your needs and goals are met. Being your New Jersey Essex/Union County area Realtor® (with a little bit of Morris County thrown in for good measure) is one of my truest passions, and “Helping You Find Your Dream Home” is my number one priority.

Don’t forget These Helpful Sites:

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Mark Slade
Mark Slade on ZillowMark Slade, ABR,  Local Expert - Agent with KELLER WILLIAMS Mid-Town Direct RealtyMark Slade reviews http://search.goodhomesforgoodpeople.com/index.cfm?action=newsearchsession&search_mode=form&primarysearchtype=active&searchtype=city&state=NJ&single_family=y&min_price=0&max_price=1000000000&county=Essex&city=West%20Orange%20Township&resetform=1/lewellyn Mark Slade Keller Williams 917.797.5059 Good Homes Mark Slade
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