Home staging: What, why and how?
Every real estate agent knows the value of home staging when selling a property. These simple and cost-effective steps can result in a quicker sale and a higher price — two measures of success for listing agents. There’s no doubt that a little “merchandising” can transform a listing. It comes down to the people you attract by creating a specific look and lifestyle.
What is home staging?
Staging helps paint a picture of the homeowner and their lifestyle. It defines spaces, gives purpose, highlights the home’s best features and downplays its worst. It also improves the look of listing photos, which are often the first hurdle to making the sale. Homebuyers shop online first, and bad photos will deter them from taking that next step in the buying journey. A well-presented home will entice the buyer to move to stage two: the in-person showing. Here things can happen fast, as first impressions happen in the first few seconds. If they start imagining where they will put their couch, I’ve done my job as a professional stager.
With this in mind, here are my no-fail staging secrets.
Edit down to create more space
This is almost always required unless you’re listing a vacant property. Over the years, things can accumulate quickly. While these items have sentimental value, they can create clutter and make a space appear small, dark and disorganized. You’ll be surprised at how much more spacious a home feels when you remove all that “stuff.” The same applies to furniture — remove anything big, bulky or damaged and anything redundant or arbitrary. When it comes to accessories, less is more. To sell a space, the furnishings and accessories should create excitement for buyers but not serve as the main focus.
Give every room a function
Some homebuyers report having trouble picturing themselves living in someone else’s home, which becomes even more challenging when the space is empty. Help the buyer along by furnishing each room and giving it purpose. You have a good idea of who your potential buyer will be, so stage to appeal to them. You’re more likely to sell a single-family home in the suburbs to a young or growing family or someone with a family mindset. Consider staging that empty room as a nursery, playroom or family entertainment area. You can rent furniture for the listing and showing period — which hopefully won’t be very long!
Highlight the focal point
Every room has at least one — usually a fireplace, a window or an architectural feature. Position your furniture to focus on this feature and frame the view from the room’s entrance. If your room doesn’t have a focal point, adding one is as simple as mounting a large piece of wall art. Stand in the doorway and make a note of the first place your eye lands — that is your sweet spot. The secret to success is to go big with your art– a small piece will only get lost in the room. Oversized art is the easiest and most affordable way to make a bold statement.
Tip: Consider the colour and vibe of the piece and how it impacts the mood you’re aiming to achieve in the home.
Televisions have become an essential piece of technology in every home. The large black screens can easily overtake a room and overshadow the real focal point – ruining the aesthetic and overall ambiance. If the home has a dedicated entertainment area or if you’re staging one, then including a TV is essential and I’d argue, an apt focal point in these types of rooms. However, remove it if you have one in a living room, bedroom or home office.
To make the most of your home’s natural light
- Wash your windows inside and out.
- Replace heavy drapes with sheers or a simple blind, or remove them entirely.
- Make sure you avoid making large investments in window treatments because you won’t see a huge return.
- Choose something ready-made to frame the window while allowing sunlight to filter through.
Just be sure to give areas like bedrooms and bathrooms the privacy they require. Where natural light isn’t on your side, amp up the interior lighting by layering in some extra table and floor lamps.
A little staging can go a long way, especially in this shifting market. It can be just the thing to help a buyer feel right at home.