Some home sellers may be hesitant to hire a home stager because they see staging as a deceitful practice intended to disguise real problems with a home. This is not the case. Home staging is about letting a home’s best features shine through, not hiding serious problems that need to be addressed.
There are some homes that look like “fixer uppers” because they have junk on the porch, overgrown hedges and peeling paint. But most are actually sound properties that just need some TLC to change the first impression from “fixer upper” to “welcome home.”
Certainly, there are instances where home staging is sought after as a Band-Aid solution for much larger issues. With certain properties, it makes more sense for the owners to invest in repairs before staging, and an ethical stager will point this out. When a home is a true fixer-upper and has a long list of structural issues and obvious defects, no amount of paint or new furniture will disguise the problems.
There’s a big difference between repainting after a leaky roof has been fixed versus doing the same to hide the fact that it’s leaking. The roof issues will be uncovered in a home inspection, so the home seller will be no further ahead, and may watch their deal fall apart when it could have gone through had they addressed the issue in the first place.
According to home staging expert Debra Gould, home staging doesn’t attempt to fool people into buying problem properties; home staging simply helps buyers see the real potential of a house. “Most people don’t have the ability to look past ugly, disorganized, crowded or empty rooms. That’s where stagers come in--they redecorate what is there so buyers can imagine themselves living in the home,” says Gould.
Stagers will often suggest that you remove all the clutter and extra furniture that prevents buyers from actually seeing your house. Your furniture might need to be rearranged or replaced with rented items. Walls might need to be repainted with a more pleasing color, outdated light fixtures replaced, flowers arranged, and artwork hung. You might even bring in a handyman to address all the fix-it projects around the house that you haven’t had time to deal with.
Home sellers are often amazed at what a difference staging can make and are surprised by ideas they have never thought of. These are a few examples:
• Putting a bed on a different wall to make the room look bigger.
• Repainting the walls, installing new faucets and cabinet hardware, and replacing a shower curtain and towels to avoid the need for an expensive bathroom renovation.
• Recognizing the folly of hanging on to an ugly couch just in case a child might want it when they leave for college years later.
• Turning a tiny storage room into an attractive craft room.
These are the kinds of things a stager does to help home sellers prepare their houses to sell quickly and for more money. Clearly, home sellers can make many changes themselves, but only if they have the imagination, time and inclination to do it. Most busy people don’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be living the way they do and wishing they had a new home.
Home stagers don’t use smoke and mirror tricks to get someone to buy a house that’s really falling apart under all the decorating! Stagers simply ensure that repairs are attended to and remove unpleasant distractions to help buyers visualize the lifestyle that is possible in that home. This encourages them to pay more for the property because the more they want it, the more they’re willing to pay for it.
Humans make choices based on how something looks, how it makes them feel, and how they believe others will feel about them. If this were not the case, we’d all roll out of bed and head off to work in our pajamas. There would be no cosmetics industry, no beauty products, no fashion industry and no plastic surgery. We’d all drive the same car and live in identical houses. We’d have boring furniture, our walls would all be painted white, and there would be no such thing as landscaping. Staging aside, it would be impossible for the same house 10 blocks away to cost $100,000 more simply because it has a more “prestigious address.”
Supply and demand will always dictate the final selling price. The more your house stands out from the competition and the more people want your house, the more buyers will be willing to pay for it. It’s as simple as that, but not necessarily easy to do! The way to make money in real estate is to hire a home stager to make sure your property will be seen in its best light, thus bringing in the highest possible offers.
Professional home stagers don’t share the owner’s emotional attachment to the contents of a home. They bring objectivity that few home sellers have when decorating a house to sell. This objectivity, combined with the know-how to quickly transform a space to appeal to buyers, can make a big difference in how fast a home sells and for how much.