by Wendy Ponte
Clients often ask us what they need to do to their property before listing it–and most want to know what the benefits of staging are and why agents like to do this.
First of all—what exactly does “staging” mean? In brief, what we are aiming to do in getting ready to open the front door for showings, is to create an atmosphere that helps potential buyers to clearly see what would be possible for them if they lived in this house.
Given that goal, there are a few obvious things to do that most of our clients already expect:
- Declutter! We want to take away the large and small piles of things that most of us probably don’t even see. Let’s face it, part of day-to-day living involves some piles of mail and other papers, a fridge covered with magnets from all over the world, a pile of fiction on the bedside table that we plan to read…you get the idea. Whether you consider yourself to be “sloppy” or a “neat-freak,” there are always things that need to be hidden away. Consider this as the first step in packing to move!
- Clear out pathways! We want potential buyers to be able to move easily from one room to the next and to imagine its flow. For example, although the small table on the landing is something you and your family are used to—and you don’t even notice anymore that you step slightly to the left as you pass it—buyers will. Think in terms of floor space here and make it very easy to get from one place to the next.
- Depersonalize! We want a potential buyer to walk into the house and be able to see themselves in it. Personal family photos, signs of your political affiliation, personal gifts and any other things that scream of your particular personality and likes/dislikes can potentially cause discomfort for buyers. Also, most people can’t help but look at all of these interesting things or be surprised by them. We want them to look at the house!
- Clean! This is obvious to most seller’s, of course. Start with a deep clean and hire a housekeeper if that makes life easier (we’ve got names of good ones). The real trick, though, is keeping it up. If you’ve got kids or pets, it usually means tidying up more than you might do routinely. But a neatly made bed and plumped pillows on the sofa make a difference in how your house reads to buyers.
What about using a professional stager or decorator?
First, let’s address the situation where you have already moved out of the property. We know that a vacant house doesn’t sell as quickly as a house that has even a few pieces of carefully chosen furniture, lighting pieces and framed pictures in it. The reason for that, as noted above, is that we want our potential buyers to be able to imagine living in this space. Some folks are innately able to visualize what a room could look like with their belongings in it, but a surprising number can’t. If a room has been painted purple, they just can’t see past it. We want to make that a bit easier by choosing wall colors and furniture that are neutral enough to appeal to a broad range of tastes. Think of it as a blank canvas!
If, on the other hand, you are still living in the house we will try to use as many of your belongings as we can, and sometimes, with a little decluttering, that’s fine. In other situations, we can ask our professional stagers to add some touches here and there as needed.
Studies show that nicely staged homes sell faster and for a better price! Feel free to reach out to us for more information about staging.