Sellers are under a lot of pressure to not only have major systems functioning properly and in good working order; but also, to make their home look pretty for a buyer.   So while you may be checking off  “honey-do” items  don’t forget about STAGING!

The objective of staging is to entice a buyer to actually grab their agent and schedule an in-person showing where your chances of receiving an offer increase dramatically. Staging plays a bigger role than you might think!

Staging is not just about hiring a company to bring furnishings and knick-knacks. It is also about making appropriate updates, keeping up on maintenance and repairs, detail cleaning, and finally DECLUTTERING your home to a point where a buyer-prospect is able to picture themselves in your space.  I will blog next week about decluttering, tune in.

According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, homes sell anywhere from 3 to 30 times faster when they are staged versus non-staged comparable homes.  When I list homes that are staged, the “days on market” (DOM) is reduced and the chance for list-price offer is increased.  All because buyers want to see the home in person.

Since all buyers are searching online, it is crucially important to have pictures that accentuate the home and are of good quality.  With all the new phone technology, using your cell phone for pictures is easier than ever and you get good pics without the cost of a professional photographer.  If you’re going to spend money and are on a small budget, invest in staging.  However, not all homes need staging.  I have resisted the sales pitch from staging companies over the years because I have always listed in buyer-frenzied markets with low inventories and strive to reduce costs for my sellers.

Virtual staging is a perfect answer for some projects because it is less costly than physical staging and the home may be in a robust market where staging is not needed.  If I have a vacant house to sell and there have been moderate improvements (i.e., painting, flooring, etc.), then virtual staging may do the trick.   Virtual staging is fun to create because you can pick and choose your dream rooms and elegant furnishings for your space.  I usually take a few pictures of a room at different vantage points.  I use a service that has a stock virtual inventory I can play around with.  The service I use charges $80 per picture.  That’s not bad if you’re just trying to get a buyer in the door. Yes, sometimes buyers are frustrated when they view the home in-person and it doesn’t quite look like the pictures, but our objective was accomplished. We just want them to come see the home up close!

Physical staging can be expensive depending on what market you’re in, but it is worth it!  I have worked with a few stagers.  For the most part, they bring in nice pieces to fill your space and will usually have a pre-staging consultation to discuss any of your preferences.  For example, if I am in a high-end condominium, I want high-end all the way.  If I am in grandma’s old brick rancher, I can tone it down a bit.  I like actual staging because it keeps the buyer in the same frame of mind as when they called their agent for the in-person showing.  Buyers love to see actual staging because they can touch and feel it and want their space to look “just like this”!  As an agent, physical staging is super easy and hands-off.  The staging company brings it in and picks it up—nice. I can take pictures and have instant buyer appeal! I have spent $1500-$2300 for initial staging set up and then after 60 days I pay a monthly rent that has been about $250-$500.  Sometimes I front the cost and collect it back from the seller at the settlement table because I believe in staging so much!  Staging makes marketing easier and taking pictures instant because I don’t have to move furniture out and back into a room to get the right look.

If the cost of physical staging is out of your range, not a problem.  I provide at no additional cost to a seller, some light staging items that pack a good punch.  You would be surprised how warm a vacant home can feel if you just hang a few pictures on the walls for pops of color; add some artificial plants and white towels in bathrooms; add a bowl of fake oranges/apples and a cookbook on the kitchen counter.  And if you have a fully-furnished home, staging with your own furnishings is the way to go. Decluttering will allow your specimen pieces to stand out and increase your interior appeal to a buyer.

Whether you prefer virtual, actual, or do-it-yourself staging, give it a try and you will see your in-person showings increase.  The more showings, the more opportunities you have to get an offer!