I recently toured a Windsor property for sale and my first immediate thought was that this home could use some staging. The home was priced right, in a terrific neighbourhood, yet it wasn’t moving. The problem? The house had too much of the owner’s personal belongings scattered everywhere and it was too overwhelming. While the layout was good, the house was hard to manuever. Large furniture and knick knacks on every table meant you had to walk cautiously. In the kitchen, the homeowner displayed shelves of various kitchen gadgets and the bathroom had personal belongings left on the counter. The home was older, so instead of seeing lots of the architectural details that many buyers want, you were too busy seeing all the homeowner’s stuff.
When discussing this home with the listing agents, they too knew it needed staging, but the homeowners were resisting. As a real estate agent, these are some of the reasons we hear why sellers don’t want to stage a home:
1. We can’t live in a staged home! We won’t be able to keep it looking perfect!
Actually, this is a misconception. The vast majority of sellers that stage their home think it’s EASIER to live in. Why? Because your house is cleared of belongings that buyers don’t want to see. This makes it easier to clean, easier to keep up and easier to control. In fact, many sellers look at a less cluttered home as a sigh of relief. They often didn’t realize how much they had and how much time it took to manage. Remember, buyers want to see organized, neutral and a clutter free home. Buyers can’t imagine living in your house when all they see is your belongings!
2. It’s expensive to stage a home! We can’t afford it.
Staging a home does not need to be expensive. You can hire a professional stager for a consultation only. Or, if necessary, you can stage your home yourself. Take a look at model homes and see how they stage a home and how it appeals to every buyer that walks in the door. Take pointers from staging experts via the Internet. See how they can make a small room look larger and how re-arranging your furniture can make a family room look more inviting. And while your collection and trophies are important to you, a buyer sees them as clutter. A stager keeps his or her emotions out of their work, and when you perform this work yourself, keep in mind that your goal is to sell the home.
3. But we like our home just the way it is!
With the number of homes on the market today and buyers busy looking at all of them, you want your house to stand out for the right reasons. You don’t want them to comment about your home, “Oh yes, that was the one with that had the small rooms and busy wallpaper.” If buyers can’t get past these problems, then your home will be on the market longer. And the longer it sits on the market, then the price will eventually need to come down.
4. Isn’t staging a fad? We sold our previous homes without a stager and they sold!
Buyers have changed over the years. They want a move-in ready home that requires very little work. They are more patient and cautious about waiting for what they want since they have access to many homes thanks to the Internet. Take our word for it, homes that are move-in ready and make excellent first impressions, get the showings and ultimately the offers.
It’s really quite simple: Staging works and makes a huge impact on buyers. It can sell your property more quickly and the results are often stunning. And again, staging doesn’t disrupt your lifestyle, it makes it easier. In fact, we have heard from homeowners that they enjoy living in a home with less stuff. They are often surprised to see how little changes make a big impact.
Talk to your real estate agent if you want additional information on staging. We have excellent references or can walk around your property and give you our thoughts and opinions on how you can present your home to buyers that will leave a great impression.