🏡Is there Value in Staging Your Home?
Home staging has been a useful tool for home sellers for several decades. The staging industry has been evolving over the last 20 years or so, as more and more home sellers realize the benefits. Some real estate agents offer staging services, believing it is a very important part of marketing a home. These tried and true top 15 staging rules are sure to help any seller present their home in the best possible light.…
Sometimes it may seem like home staging is subjective, with a bit of intuition involved. How can we know that it really works? Over the years we’ve seen real results from staging a home and data has been collected to show how staging helps home sellers in real ways.
The first objective and semi-scientific approach to measure the value of staging a home was a study from Duke University. Andrea Angott, Ph.D. , conducted a study which admittedly is a first attempt at empirically testing the theories of staging. 457 respondents rated a list of staging principles, with the reasons why the item was important. Ratings were made on a 7-point scale, from 1 = “Not at all important” to 7 = “Extremely important.”
Here are the top 15 staging rules with some practical suggestions from the Duke University study:
#️⃣The top 15 Staging Rules:
🍽1. Use rooms for their intended purpose
- Most home buyers don’t visualize things differently than what they see. If your rooms are converted to some other use than their original intention, then they may not realize the intended purpose of the space.
- Don’t ever take it for granted that people can just use their imagination. Even if they do, you cannot dictate what they are imagining!
- The dining room should contain dining furniture and not be used for an office, for instance.
- Using rooms for other purposes can imply that there isn’t enough space.
🛋2. A house on the market should be furnished.
- Empty houses feel cold, furnished houses feel warm and welcoming. Furnishings can make space seem bigger. The opposite can also be true, so be sure not to over-furnish. When you’re going to move anyway, it’s a great opportunity to start packing up while paring down at the same time.
- Assume that buyers have no imagination. A well furnished room shows buyers how the room is used or how their belongings would fit in the space.
🎨3. Paint all walls in neutral colors.
- Neutral, universally appealing colors will reach the widest population. Buyers need to imagine their own furniture and belongings in the room, so don’t hamper their already challenged imagination with a lot of personal style and color. Then they have less to overcome visually, and are free to imagine themselves living in the space.
- Remember, though neutral doesn’t have to mean white. It doesn’t have to mean boring. Today’s neutrals can be gray, “greige”, and whites that are tinted with just a hint of color.
- Although this floral wallpaper is lovely, >> it’s not the best choice for a room that is trying to appeal tot he masses. Stripping wallpaper is probably a good idea in this case.
🖼4. Minimize Furniture and Décor
Editing is usually the majority of the work in home staging. Minimalist home staging means that you want to have the minimal amount of furniture and décor in every room while still showing buyers how the room should be used. Again, you have to think as though buyers have no imagination.
- Declutter. Seriously. Start with a blank slate. Emotionally and practically, it’s time to begin to separate yourself from your home and consider it as a product, on it’s way to be someone else’s home.
- Pack away as much as your décor items as you can, while leaving a few of pieces of the best artwork and decoration. You want to depersonalize in strategic ways. Think of it this way, you are going to have to pack anyway when your home sells!
- Leave plenty of room for buyers to walk around in each room. You don’t want to fill every space as you would if you were living there.
- Don’t have any personal photographs on display. It’s hard for buyers to imagine the home as “theirs”. They may focus on the people who live there, rather than the home. Just like the personal items in a bathroom, photos can make people feel like they are invading.
- Potential home buyers may be judgmental or biased (and they might not even know it!).
⚱5. Remove collections.
- Especially attention-grabbing or personal items. Not everyone is a sports fan, or even a fan of YOUR team.
- Buyers may evaluate and remember the art rather than the house. People can have a negative reaction to art or collections and transfer that to the house.
- Valuable items should be removed for safe-keeping.
🍲6. Remove small appliances and kitchen clutter
- Items like the coffee maker, toaster, etc. can add to the clutter on a kitchen counter.
- Kitchen counters look bigger and neater without the appliances. It implies there is enough cabinet space, instead of too little.
🐶7. Remove evidence of pets
- Food bowls, litter boxes, beds, toys etc.
- Signs of a pet can make buyers worry about several possibilities: lingering odors/contaminants/hair and dander. Buyers may imagine any of the above when none exist. Although it is hard for those of us who love our fur children to even imagine, the presence of pets can be off-putting to people who don’t like pets.
- Many people have allergies.
- It may go without saying, but repair any damage caused by a pet.
✋8. Don’t have the back of furniture facing the entrance to a room.
- It creates an unwelcoming, awkward traffic pattern, and interrupts the “flow”.
- The arrangement of furniture can make a room feel smaller, unfriendly, or even too crowded. Striking a balance is the key.
💡9. Turn on every light in the house during showings.
- Light and bright spaces make the rooms look larger and create a positive emotional reaction. A well-lit space is one of the least expensive, yet most powerful tools in home staging.
- A well lit room also indicates there is nothing to hide. Use the brightest wattage bulbs your fixtures will allow. The time your home is on the market is not the time to worry about the electric bill.
- Make sure everything is clean, clean, clean, because the light will show every dirty spot!
☀10. Let the Sunshine In
- Windows should have sheer coverings or no coverings at all. You may even remove screens to let the maximum amount of sunlight in. It’s finally time to get rid of those heavy velvet drapes that adorned your dining room!
- Sunlight is emotionally uplifting, makes a space feel bigger and shows off outdoor spaces.
- Of course, this means the windows need to be CLEAN.
Karen’s Recommended Décor for Home Staging:
👃🏽11. Remove garbage cans.
- Many of us grow accustomed to the smells around us. Don’t take it for granted that you can tell if something smells. It doesn’t hurt to get an outside opinion from a fresh set of nostrils!
- Trash cans are smelly, unattractive, and take up space. The presence of a trash can indicates there is no hidden space for it.
- If you trash can has a hidden space, under the counter or in a pantry, remove to the outside before every showing.
🕯12. Use potpourri or scented candles…but be careful.
- The right scent can be warm and inviting, and mask unpleasant odors. Opt for something more neutral and natural.
- Note: many respondents to the study said that the smells should be subtle. You don’t want overpowering scents to speak louder than the house does!
- Avoid the chemical smell of plug-ins. Avoid the smell of harsh cleaners, like bleach. Clean up and leave enough time before a showing for the house to air out.
- Freshen air regularly by opening the windows, no matter what season it is.
- Make sure fabrics are cleaned and odor-free.
📖13. “Tell a story” with your staging. “Micro-staging”.
- Put a breakfast tray with coffee mugs on the bed. Put candles on the bathroom soaking tub.
- Display the “good towels”, the nice dishes, and the best, most fluffed pillows.
- These small micro-staging tips make a home feel warm and livable without being too personal. They allow buyers to make emotional connections with the house. All of these small vignettes can help buyers to imagine their life will be different in ideal ways if they lived there.
👕14. Remove some of your clothes from the closets
- Thin out the linens and items from storage closets.
- The same goes for your kitchen cabinets. Consider it pre-packing for your move.
- Buyers want to know that all of their belongings are going to fit. Crowded storage spaces, no matter how large, leave the impression that there isn’t enough room.
- Crowded storage spaces also leave an impression of untidiness. It’s always best to minimize negative impressions in any way you can, even the small ways.
- Consider storing some of your belongings while your home is on the market.
- It’s actually a great time to go through your belongings and purge where necessary. (and the best excuse to go shopping after you move into the new home!)
🛀15. Remove personal items from bathrooms.
- Used items like bars of soap, razors, and toothbrushes should be put away.
- Common Reasons: Many buyers feel these personal items are “disgusting”, add to the clutter, are too personal, and prevent the buyers from imagining the house as “theirs”.
- The bathroom is a very personal space and many buyers already feel uncomfortable. Putting away personal things helps increase their comfort level.
- The same goes for bedrooms.
This study, although not scientific or empirical, is valuable in that it gets to the emotional and esoteric effects of each staging principle. When you see the effect on the psyche of the buyer, the value of correct staging is very persuasive.
When selling your home, you want to create the right appeal to as many buyers as possible. Home staging involves a large amount of “suggestion”.
These top 15 Staging Rules For Frederick Sellers will prove to be valuable when you get your home ready to sell.
What Home Staging is NOT
Home staging is not decorating. Decorating is expressing your personal style, whereas home staging purposefully limits your personal style. When staging your home for sale, your personal style may show in the décor you already have, but it isn’t the highlight. The highlight of a well-staged home is the universal appeal of the spaces.
Although there are elements of decorating trends added to home staging, the purpose is merely to keep the look of your home from being dated.
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