Is Home Staging really worth the investment?
So you’re selling your house. You’ve got all the repairs made, the baseboards dusted, the welcome mat laid out. The question is, do you really need to “stage” it to be able to sell it?
(If you aren’t familiar with the term “home staging” it refers to a type of decorating, specifically for the purpose of showing prospective home buyers that your house could work for them.)
Staging sounds expensive, in the midst of a time when you’re already hemorrhaging cash. The costs associated with selling a house are painful, encompassing everything from getting the heater fixed so it will pass inspection, to putting in a new shower curtain that you think buyers will like better than your old one. So why spend extra money to stage your house, when you’ve already gone to such lengths to make it nice and inviting?
Well, I’ll tell you.
(But first let me say that I’m not a home stager (anymore), nor am I endorsing any particular stager or company. This is just a subject that I have personal experience with, that I wanted to pass along to you. Hope it helps!)
First the bad news.
Most people (other than realtors and interior designers) are notoriously bad at visualizing a space differently from how it actually looks. I always underestimate how true this is. I tend to think most people can mentally pick up their furniture, move it into the new house in their mind, and rearrange it in the way it will work best, then make an informed decision about whether that house will work for them.
This is the mistake we made with our Flip House recently. We bought this diamond in the rough, fixed it up, made it beautiful, and put it on the market. (If you haven’t already read that story, start here.) Then we waited for people to fall all over themselves trying to make offers the first weekend.
Well, sadly, that first weekend happened to be mere hours before this country’s most, shall we say, unusual presidential election ever. People were not buying houses. And then a couple of weeks after that it was Thanksgiving, which turned into the crazy Christmas season. No buyers. People were saving their money, trying to decide what to do with it if our economy falls apart.
Meanwhile, we’re sitting on a beautiful house, wondering why no one appreciates it like we do. The answer is staging. As nice as all the finishes are now, with the more open floor plan, and the gorgeous kitchen design, people just couldn’t see themselves in this house. That’s not because the house isn’t wonderful, it’s just because they couldn’t picture it.
So we decided to spend the time and money and stage the house. And do you know what happened? Just a few short days later, we had an offer! I’m happy to report we’re currently under contract, and at a price that makes us very happy investors.
How does this little cautionary tale help you?
Now for the good news.
It doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming to stage your own home! While I do highly recommend hiring a professional home stager to help you, especially if you don’t enjoy decorating, there are many things you can do on your own to get started. I’ll be back next week with more details on how to stage your home yourself.
Staging is about more than cleaning, decluttering, and making your house look good. It’s about setting the stage for a buyer to walk in and have that “Ah-ha!” moment. You know, the one where their eyes glaze over, and they start imagining themselves putting down roots. They want to raise their kids here, do their dishes in this sink, sit and watch their TV in that chair. But they can’t do that if that chair doesn’t exist.
Staging your house to sell is a different animal from decorating your house for your tastes. Get ready to pack your personality away and save it for your new home! See you next week for that part of the project, and in the meantime, let me know below in the comments if you have questions about staging your home. That way I can make sure to answer them next week!