The Benefits of Home Staging: What’s in It for Me?

Tony Buckwell
April 7, 2017

Have you ever been to an open home where the presentation was really impressive? Equally, have you ever felt let down by a poorly presented home you have visited?

In a ‘tightening market’ (as we are experiencing right now around Auckland) the number of properties for buyers to consider increases. Latest statistics show that the number of available residential properties in Auckland is at the highest level it has been in around 5 years. With this much choice out there, the importance of your presentation becomes even more critical than ever.

There are two categories of home staging I will present here:

  • Do it yourself
  • Professional staging.

How to stage your home yourself

When it comes to setting up your interior, decluttering may be the single most important thing you can do.

You want to make the rooms look as spacious as possible. This is difficult to do if there is clutter everywhere. Plus, the clutter creates a distraction for the buyers. You want them to focus on the best features of your home – not the toys, remotes and books scattered around the room.

While you don’t want the rooms to appear empty, too little is definitely preferable to too much. If surfaces are covered in trinkets, ornaments, photos, trophies and mementos, pack all but a few carefully placed items away.

Quality is definitely better than quantity. Potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in the home. If they are overwhelmed by your possessions, it will block their ability to see this vision.

Hint; If the items are valuable and essential to you, store them away or hire a storage unit for a couple of months, until your house has sold. If they are not, dispose of them.

Reorganise your wardrobes too. By removing some of your clothes, you can accentuate the space, no matter how small your wardrobe might be. Very few people use every item in their wardrobe all the time, so we can all make some extra room in there. Instead of piling all your shoes randomly at the bottom, invest in some shoe racks (or pop them into some tidy storage boxes at least).

Reduce the amount of “big furniture” in your home. For example, you might have a couple of big couches, matching armchairs, a massive television, a bulky entertainment unit and a coffee table in your lounge. But many large furniture items can make the room look small and cause people to feel claustrophobic. Try reconfiguring your lounge so you have the bare minimum in the room, without making it look empty or sparse.

You can then “fill in” the room with the subtle addition of smaller feature items such as a stylish table lamp, stunning cushions, one or two pieces of nice artwork on the walls or a beautiful vase filled with freshly cut flowers.

A large-screen television takes up a lot of floor space, so consider mounting it on the wall if you can. Perhaps your living room is huge and it already looks sparse. The converse problem with too much room is that it can cause a lack of warmth and atmosphere. In this case, you may consider bringing in some items. Be warned – this is not a licence to bring in loads of clutter!

Professional Staging Services

Full staging

What if you are selling an empty house? Research suggests that if a home is marketed for sale with nice, quality furnishings, it will achieve a higher price than if it is presented to the market empty. So if you’ve had to move out before listing your property for sale, you might consider asking a home staging company to make some recommendations for you. When considering staging a home, the extra costs should be easily offset with the higher sale price achieved. Needless to say, these costs should be included in your budget at the start.

Partial Staging

This is when a professional staging provider blends their items with some of yours. This is becoming more & more common. The staging consultant will come in and go through your home to provide advice on what needs to go (to the tip, or into storage) and what can stay. The difference this partial update can make to the appearance of your home can potential add tens of thousands to your sell price.

Don’t be offended!

My final word on professional staging is to keep an open mind. The advice offered by the stager is based on their extensive experience in property marketing & is intended to improve the saleability of your home + put more money in your pocket. Their recommendations are not a criticism of your personal tastes. Remember – you can always bring back the stuffed owl you inherited from your great grandfather after your sale is secured!

“The way we market our home, and the way we live in our home are two very different things.”

Always remember the keys to a successful sale result…

1. Select the right agency/agent (remember – good agents are seldom cheap, and cheap agents are seldom good!)

2. Gain a good understanding of the current market conditions, and be realistic with your price expectation from the outset (particularly relevant in the current changing market)

3. Prepare your property for sale (this is where home staging fits in)

4. Invest in great marketing (absolutely critical when supply starts to get ahead of demand)

What are your thoughts?

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