When I am working with a seller and we are getting ready to put the house on the market, I get asked about staging. I get asked, “Should we stage the house, and if so, how should we stage the house?” I have mixed opinions on staging a home and I will address them from both sides.
For the home seller to stage the house, I think it is as simply as tidying up the house. (I.e. the house is clean and smells nice, making sure the beds are made, the toilet seat is down, the trash is emptied, there are no dishes in the sink, there are not a lot of magnets or kids projects on the refrigerator, etc.) I think if we start with that and then you need a couple of things here or there; a designer plate in the kitchen, setting the dining room table, decorating the top of the mantel. I think we can start with that and then if you want to go a step further, certainly you can hire a professional stager.
Now, if the home is vacant, people ask, “Should I leave the home vacant or should I stage it?” I think from the buyer’s perspective, I like them to see the house vacant. I like people to picture their own furniture in there. To visualize where their TV might go, or their king or queen size bed should go. The downside of staging is, if you put the wrong size furniture in a room making it look smaller than it really is. The buyer should be able to visualize what furniture they want to go where, not visualize your big couch and your big TV or your big dining room table, as they might not live that way.
While putting wine glasses, rolled up newspapers, bed and breakfast trays at the end of the bed look great and sounds good, and there is certainly a demographic of homebuyers that fit that mold, I think in this Russell Realty Minute, the audience we are looking for might not really do breakfast in bed with wine glasses and rolled up newspapers. What the buyer today wants to know is, “Where can I sit down and open my laptop?”, Where are the outlets for the cable TVs?”, “Where can I plug in my wireless router so I get the best service?”, “Is the bathroom conveniently situated in the home?” We live in a very fast paced world!
I do not necessarily think staging to the level of paying someone to stage your home is as important as making your house clean and showable so people can walk in and visualize, hanging a nice towel in the bathroom, taking the pictures off the refrigerator, etc. When the seller says, “Should I leave it vacant, should I bring some stuff in?” I think it is six to one, half a dozen to the other, depends on who you work with and what their opinion is. My opinion is, I like the home vacant. It is easier to show, it is easier for people to visualize, there is not much “stuff” to move around. You may have some dark reds, the buyer might not like dark reds. You may have wine glasses, the buyer may be a beer drinker. There is no right or wrong way, but as representing a homebuyer, I would say, do not stage the home, because you create that false positive. As a home seller, I would say certainly stage the home the best you can, but only stage it after you clean.
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