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  • Writer's pictureSimon Wendt

Staging my home to sell

If you have been paying attention to the way homes are presented for sale over the past 10 years you will have noticed that home sellers have really upped the ante. Never before have so many beautifully presented homes been offered for sale and it is thanks to the rise of professional (and affordable) home staging companies.

In the past people would try to arrange their furniture the best way they could and take the agents advice to declutter and depersonalise as much as possible however these days it makes good financial sense to get the input of a professional.

If you ask estate agents what difference professional staging will make, you will typically hear that it may make the difference of more than 10% of the final value! Considering the initial outlay required to stage a home with furniture, artwork and accessories will be around $2,000 - $5,000 depending on the size and number of rooms to furnish, this is certainly a worthwhile investment in the selling process for many sellers.

Will it really make a difference? What sellers and agents are after is a competitive edge. There are so many choices out there for home buyers and they will usually go with their heart. If it feels right, it is right. If they can see themselves living in the home, they have already made the mental commitment to wanting to own it. For many homes the best feature is the potential the home offers to enhance and modernise and with professional staging, you are already part the way there to demonstrating this. Showing buyers what they can achieve with the right furniture, art and accessories also shows them that old dated homes can be stylish and modern looking and very liveable with the right flair and attention to detail. This allows buyers to see the home differently and perceive value they could not previously see.

But I would not arrange my furniture like that. The way we live in a home is not necessarily the way that will look the best for the marketing and inspections. We need to remember that we are moving away from our home and that people considering moving in to it, may have something different in mind. Staging is also done with respect for the way the marketing photos will be shot. For example, this may mean creating a more open-plan feel even though the view of the tv is not ideal because this will show the room to be larger.

My property is empty so it looks really big without furniture. An empty home can look bigger without furniture but not always. Without a reference point of where to place items, buyers can become confused and lose confidence that the home will accommodate them and their belongings. This can lead to inaction from the buyer which is not helping the sale for the vendor. In addition homes that are empty are more likely to show their imperfections (all homes have them) as there is nothing else to take the eye of the buyer to the overall space, which is what they should be considering. Furthermore, photography of empty homes lack the appeal of their stylishly presented neighbours as there is not much attraction to 4 white walls and a floor. As always it is how we utilise our living spaces that determines the value we get from our homes. When buyers can see themselves living there, they are more likely to become interested and stay interested.

Other people are doing it so maybe I should as well. The selling arena is highly competitive and now that staging is so commonplace, it may mean a disadvantage to not stage your home. Buyer will be considering your offering and comparing it to what other homes offer so we would like to do all we can to give you every opportunity to secure the best outcome. If your home is not competitive on the presentation, it better well be more competitive on the asking price! The best results come from buyers who want a ‘home’ not a ‘property’ so it makes more sense to invest a small amount in the presentation instead of compromising the price.

My home looks great and it does not need staging. This may be true. You may be one of the clever and stylish people who has a real eye for design and has chosen the right items to furnish your home and everything just fits together beautifully. Some people just have the knack when it come to home styling and usually have invested a lot of time, money and effort plus trial and error to get it to flow well. It is one the great skills of a professional home stager to create a flow from one room to the next and an overall theme to the home. This ‘flow’ and ‘theme’ gives buyers a sense of comfort that helps them see themselves living there and is crucial to the home staging role.

Although you may feel your home is right the way it is, the stakes are high for the home seller so it is best to obtain the guidance of a trusted real estate agent as they should offer an impartial view of whether a home requires staging to help it reach its full potential.

For all real estate related information or advice, contact the author Simon Wendt, Licensed Estate Agent at Hockingstuart Mentone on 0407 040 706.

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