Shakespeare wrote the line for a monologue in As You Like It, but the sentiment carries increasing weight for home sellers and Realtors, as it relates to maximizing the value and marketability of a house.
Some are fortunate enough to have a home furnished in such a way that, you literally couldn’t improve it. Every piece of furniture is just right for the space it occupies, every piece of art seems to perfectly accentuate the room it’s in, and there’s scant evidence that anyone even lives in that home!
But for most of us that’s not our reality. We accrue furniture over a period of years from a myriad of sources. A leather coach purchased on sale here, a wooden hutch received from our long departed aunt over there, mixed in with a 17th century Chinese table and chair that we couldn’t resist from a far flung antique shop.
That hodgepodge of items many of us have make up what we call our home, and we’re proud of it. However, when we go to sell a property and we’re trying to market the look and feel of our home to the greatest number of potential buyers, our collection of “stuff” can easily work against us.
Enter the home staging concept.
The term “home staging” can mean different things to different people, but at its core, it means to set up a house in the most ideal manner possible for showings to prospective buyers. That could mean as much as filling a completely empty house with furniture, or as little as taking the items you currently have, and re-arranging them to create a more fresh and streamlined look.
Which end of the home staging spectrum a real estate home seller decides to participate may depend on their circumstances – including budget, flexibility to thin out their furnishings, and/or the ability to vacate the property and provide a blank canvas for staging.
There are a variety of home staging companies out there, whose service and fees vary widely, but here are a few things to know:
- many home staging companies want a minimal two month commitment for the items they place in your home
- the fee is often based on a combination of the number of pieces they place in your home, the square-footage of your home and the number of rooms in which you are placing furniture
- a completely empty house can be made to look lived in with not only furniture but a full suite of accessories – including potted plants and books for shelves.
- using a 5-bedroom home as an example, home staging can range on a low end, from $1,500/month, to $4-5,000 a month and (much) higher, depending on the quality of furniture you select.
There are also home stagers who strictly work with what you have – re-arranging the items in your home to create the most appeal for prospective buyers.
No matter which option a seller chooses, there is no doubt that maximizing the way the interior of a home shows can have a dramatic effect on its marketability – including receiving offers more quickly, potentially getting multiple offers, and ultimately realizing a higher sale price. Naturally things like location, condition and price are still of the utmost importance, but staging certainly has an impact.
There are numerous articles on the web that cover home staging, and the HGTV site offers 15 suggestions… these are my favorite five from their list:
- Remove the clutter!
- Musical Furniture – you’ve had a certain chair and table in the same corner of your house for nine years; but perhaps both would look great under a window in a completely different part of the house.
- Make it Bigger – sometimes painting a small room the same color as a larger adjacent room can create the impression of a larger space.
- Vary Wall Hangings – art doesn’t have to encircle a room in an orderly way – consider creatively circulating it at various heights.
- Three’s Company – a great sitcom, and a good way to feature accessories in a single location – in groups of three.
It’s your home. The place where you start and finish each day, and where you’ve made a lifetime of memories. But it’s also a valued asset. When it’s time to sell, you’ll be opening the door to an audience of prospects, and you’ll want it to look its best. Home staging may be the best recipe to maximize its value.
– Chase Campen
Popular Home Staging Site: Merideth Baer Home