The real estate market in Denver is hot, to say the least. According to the Denver Post, home prices have appreciated 11.4 percent in the past year, the average home takes barely over a month to sell after listing, and Denver’s housing inventory was at a 32-year low at the beginning of 2017. Which begs the question, why stage a home in a city where you’re almost guaranteed a sale if you choose to put your house on the market? Owner of the Denver home staging firm Sensational Home Staging and StagedHomes.com, the nationally recognized educational and home staging accreditation website, Jennie Norris says that any homeowner or real estate agent who enters the market with that mindset is missing the big picture and cheating themselves out of thousands of dollars when they sell their home.
Why Hire a Home Stager in Denver?
In order to understand how home staging can have such a large impact on the bottom line, Norris says it’s important to first understand exactly what services a home stager offers. “Stagers are important because it’s difficult for us to be objective with our own homes,” she says. “You need somebody to come in with fresh eyes and a buyer’s perspective.” By looking at a home through a buyer’s eyes, she can identify fairly quickly what needs to be done—from tidying up bedrooms, to boxing up the collection of vintage Coca-Cola bottles, to sending the mounted elk head on the wall away to storage.
“For occupied home staging, I go room by room and tell clients what they need to do,” says Norris, noting that her suggestions can include changes big and small, including bringing in new art, new furniture, and even updating dated window coverings and fixtures when necessary. “For vacant houses we provide furnishings, décor, and artwork, typically for the main rooms of a property,” she says. “The goal is to define space and add visual appeal.” All of her work is done with one objective in mind: to make the home more attractive to buyers, and in turn to get the seller more money for their home.
Marketing Your Home in a Hot, Internet-Based Market
Understanding the buyer begins with understanding what they’re looking for in a home, and how they’re going to be viewing it. When it comes to the modern real estate market, Norris says that buyers begin that search online. It’s not unlike internet dating. “They interview online,” she says, “then they set a date to come see the home.” The trick is making sure that your home looks as good on a computer screen as it does in real-life, and that’s harder to accomplish than most people realize.
Norris says that vacant homes are a great example. “Vacant houses echo the flaws,” she says. “Empty rooms appear smaller than they are. The buyer doesn’t know what they’re looking at. (Staging) provides perspective.” The addition of a piece of artwork and a tasteful room full of furniture can be the difference between a buyer feeling an emotional connection to your home, falling in love with the space, and scheduling a visit, or them writing it off as too small or too plain for their tastes. “Studies show that 60- 70 percent of buyers don’t even look at the dimensions,” Norris says, referring to how buyers browse real estate online, “they only look at the pictures.” And while a picture is definitely worth a thousand words, in this case it can literally be worth thousands of dollars.
Staging Isn’t Interior Design
Norris also says that it’s important not to confuse home staging with interior design or other overlapping professions. The key is to remember that the goal isn’t to make the house look good. It’s to make it look good to somebody who wants to buy it. “Decorating and design are not staging,” she says, “Neither is feng shui. I’m not personalizing a space like decorating and design. I’m depersonalizing it for the buyer.” And for homeowners who might object to the decisions she’s making when staging a home? “I don’t let the seller dictate the staging,” she says. “I’m targeting to the buyer who I haven’t met yet. (The seller) doesn’t have to like it. You can hate everything I bring in there. I’m not staging for you. I’m staging for the buyer, and I’m not going to steer the staging wrong.”
Show Me the Money in Denver
Just what kind of impact can all that work have on the bottom line? Norris says that there are several ways to look at it. For starters, she points out that only 20 percent of the homes on the market in Denver are staged, so you’re giving yourself an immediate edge over 80 percent of your competition when you incorporate home staging into your marketing strategy. Furthermore, it has a significant, proven, impact on buyers. “80 percent of buyers will have a more favorable impression of your home,” says Norris, citing statistics from the National Association of Realtors, “and more than 50 percent will be willing to pay more.” In Jennie Norris’ experience, it’s not uncommon for her homes to receive multiple offers and to sell for tens of thousands over the asking price, largely thanks to the staging services she provides. Last, but not least, if you take potential price reductions and days on the market (DOM) into account, an investment of a few hundred dollars for a home staging consultation, or a few thousand dollars for a total makeover, pales in comparison to a $20,000 price reduction on a $500,000 home that wasn’t marketed properly in the first place and can’t find a buyer.
So, how important is home staging in the Denver market? “When a buyer or seller realizes the benefit they’re going to get from it, it becomes a necessity,” says Norris. “After that, they’re always going to want it. Sellers experience it, realtors recommend it.” In short, if you’re selling your home in Denver, you’d be crazy not to seek out the services of a home stager. And if you need storage during that staging process, or the move that comes after, you’d be crazy not to call Closetbox. Learn what our full-service Denver storage solutions can do for you.