Don’t Fall Victim to this Home Staging Myth
Selling a house is a massive undertaking, and it’s common for sellers to pour hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into preparing a home for the market. But dollar-for-dollar and hour-for-hour, not all investments are the same, and how you allocate the finite resources at your disposal can play a big role in the overall return for your home staging strategy.
Some sellers believe that they can do everything themselves, including trying to sell a home without a realtor. More often than not, these stories do not end well for the seller. Likewise, other sellers read that home staging, on average, pays for itself in a faster home sale at a higher price, and thus assume that all home staging services automatically pay for themselves. Indeed, perhaps the biggest home staging myth of all is that sellers should think of DIY vs. professional staging as an all-or-nothing proposal. Instead, the best plan often lies somewhere in the middle.
Different Strategies for Hiring a Home Stager
Regardless of how you choose to split the to-do list, hiring a home stager in some capacity is usually the smart choice. Most, though not all, professional stagers are available for supplemental staging services. The key is to make sure everybody is on the same page from the start, and that’s why most stagers require an at-home consultation before taking on a client. This helps the professional better understand the project, but it also serves as a diagnostic tool; they’ll be able to suggest specific services from the wide range of features offered by the business. They can also suggest which responsibilities you might easily take on yourself—whether that means consistently mowing the lawn, mopping the floors, or cleaning out a basement or other home storage area.
Often, there is a consultation fee that is then waived if you hire the stager. Some sellers will hire a stager specifically to pick their brain and then try to carry out the stager’s recommendations on their own. Know that stagers who offer free consultations may leave their best ideas or specific cost-saving tips unsaid. With this in mind, here are the essential steps for preparing your home for market, as well as some of the areas that are more or less likely to be handled on your own or by a professional stager.
Preparing Your Home for the Market
The 2015 Home Sale Maximizer Survey identifies five steps to preparing your home before you take photos and make final preparations to list the property on the market. These recommendations range from a simple cleaning to a full furniture re-arrangement, but they all contribute to a successful sale.
Repairs—It is essential to make electrical and plumbing repairs before listing your home. Hire a professional plumber to stop toilets from gurgling, repair leaky faucets, snake a camera out to the street sewer, and double-check electrical outlets. It helps nobody, and potentially endangers the sale itself, when a buyer’s home inspector comes through and identifies issues not included in your disclosures. Repair costs can range from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Cleaning—This is the most important aspect of preparing the home for the market. Cleaning includes everything from hanging new towels in the bathroom to scrubbing your kitchen floors. Even those people who maintain a generally clean and clutter-free home may find they want to hire a pro. The last thing you want to do is invest a bunch of time into cleaning your home, only to have your realtor say it isn’t good enough. A professional deep clean will usually cost between $200 and $300 depending on both the size and location of your home.
Staging—Strategic staging is essential for a successful sell, as prospective buyers need to envision themselves occupying the home. You may have great taste and a keen knowledge of what you like. Yet, different furniture, color choices, and arrangements may be necessary to make your house is appealing to the greatest number of potential buyers. A realtor or stager may also recommend some type of remodel or home update, but more often, staging makes its impact with a short-term interior design and decorating service that includes furniture rental. This service, too, is often available for entire homes or just for main rooms that need some extra highlighting.
Lighting—Brightening your home with the use of natural light and strategically-placed lamps will make the space seem more friendly and open. Move furniture away from windows to allow for more sunlight, repair broken light fixtures, and replace old, dull bulbs. This is another common area in which there’s a big difference between living in and selling a home. Whereas an owner is more apt to think about energy efficiency and utility bills, a stager is going to know how CFLs vs LED vs halogen bulbs impact a room’s impression on a prospective buyer. This might cost you anywhere from $200 to $400.
Lawn Maintenance—A clean, well-manicured lawn is the easiest way to draw potential buyers, especially if you’re hosting an open house. The cost of hiring a professional landscaper? A preliminary budget might allow for $500, but it really just depends on how long your home stays on the market. Of course, not all lawns and not all maintenance is the same. Ask your realtor and/or home stager what your xeriscaping design might signal to prospective buyers.
Tips for Personalizing Your Home Staging
A lot of sellers determine their staging strategy in consultation with their realtor and the comprehensive marketing plan that the realtor creates. Many realtors have a home stager they prefer to work with, while also being willing to work with your own stager. Some realtors handle the staging themselves as part of their service. Likewise, sellers may have their own skillset and network of friends and family who are willing to help on the cheap.
Again, the key is to allocate your resources as wisely as possible, but how do you do this? There are two things you want to keep in mind to get the best result. First, make sure you work with a realtor to create a comprehensive marketing plan that’s tailored to the local housing market. Second, make sure every component of this staging and marketing plan is working to attract buyers and maximize the sales price.
What Storage can Offer Your Staging and Home Sale
Hassle-free storage from Closetbox can be one of these important staging components. One clear-cut rule for staging: Get the extra clutter out of your basement, attic, yard, or spare bedroom. Just like professional home staging, we’re not the right choice for every single property or seller, but if you do have clutter in your home, there’s a good bet we’re the right choice for your out-of-home storage needs. Our pickup service will put time back in your schedule so that you can take on other aspects of preparing your home for the market or simply be in a good headspace when the time comes to consider offers from buyers.