Monday, August 13, 2018

Why You Should Stage When Selling

Imagine you're going on an interview, a really important interview. You've been in your job for a decade and it's time for a change. So you dress in your old, wrinkly suit, the one you've had in your closet for the ten years since you last interviewed. It's no longer in fashion and faded and doesn't fit your body anymore. This is what putting your house on the market without staging it looks like.

Over the weekend I consulted with a realtor I've been working with about a 2 bed/1.5 bath she's representing - a starter home or nice downsizer for empty-nesters. But it's dated. The furniture is overstuffed and makes the space feel small and the dining room table, chairs and flooring are all the same color wood. I went room by room with the realtor and figured out everything I'd need to do, using the homeowners' current furniture, to bring the house into today's d├ęcor space. To basically put the best fitting suit on this home. And then today I heard from the realtor that the couple has decided not to stage their house. As the seller you're allowed to stage or not, it's your prerogative, but let me tell you why it's a bad idea to forego staging.

Over the years, hearing comments back from potential buyers on the houses my father and I renovate, I have realized that the majority of people do not have vision. I'm sorry, but it's true. They see an empty space and cannot fathom how to furnish it or how their existing furniture would fit in it. For example, there were potential buyers who came through Graceland and their comments were that they wouldn't know what to do with the vaulted breezeway. (I have no comment regarding that because it just dumbfounded me when I heard it and to this day it still does. What do you mean you don't know what you'd do with a sun-filled empty room?)

If you want to get the asking price (or above) on your property you have to let go of the old suit in your closet. Put aside all your memories, all of the emotions, and think about the best possible suit you can put on your house. Think current style, best fit for the bones of the house. This is what a stager does. They take into consideration the house's character. Is it an old farm house? Then they will dress it farm house-appropriate. Is it a modern loft? They'll bring in modern lines and patterns. Is it an outdated ranch? They'll bring in a modern, sophisticated touch so the outdated rooms will fade into the background.

For those who lack vision, they walk into an open house and see exactly what is in the space, not what could be. So if you have over-stuffed furniture that showcases the living room poorly then that's what they see - a small space. But if you put a gorgeous dining table and chairs, place settings and flowers, then they see what could be in that space, all the future family gatherings and parties that might be.

But if you can't let go of the emotions, which sometimes sellers can't do, then go ahead and put on that ill-fitting suit, but just know that you're not putting your best foot (or house) forward. Dress for success, right? Houses need to be dressed up too. Otherwise, no one will want to hire them - or buy them. You get the analogy. So my two cents is that staging is a necessity, and I'm not just saying that as a stager. I'm looking at your property as an unbiased entity, seeing your house for both what it is and what it could be. And I'm ready to tailor the suit to fit perfectly.

~ Stephanie

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