What Does Staging Your Home Mean
First, let me just describe what I mean by “staging” your home. Have you ever visited open houses on the weekend? Have you noticed how some of them look like they come straight out of a home decor magazine, while others look like, well, real homes?
The difference is often staging. While painting and cleaning will go a long way to making your home show better to buyers, staging is another aspect that should require your attention. Staging involves choosing and arranging furniture and decor in a way that makes the home look and feel beautiful, spacious, cozy, or even luxurious.
There are two main ways that staging your home will benefit you, which I will cover below. But, both of these ways that staging helps stem from the idea that staging is going to affect buyer perception.
When a buyer decides to buy a home, it is really more of an emotional decision than anything else. Let’s say they go see 3 different houses one day. One is vacant, one is owner-occupied, and one is yours.
The vacant one is completely empty, and it definitely feels that way. A buyer tries to imagine where they would put their stuff, and how they would decorate it. Whether they think about it this way or not, the buyer is emotionally perceiving this home as a blank slate. Blank slates are nice, but they are also commodities. People just don’t pay a premium for a commodity.
The owner-occupied house is full of another family’s stuff. Over time, families start to develop habits and routines within their living space. Spaces and corners start to get utilized in “unique” ways, and result is often clutter. clutter is the enemy of a positive buyer perception. Cluttered homes still have the same square footage, number of bedrooms, and may even be in the same condition as others. But when a buyer walks through it, it feels small and cramped. That “feeling” is what sticks with them when they think about your house later on… when they are deciding which home to make an offer on and for how much.
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Then they get to your house. Maybe you still live there, or maybe you’ve moved out already. Either way, the home has been professionally staged, and looks like a model home. With everything placed just right, and every space appropriately utilized the floor plan feels open, spacious, and perfect. There are paintings on the walls, and decor on the limited number of stands, tables, and kitchen counter. The pictures looked amazing and their jaws dropped when they walked in the door. All the details like square footage, bedrooms, flooring materials being equal, which homes do you think left the best impression on the buyer?
The more desirable your home is relative to the competition, the better off you will be. Remember, that example buyer who saw three different houses is not alone. ALL the buyers are going to look into their options, and most of them are going to have the same experience as this buyer. If the houses are all priced the same, than the one that looks the nicest is simply going to get the most positive attention.
More attention leads to more offers. Multiple offers equates to more leverage for the seller. The more leverage you have, the more wins you will have in negotiations, plain and simple.
Primary Advantages of Staging Your Home When Selling
Obviously, staging your home doesn’t necessarily increase the actual value of your home. The buyer doesn’t get to keep the furniture and you haven’t necessarily renovated or otherwise improved the home’s utility. But staging can still help you sell your house and even get more money. Here’s how:
1. Staged Homes Sell Faster
By staging your house you will make it stand out from the local competition. Ultimately this will help you get more buyers through the door which increases your chances of getting offers quickly. Also, the more desirable you make your home, the more it will line up with what individual buyers are looking for.
Different buyers have different standards. Some don’t mind doing a little work, while others require their new home to be turn-key. The nicer your home looks and feels, the wider your pool of potential buyers will be. This will inevitably lead to a shorter time on the market before getting offers.
2. Staging Will Help You Get Top Dollar
Staging your home increases it’s desirability in the pool of buyers. If your home is also priced aggressively (slightly lower than the competition), you will inevitably attract a TON of interest from buyers. You will receive offers left and right. Most of the buyer’s agents will reach out and ask if you have any offers and instead of “Well, not yet, but we had some interest over the weekend,” you can say “Yes, we have 6 so far, they just keep rolling in.”
This, of course, will lead to slightly higher initial offers from buyers. But the real advantage of having multiple offers is that it puts you in a very comfortable position when it comes to negotiating.
When you have multiple offers, you don’t have to keep waiting if you haven’t been offered what you want yet. You simply counter-offer each buyer and actually tell them what you liked and didn’t like about their original offer, but make sure they know you have multiple offers.
Going back and forth will multiple buyers you will have more opportunity to secure the best possible terms for your home sale.