The housing market is changing dramatically. Gone are the days when you barely had time to stake a ‘for sale’ sign into the front lawn. Rising interest rates and recession talk have slowed homebuyer demand and price growth. This means homebuyers have more time to shop listings and more options to choose from.
In this challenging market, home staging is especially important; sellers have to up their game to win the buyer over. So, when should a home seller engage a professional home stager?
1. If the seller already has a day job
Your client likely already has a full-time job, social life and perhaps a family. Do they realistically have the time to spare for staging and selling their property? This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the condition of the home. For the busy home seller, the convenience of a professional staging service is usually worth the cost. When done right, it pays off in the form of a quicker sale, often at a higher price.
2. If the home has been on the market without much interest
As all real estate agents know, the right home at the right price will sell regardless of market peaks and valleys. There is always a buyer out there. Home staging is intended to present prospective homebuyers with the right home for their lifestyle. When paired with the right agent who understands the market, there is no reason a home should remain stagnant on the market. Make the right first impression, and barring any major upset, the house is as good as sold.
3. If the home’s vibe is outdated
This might sound superficial, but old, worn-out furniture can sway buyers away from a sale. Believe it or not, the wrong decorations can make a home look small, dark, disorganized and uncared-for, which doesn’t generally reflect well at the offer table. The staging process will identify the home’s problem areas and offer cost-conscious, quick solutions to address them. Assuming the homebuyer isn’t looking to do a full-scale renovation, staging usually includes painting, decluttering, removing undesirable furniture and accessories and renting some new pieces.
This makes the home more memorable in the buyer’s mind. Most homeowners aren’t always able to view their homes objectively, especially if they’ve lived there for a while. A stager can lend an impartial eye and a professional opinion. With a relatively minor level of investment — rental costs, materials and the stager’s fee — the seller can show the home in a fresh and modern light.
4. If it’s unclear who you’re staging for
We have briefly touched on the idea of the “ideal home,” but ideal for who? A home can be staged and styled in many different ways. Part of the staging process is working with a listing agent to identify the target buyer for the property type and neighbourhood. While this may be challenging for the average person, a great agent already has a very good idea of the potential buyer. Maybe it’s a family, a young urban professional or a couple of empty nesters. As you can imagine, each type of buyer has specific wants, needs and aspirations for their next home.
5. If the seller is feeling overwhelmed
The process of selling a home is never easy. More so when it is a family home with attachment and emotions involved. There’s a lot to think about — from the finances to house hunting, assuming they’ll be moving elsewhere — staging can sometimes take a back seat. Home staging can significantly impact the offer table, so why does this simple step get skipped so often? Engaging a home stager will ensure the home is clean, organized, decluttered and presents well on the listing and for the showings that will follow.
Professional home staging can help answer many of the unknowns that come with making your old home someone’s new home. This process isn’t about the seller. Ultimately, it’s about attracting as many buyers as possible while also focusing on a specific type of buyer who will sign on the dotted line, given the right opportunity.
Red Barrinuevo is the principal designer at Redesign4More, property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market, and award-winning interior stylist based in Toronto. His clever home staging and interior decorating projects range from small condos to large-scale luxury homes. Red was also named one of RESA Global’s most influential people in real estate staging this year.