Marketing a home internally is equally important as you have spent all this time and money getting them to come to the home and now you want to impress them. In an earlier post called Open House Tip # 2 – Sell the House to Buyers I discussed the importance of setting up small signs and notes around the home highlighting features that buyers might not notice.
An equally important internal marketing tool is “Staging the Home” . Almost without exception you cannot put a home on the market “as-is” without alienating at least 60% of the people who see it and cannot get past the clutter, untidiness or the “lived-in” look. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, if you expect to get top dollar you will have to invest at least as much time as you did when you sold your last car. Remember vacuuming, shampooing the rugs, changing the oil and cut-polishing it until it looked like new? Why? Because you want ed people to think it was newer than it was to get more money for it. It is no different than your home.
Staging defined – “the preparation of a home to sell by a professional who specializes in this form of decorating.” Staging can occur on two different levels:
1. Basic Staging
• Removing clutter in the home.
• Placing only attractive, basic furniture in each room.
• Keeping walls, trim, and carpet in neutral colors.
• Removing personal items including pictures, hobby items, etc.
• Taking care of any deferred maintenance items.
• Cutting the grass, trimming the bushes and taking care of the landscaping.
2. Emotional Staging
Emotional staging goes a little further trying to get the buyers to picture themselves living in your home by creating a specific ambience. Examples of this are:
• Putting pillows and two wine glasses in front of the fireplace to create a romantic evening in front of the fireplace.
So while I agree that Staging is an important marketing tool you might find the view from the other side interesting.
The National Association of Exclusive Buyer’s Agents recently published a report entitled “How not to get tricked by staging and potentially save $ 5,645 when you buy your home” which I found enlightening.
The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (naeba.org) conducted a survey in the summer of 2007 of their broker & agent members about the practice of home staging. The survey focused on the impact on home buyers of the practice. The report outlines the results of the survey.
According to a 2003 survey by HomeGain (Emeryville CA) of 2,000 real estate agents Nationwide, a small investment by a home seller on cleaning & decluttering, lightening and brightening, and home staging, produced an average increase in sales price of $5,645.
So while staging is supposed to be helping market a home the buyer’s agents have found two interesting outcomes.
- 82% of home buyers are likely to be distracted from important issues when they go through a staged home.
- 51% of the respondents noted that staged homes often cover up real defects including structural damage.
Whether you are a home buyer, selling agent or buyer’s agent there is something to be learned from this. When viewing a “staged” home you need to look beyond the staging. You may love the colors but it is the structure of the house, the layout, how the property fits your needs, etc. that is really important. Don’t get fooled by small furniture making a room look larger. Measure it and make sure your sofa will fit.
Here are a few resources for you to learn more about staging.