Through The Eyes Of A Home Stager
Most people become so attached and so used to their much loved homes that they have difficulty visualising them objectively when it’s time to put them on the property market. Once the home owner is ready to list his home, this is where I come in as a professional home stager – I get hired in assisting the client prepare their home for sale.
Home staging to me, is a thorough tour of your home through the buyer’s eyes. I’m so convinced of its importance that I get paid as a stager to do just that. The most important factor is to make every seller understand that their house should appeal to as many buyers as possible.
Thoughtful, caring and proper staging helps any house sell faster, and in turn, earns the client more money. That’s the reason why most home sellers are ready to listen and accept my offer. The majority of them are happy to work with the stager or property stylist.
It’s imperative for me to sit down and take time with the seller to best assist him with his decision to get his home ready for show. This usually includes the obvious tasks like cleaning and de-cluttering, with a view of making the house feel lighter and brighter, whilst enhancing its curb appeal. And, as much as any homeowner loves the personal touches and memorabilia that make a house a home, it is vital for the client to detach himself emotionally and de-personalise his living space.
Whenever potential buyers are touring a home, I want them to be focusing on the house itself and its features. Collectibles, memorabilia or walls covered with family photos can be a huge distraction. As the next home owner, the prospective buyer should imagine himself living in the seller’s living space. It can be difficult to visualise a home’s potential and possibilities when it’s filled with too many personal items and pieces of furniture on top of one another.
There’s no reason to erase every trace of your personality from the house. After all, there lies a very fine line between a house and a home. At the end of the day, you still want a home to feel like a home. But on the other side of the coin, the potential buyer needs to be able to visualise their own possessions in each room. He shouldn’t have to think too hard about what a particular house would look like without all the seller’s decorative touches.
First impressions always go a long way. Whilst the buyer looks at the house, he also looks at the way the house “shows”. This feeling often gives the buyer a sense of condition of the things or items that are out of sight. If the home appears neat, tidy and organised, this could also tell the buyer that the current owner has cared for the house and is likely to have kept everything well maintained, inside and out.
The steps that a home stager recommends can actually prepare the owner for the sale, and eventually, the move. For instance, removing family artefacts or any other excess items about the house is just a matter of planning and starting the packing process sooner rather than later. Unused or unnecessary items can be boxed away well in advance of the sale and stored offsite, or at the very least, in the garage. Whilst there is a cost to stage your home, it absolutely pays for itself. Let’s not omit professional carpet cleaning, touching up on scratches on walls or repainting a dark room in a brighter colour are associated costs, but typical examples that can add up to one to two present of the house’s value. National statistics have proven time and time again that carrying out the above tasks will add eight to ten percent to the sale price. A home seller can expect to get back three dollars for every dollar spent. A well-staged home will sell quicker, too.
The staging process should normally take no more than a day, depending on the size of the home. As a stager, common procedure is for me to go through the seller’s home, offering room-by-room advice on how to freshen and brighten any space, and improve on the flow of traffic by making certain recommendations. This usually includes removing or rearranging furniture items, adding accents, themes and experiencing with different colour palettes, which can all help transform a room, so it looks its best and ready for a photo shoot.
To bring any room to life, greenery adds freshness. Flowers or plants are always eye catching to the buyer, especially in internet listings, bearing in mind that ninety percent of the potential buyers would have come across the property whilst browsing online. The same principle should apply to the exterior, where the seller needs to be weary of street appeal. I will always start by addressing landscaping, with simple and maintenance free suggestions, e.g. a potted plant near the main entrance, carefully trimmed and pruned shrubs and trees, as well as a well-manicured lawn. A water fountain makes up for a great outdoor feature – the trickly sound of water in the background adds serenity and appeases the mind.
For an unoccupied home, staging is vital. Bare walls and floors are not inviting and attractive, so it’s especially important that they be kept clean and fresh. A completely empty home doesn’t entice buyers. As a stager, a big part of my job is to hire hard and soft furnishings that I place in a vacant property, all for a fee, to help it look warmer and more inviting to any prospective buyer.
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