How to Stage Your Listings

 
 
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Summary


When I started selling real estate back in the 1900’s (1998 to be exact) staging was not nearly as important as it has become today.  Why have things changed?  Because of Pinterest, Instagram, and HGTV.  Buyers often spend hours looking at pictures of perfectly staged and decorated dream homes online and so their expectation and idealized mental image of the house they want to buy is the perfectly decorated dream home.  Unfortunately that’s not what many sellers’ homes look like, so staging has become an important and valuable part of the process.

I highly recommend, unless you are trained and skilled at effectively staging a house for sale, that you hire a professional stager to do this work.  Whether you are doing it or bringing in a full-time staging company or professional, here are some important things to communicate with the seller, to gain their cooperation in the staging and marketing process:

1. Think “model home.”

In other words, the more the home looks like a perfectly staged model, the more attractive it is to buyers.  I occasionally encourage sellers to check out staged builder model homes to get a good idea of what a “staged home” looks like.  If you just give them a “to do” list without a vision of the result, then it can just sound like a lot of work and/or expense for them without a clear benefit.

2. Respect that it is their personal home.

One of the surprises I discovered when staging conversations come up with sellers is how often and how easily homeowners are offended by the agents’ suggestions or recommendations about staging the property.  They can easily feel like the agent is making costly, inconvenient demands of them regarding their property, which makes them not want to work with that agent.

3. Focus on the Benefit, not the Process.

The process of staging a home can be inconvenient and costly for sellers.  Tie the staging process to the desired result, which is to make buyers fall in love with their home and be willing to pay top dollar, rather than to to details of all the work the sellers need to do.

The two fatal words you never want to say to your seller is “de-clutter” (because it implies their house is cluttered, which will make them defensive) and “de-personalize” (because it is their home and it is very personal to them).  Instead, focus on doing things that will “make your home show at its best, so buyers will fall in love with it.”  That is the result (benefit) that sellers want.  The process may be a pain, but if they know that the benefits of it are desirable, they will be willing to happily cooperate.

 
 
 

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