Every Seller Should Stage Their Home - And It's Affordable

Every Seller Should Stage Their Home - And It's Affordable

Sometimes, mentioning home staging to a seller earns somewhat of a negative reaction. Somewhere along the way, staging gained a bit of a reputation as only a marketing device that homes with large price tags use, maybe spurred on by the glossy home "flipper" shows popularized by networks like HGTV.

In our opinion, though, most sellers would highly benefit from some level of home staging - and it's significantly easier and cheaper to accomplish than you may think right now! 

In order to better understand the staging techniques that will work best for your Chicago property, let's clear up some common misconceptions about staging and flesh out what it really means for sellers.

Myths About Home Staging

Here are some basic home staging myths it's time to break down, for the sake of your sale:

Myth #1: "I can't afford staging"

It's important to realize that there are many different levels of staging; the process doesn't have to involve a high-end designer coming in and removing all of your furniture, as many seem to think. Instead, there are more affordable options, including a one-time furniture placement and design consultation.

Myth #2: "My home won't benefit from staging - my home already looks nice"
Just because you enjoy what your home looks like doesn't necessarily mean that it is being marketed optimally. Home staging experts know what sells, and a even a few staging flourishes can go a long way toward making your home more appealing to prospective buyers. As Michelle Kruegger notes in the NWI Times:

"It’s a fact – the longer a house languishes on the market, the lower the selling price will be. 

It’s also been shown that buyers form an opinion within the first 15 seconds of entering a house, and that buyers tend to stay in a furnished house for an average of 40 minutes versus a vacant property for just 5 minutes - with 9 out of 10 people finding it difficult to visualize how an unfurnished home would appear furnished."

So, what sorts of options for staging are out there? How can you get the most value possible out of your time and budget constraints? With our thanks to Zillow Blog for some of these ideas, here are five proven ways to stage your home successfully:

1. A One-Time Consultation

Home stagers are truly home designers, specializing in looking at a space and evaluating what will make it most appealing to a wide audience of customers. They may suggest a new paint job or new carpet, or even some landscaping to add to the property's curb appeal.

Consulting with a stager is an extremely affordable option. Designers can cost as little as $75/hour to $200/hour, depending on your location. Their advice on colors, fixtures, and finishes will help ensure that you are putting your money to use in the right places, and can be some of the best money you spend before listing.

In fact, we feel so strongly about the value of staging, that we often hire a home stager to consult with our clients before listing the home at no cost to the sellers. We'd love to set up a referral for you, too! 

2. Partial Staging

Partial staging augments your pre-existing space by adding some basic, cosmetic changes. If you have, say, some outdated furniture or are lacking some art on your walls, a designer can come in an do a little bit of work, adding just the pieces you need, where you need them, from a sofa to a few throw pillows. A designer can also take on a more specific challenge, such as changing the spare bedroom you're using as an office into a guest room by bringing in a day bed and dresser.

3. Fluff Staging

In a "fluff staging" scenario, you already have a lot of good pieces, but you aren't sure they best show off the home. With this option, a designer moves your own furniture in order to best showcase a room - sometimes, this means moving a piece to the basement, or bringing something else out of storage. Working this way is a great way to save money, because you don't need to pay a stager to bring in their own furniture. Instead, you can simply pay them by the hour to redesign and accentuate your current space with the furniture you already have.

4. Full Staging

If you're moving out before you put your home on the market, you don't want to list it without furniture in it. In a case like this, full staging is the answer.

Most buyers aren't able to fully imagine what an empty home looks like with furniture, or even how they would use each space. Full staging helps take away that element of uncertainty. A home without furniture often resonates as cold and empty - definitely not adjectives you want your potential buyers to feel! Full staging does cost more than the other options, but it works; agents across the country use this tactic with great success every day.

5. Full Staging Plus Renovation

If you are moving out of your home and have a few thousand dollars to invest, bringing in a stager and some contractors can be well worth it when it comes to helping your home sell faster, and for as much money as possible. In particular, kitchens and bathrooms are often greatly in need of updating, since trends for these rooms change so rapidly; we've seen before how these rooms can make or break a sale.

Adding stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, or replacing your outdated cabinetry, can make a great first impression with your potential buyers. It is also common to replace outdated light fixtures, refinish a floor, update countertops, or put in a new sink. For these jobs and more, stagers know and work with contractors who can work quickly, for relatively affordable prices.

It's All About Letting Your Home Speak For Itself

When a potential buyer comes in the door, you want them to be able to see themselves living in your home, and not be turned off by empty, unappealing space. When you undergo any level of staging, you're helping to ensure that you are a) presenting your home at its best, and b) taking away most of your buyer's troubling "imagine if" thoughts.

And we've got the track record to prove that it works. Here's what Jason and Marc have to say:

We were hired by the homeowners to sell a home that they had previously listed for 10 months with another brokerage. They were listed on the MLS as well as all of the major real estate websites, but they could not get traction. Showings were few and far between, and feedback from the few showings was not positive. When we took over the listing, we connected the homeowners to a staging company with whom we often work. They had the home staged and we brought in our professional photographer to take new photographs. Finally, we made a small price reduction to generate new traffic. Our efforts were quickly rewarded with an offer within 3 days, and a much stronger offer which resulted in a sale contract within two weeks. The clients, of course, were thrilled. 

Work with your real estate agent early on to get a good idea of what it will take to sell your home, and what level of staging would suit you best.

If you're looking at listing your home and want to know where to start the process, drop us a line! The Real Group team is always happy to help!

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