Samson Kimani's Blog
As recently as 20-25 years ago, most people thought “staging” was for the theater and model homes. The idea of professionally temporarily decorating a home to sell it was not on the average homeowner’s radar. All that changed with the advent of TLC, HGTV, and other networks dedicated to home buying/selling and renovating shows.
If you’re selling a home after years out of the housing market, you may balk at the idea of the added expense of hiring a stager, but last year’s National Association of Realtor’s report ‘Profile of Home Staging’ indicated that a massive 77 percent of buyers’ agents believe staging contributed to their client’s ultimate purchase.
Visualization is key
Living in a visual world means most people make snap judgments by what they can see. If buyers cannot “see” themselves living in the home, they’ll keep looking. First-time buyers, especially, may need that extra nudge to make the plunge. Staging for the online photos is even more important. Potential buyers indicated they were more likely to walk through a home that had staged online images.
Faster is better
While some studies completed in the past few years indicate that staging does not change a buyer’s perception of a home’s value, it does help the home sell more quickly. In the world of real estate, where the seller is balancing the mortgage on the current home with the new mortgage on the home they want, selling the home more quickly for a fair price pays for itself. After all, who wants to be carrying two mortgages?
More is also better
Ultimately, it comes down to the outcome. Yes, the house may sell more quickly when staged, but does it sell for a higher price? Is the cost of staging recouped? The evidence is less clear here, but in the same NAR study, 49 percent of agents believed staging got the seller a higher offer. And while most of those indicated the increase was in the one to five percent range of the sale price, that was more than enough to cover the cost of staging.
Is this a time for DIY?
Binge-watching renovation and real estate shows may give a seller a false sense of their own ability to effectively stage their home. Professional stagers and design professionals can cast that critical eye that allows them to minimize a home’s flaws while accentuating its features. They also have a plethora of furnishings to utilize. To do it yourself might not be worth it on balance for what you get with a professional.
The most important key is to be on the same page as your local agent. They know your local market and are aware of the comparable homes for sale in your area. They know the potential buyers and what they expect to see in your home’s price range. Put their knowledge to work for you.
If plans for selling your home are in the near future, you’re going to want to start strategizing the most cost- and time-effective ways to make your home irresistible to potential buyers. One of the most proven ways of giving your home the edge it needs to stand out from the competition is good photography and attractive staging.
In today’s post, I’m going to share my tips on home staging that can be achieved on a budget and in a short period of time. That way you can focus more time on finding a new home and stop worrying about selling your current one.
Tip 1: Start packing
Before you start worrying about arranging furniture, it’s important to make sure you have a clean slate to work with. Start by packing personal effects into boxes and labeling them accordingly.
Staged homes are homes that look appealing to the widest audience as possible. Having personal reminders, like family photos, trophies, etc., makes it harder for viewers to picture themselves living in the home.
Most of us keep our homes arranged in a way that is convenient to our lives. And. let’s face it--life can be messy. But, when it comes to staging, less is usually more.
Not only will this cleaning process help you reduce clutter and make the home look better for staging, but it will also make your moving process easier since many of your boxes will already be organized and sealed.
Tip 2: Color scheming
Expertly staged homes tend to have one thing in common--a cohesive color scheme. Think of choosing your color scheme like creating an artist’s palette. You want a few colors that compliment one another and that will work together to brighten up your home.
If you have any furniture that appears worn, dated, or that clashes with the scheme of the room, it’s a good idea to place them in storage while you prepare for photographs and visitors.
Tip 3: Decorate sparingly
Now that you’ve packed away your family photos, you might be wondering what to put on the walls in their place. The best answer is often nothing. However, that doesn’t mean the walls need to be completely bare.
For smaller rooms, you can make them appear more spacious with the use of hanging mirrors (just make sure you can’t see yourself in any of those mirrors when you take your photos!).
Tip 4: Don’t forget the outside of your home
The value of curb appeal can’t be overemphasized. The exterior of our homes, along with our yard and driveway, are essentially what we show the world about our lives. Since most home buyers want their house to look nice, fit in with the neighborhood, but have its own unique flair all at the same time. They want to know that your house has that potential.
Furthermore, the driveway and yard are two of the first things people see when they visit. You’ll want to take advantage of this moment by making a good impression.
If you're in the process of preparing your home for the real estate market, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make your home as irresistible as possible!
While this may sound like an enormous undertaking that you don't have the time or energy to tackle, remember one thing: When you put your home up for sale, there's a lot at stake!
Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less marketable it becomes. If potential buyers learn that your house has been on the market for longer than, say, a few months, one of the first questions they'll ask or think will be "What's wrong with it?" Once questions like that start arising, the overall appeal of your home begins to decline. As you can imagine, your ability to get the highest possible price for your house also weakens over time. That's why it's important to do everything possible to enhance the look and feel of your home.
Home Staging Counts
Although effective home staging can be a crucial aspect of selling your house quickly, there is a point at which diminishing returns may come into play. Few home sellers have unlimited time and money to invest in staging their home, and it's easy to go above and beyond what's actually necessary to secure a buyer.
There are dozens of variables that affect a house selling strategy, including the real estate market and the condition of your home. If it's a "buyers' market" and there are a lot of comparable houses for sale in your neighborhood, then you might have to work a little harder to make your home stand out and attract offers. If you're fortunate enough to be in a desirable area and not facing a lot of competition from other home sellers, then the law of supply and demand should work in your favor! However, it's still important to make the most of your property's curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home's interior.
The cost of home staging can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, but your real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on how to cost-effectlively maximize the "eye appeal" of your house and property. While perfection is generally an unattainable standard in home staging (or anything else), optimal results only come from putting your best foot forward.
Several words to remember and be guided by when preparing a house for sale are "immaculate", "spotless", "manicured" (lawn), "fresh" (looking and smelling), "updated", "well-maintained", and "charming". If prospective buyers are using those words and phrases to describe your home, then you know you're on the right track! Your agent can provide you with helpful insights and suggestions for making a great impression on potential buyers -- without having to spend more on home staging than necessary!
Putting your house on the market is a lot like preparing to host a holiday party; you want to make the best possible impression on people without having to spend a small fortune in the process!
Assuming your home is not drastically outdated or in disrepair, there are a lot of simple things you can do to make it more appealing to visitors.
For a lot of reasons, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house. The impression your kitchen makes on potential buyers can easily make or break your chances for a quick sale. Although everyone's looking for different features in a home, it will always be to your advantage to spend a little extra time sprucing up your kitchen.
While it may not be practical or affordable to give your kitchen a complete makeover, here are a few simple ideas for enhancing its overall appeal.
Lighting affects perception: As a home seller, one of your primary objectives is to create an environment that's comfortable, attractive, and relaxing. Lighting, both natural and artificial, can play a big role in how people perceive your home. If you're fortunate enough to have sunny weather on days when your house is being shown, it will be easier to present your kitchen and other rooms to their best advantage. By letting in a lot of natural sunlight, colors tend to be more vibrant and your home's mood will be a lot more positive. Turning on electrical lights can also help give your living space a more cheerful feeling.
Cleanliness is crucial: Although the "grunge factor" is something you want to avoid anywhere in your house, prospective buyers will pay special attention to the cleanliness of your kitchen and bathrooms. Thoroughly cleaning counter tops, floors, sinks, and appliances will go a long way toward making a positive impression. If you can use cleansers that have a mild, natural-smelling fragrance -- like citrus, for example -- then you won't risk turning people off with the overpowering smell of harsh chemicals or artificial scents.
Staging your kitchen: A few things you can do to make your kitchen look more inviting and memorable include adding touches like a vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of colorful fruit, and a green plant or two. Removing distracting clutter from counter tops, tables, and desks can also help give your kitchen a more organized, tidy, and spacious appearance.
If your refrigerator door is covered with outdated children's drawings, coupons, photographs, and other miscellaneous memorabilia, it might be worth your time to weed that out a little bit! Not only does it detract from the beauty of your kitchen, but it also makes it impossible to clean the door of your fridge. Another tip to keep in mind is that too many personal items on display make it more difficult for prospects to visualize living in your home -- which is the first step to winning them over as buyers.
Whether you're staging your home to sell it faster or preparing for a big family gathering, there are a lot of easy, inexpensive things you can do to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative.
While one or two small touches may not guarantee making a great impression, a handful of upgrades and improvements should tip the scales in your direction. Here are a few ideas and possibilities:
- Clean carpets: If you have pets, children, or teenagers in the house, there's a good chance your carpets have some ugly stains on them. Fortunately, there are relatively easy solutions ranging from hiring a professional carpet cleaning service to renting a steam cleaner machine from your local hardware store or supermarket. In some cases, you may need to pretreat the stains with a cleaning spray. Keep in mind, however, that pre-treating carpet stains can be risky. First of all, there's the potential for certain cleaning solutions to permanently fade the color of your carpet. Secondly, some cleaning chemicals are toxic, so it's important to read the label and use them with caution. Fortunately, more and more professional carpet cleaning services are using non-toxic, "green" cleaning products, so look for companies that are environmentally friendly in their practices. Depending on the extent of your carpet stains, a good vacuuming and thorough steam cleaning, alone, might produce the desired results.
- Upgrade door knobs: You probably never paid attention to the quality of your door hardware, but it's not uncommon for homeowners to have very plain-looking doorknobs throughout their house. Visitors will probably notice them, at least on a subtle level, if the knobs are either exceptionally cheap or -- on the other hand -- very stylish and distinctive. Granted, replacing a bunch of ordinary doorknobs with $40 antique-style or crystal glass hardware could get rather pricey! A more economical alternative would be to get moderately priced doorknobs that would achieve the desired result without costing hundreds of dollars. If you're going to continue living in your home and are looking for ways to add extra style and quality to your decor, then doing an extensive doorknob upgrade is an option to consider. On the other hand, if you're staging your home for sale, then a more conservative approach might be appropriate.
- Replace light switch covers and outlet plates: Many homes seem to have run-of-the mill, plastic light switch covers, which serve the purpose, but don't enhance the decor at all. While it may be another subtle aspect of your overall decorating scheme, it's one of the many features people may notice. Metallic or artistic-looking switch covers make a much more positive statement about your attention to detail and quality.
- Remove smudges from windows and mirrors: Crystal clear windows and mirrors help bring out the best in your home. It's one of those small touches that can make a big difference in the impression you make on family, friends, and -- if your house is on the market -- potential buyers.