I often get asked questions around what exactly I do when it comes to home staging. Although this practice and profession is not a new one, it is not one that is widely implemented or used everywhere. I do credit HGTV with giving people a glimpse of home staging and how it can be used to transform an otherwise vacant house. But there are still so many questions around what exactly the purpose is of home staging. I wanted to take an opportunity to break down what home staging is and why it is an important and necessary part of the home selling process.
In the most general sense, home staging is the act of preparing a home for sale in the real estate market. The purpose of home staging is to present the house in the best way possible. This includes highlighting the best features of the house as well as showcasing the features which most buyers are looking for. I met with a new client recently and broke down what I see as the two main goals of home staging in the following way:
Goal #1: Create a beautiful, inviting space
Think about how you feel when you flip through the pages of a home design magazine. The perfectly set space with beautiful furnishings, and the on trend accents and colors just invite you to want to live in that setting surrounded by that beauty and perfection (or is it just me?). This is what we are trying to accomplish with staging. We want people to have a positive impression which invites them to love the space and see how beautifully the space can look- no matter how big or small the room is. Yes, in essence, they are buying a vacant room when the sale is complete. But they will get a sense of the potential and the possibility that they can also create that beautiful setting in THAT space. They will not get that feeling from a vacant, uninviting space. They also will not get that feeling when the house is full of distractions like clutter, oversized furniture, and a non-neutral setting.
Goal #2: Demonstrate to buyers how best to use the space
Let’s talk vacant homes first. Empty spaces inhibit most people from envisioning where furniture should be placed. It also inhibits people from determining the scale of the space. Potential buyers will wonder things like… Where should I put the couch in this room? Will a Queen size bed fit in here? This is where staging comes in. Home stagers place furniture in a way to demonstrate the most appropriate location for a room’s key pieces of furniture. Not only does this show buyers where there furniture could / should be placed, it also gives them a sense of the size of the room. People often have a difficult time determining the size of a room when it is empty. When you see furniture in a space, it helps you evaluate the amount of space in a room. Rooms often seem smaller than they actually are without any furniture in it.
Now let’s talk about homes that are lived in. Those need staging as much as vacant homes do. With the two goals mentioned above in mind, there is always editing that needs to occur in a seller’s home in order to reach these goals. This type of staging often comes in the form of de-cluttering rooms, downsizing the amount of furniture in a room, and sometimes adding some more inviting colors or accent pieces to reach the goals of staging. Let’s be honest- none of us live in a home the way it is staged. A lived in home doesn’t often look like the homes in the magazine with the accent décor always in its’ place, and without mail and preschool artwork scattered all over the counter. Removing the “mess” of everyday life invites buyers to focus on the features of the home.
Now guess what? All houses need staging of some sort to best present their house in the real estate market to potential buyers. Period. And this isn’t a pitch for hiring staging services. There are a lot of things that sellers can do on their own to stage their house before they take pictures and offer it for sale to buyers. I always point out the fact that for many people, their house is the most valuable asset they own. Staging maximizes the value of that asset. So to summarize home staging, it is the practice of making your house appear as valuable as it possibly can to get the biggest financial return on your number one asset.