A decade ago, home staging was still largely an excess found mostly in hard-to-sell luxury listings or high rise penthouses that needed the unique flair only a low-backed, modern, leather sectional could bring. Typical single-family residential listings were rarely decked out with borrowed furnishings.
Time has changed things, though, and with the fast-moving, competitive nature of the market these days, the ante has been upped when it comes to prepping a listing. Buyers' expectations of how homes will look and feel have been largely based on a facade.
According to a 2021 report by the National Association of REALTORS®, 68% of buyers polled expressed dissatisfaction that properties they had viewed did not meet the expectations they'd held after watching home design shows. Many buyers, without realizing it, have developed a false sense that there is an ever-ready slew of trendy, bright homes to choose from. If not, they've believed that a total remodel will be both quick and relatively affordable.
While real life in a home may not look quite as glamorous and decluttered as all of this, it remains the case that a clean, stylish, bright, and inviting home will appeal to buyers much more than one that isn't. It's not just that it has to look HGTV-worthy, but that it conveys livability and comfort -- creating pride of ownership before a home is even purchased. As a seller (or a seller's agent) this is the response you want: a buyer's sense that they can imagine living in your listing and their excitement over the prospect of doing just that.
The vast majority of home owners didn't purchase all of their furniture for one specific house, aiming to fit the style, color, and size just so. We often choose comfort and function over style when filling our homes. Our closets are overpacked, our pantries all amok, there are odds and ends on the countertops, stains on the mismatched throw pillows, toys strewn throughout. This is life.
As endearing and understandable as it may be, a prospective buyer wants to see themselves in your home and they want to see it in its full decorated potential. A select few can envision optimal conditions through the current state of things, but most cannot. Most won't even try. Most decide against a home within the first few seconds of entering it.
Both due to accessibility and necessity, more buyers have been viewing properties online. Now more than ever, it is important to have a visually stimulating listing. One representative for a growing staging company in Boise said they have experienced 60% growth in the past year and are busily working to keep up with demand. Also a factor in our area is the amount of newly-built homes hitting the market and being advertised in all their uninhabited glory. Buyers are seeing more and more prepped and staged homes and their standard is rising all the time.
Not to worry, though. The solution is quite simple. Stagers are well equipped with inventory that allows them to furnish the important rooms of your home with the appropriate items. They can choose fitting styles, sizes, colors, textures, and lighting to accentuate your home's top features. Twenty-three percent of agents say staging helped raise the dollar amount of the offers they received by 1-5%, and another 18% of agents reported a difference of 6-10%. Not only this, but staging can help reduce the time your home spends on the market and drive up activity and excitement. All of this translates to money in your pocket. Likely substantially more than it costs to have the home staged.
Talk to your agent about staging. There are many levels available, from using your existing household items and decluttering to having the entire house professionally furnished and decorated. Discuss what makes the most sense for your home and what will be most likely to give you an exciting return on your investment.
By Anne Gould
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