Selling your home is a stressful time. You have to pack all of your belongings, keep your home in a presentable enough condition for multiple (possibly unscheduled) showings, and find a new place to live – which can be stressful enough in itself. Depending on whether you live in a buyer’s or a seller’s market, you may not have to work too hard to sell your home. But if you want to have a leg up on the competition, staging your home can give you a real advantage over all of the other properties on the market.
Staging Can Mean Less Time on Market
It’s no secret that staged homes sell quicker than unstaged homes. While the jury’s out on whether or not it affects the home’s final sale price, staging certainly has the potential to attract more prospective buyers to the property, as well as entice them to spend a longer period of time inside the home. And if the home is on the market for a shorter period of time, that’s less money out of your pocket that you’d otherwise spend to maintain the listing.
The Psyche Behind Staging
Staging isn’t just about making a house look nice. That’s certainly part of it, but there’s a psychological aspect to it as well. Connie Williamson, owner of Serenity Redesign in Edmonton, Alberta, says that at its heart, home staging is about giving buyers the freedom to imagine themselves living in that space.
“Really, it’s about removing ‘you’ from the home and just giving a nice, clean, blank palette where buyers can envision their own family and possessions inside the home,” she says.
Staging Secrets for the Spring Market
Statistically speaking, spring is the busiest time in the housing market. Sellers list because they know buyers will be out in droves, and buyers are ready with their deposits in hand because they know sellers will be eager to put their properties on the market. It’s a bit of a ‘chicken or the egg?’ scenario, but the result is the same: homes listed in spring sell faster than other times of year. In many parts of the country, however, the early spring months look – and feel – much like winter: cold, barren, and uninviting. Regardless, there are ways to combat the elements and make the most out of the early spring selling season:
1 – Use natural light
Although the temperatures may still be brisk, the sunlight is different than it is in the winter months, and has warming capabilities. Keep blinds and curtains open to let that light into as much of your house as possible.
2 – Declutter
After you’ve finished decluttering, look around and remove even more items. Be ruthless, and don’t assume that potential buyers will be able to look past all of your personal items and see the house itself. Many won’t be able to do this, and will instead focus on the items in the room, including the furniture, the art on the walls (or lack thereof), and the decorations on surfaces.
3 – Heave-ho
Remove heavier furniture items from rooms. Dark, substantial pieces may be beautiful, but they can weigh down a space and absorb light. Instead, try bringing in pieces that are lighter, both in colour and weight. One suggestion is using glass, which allows light to spread through furniture, and reflect light throughout a space.
4 – Don’t be afraid of colour and texture
Replace heavier wool and tweed fabrics with softer, lighter textures. Softer, spring-like colours can give your décor a facelift and make a room feel more cheerful.
If you’re selling your home, you might want to do some kind of home staging without hiring a professional and save yourself some cash. It’s possible, but difficult, especially if you’ve been in the house for a long period of time.
Drop the Emotional Baggage
“For the homeowners, sometimes it’s really hard for them to see past their own stuff,” Williamson says, adding that we forget the little things that have been there for so long that they aren’t even noticed anymore. The buyer, however, sees them right away. “They see absolutely everything because really, what they’re trying to do is look for the house. So really, if they can’t see the house, then they obviously are looking at everything else in the house. . . . They remember things that are on the counters or in the cupboards or on bookshelves or whatever and they forget about the house itself.”
A Changing Expectation
Williamson has been in business since 2002, and says that there’s been a “huge difference” between then and now in the landscape and expectation for home staging. Today, she says, probably 90 per cent of the houses that come on the market are staged in some sense, anywhere from realtors giving advice or homeowners doing some research on the subject and trying it on their own.
“The industry in itself has changed as well in the last 15 years. Before, I found that it was more just cleaning and decluttering a little bit. Not a lot, but just enough. The cleaning aspect was a big thing, I felt more like a cleaner than a stager. Now, people are starting to really understand that it’s actually, physically, moving your stuff out of the house.”
There’s a lot of information available about staging and the psychology of it, so anyone can employ tips and tricks in order to follow the basic principles as home staging. And although there may be the odd home seller who doesn’t believe in home staging or see the value in it, more and more sellers have caught on that they need to do whatever it takes to get as many people as possible into their property.
“People are starting to understand that their home being an investment is that, and they have to invest in the investment in order to get top dollar out, Williamson says. “Staging is one of the most important elements.”