Working with the right real estate agent is important when it is time to sell. They are the experts who know your market inside out, someone who can point you in the right direction when it comes to marketing and showcasing your property.
And when it comes to marketing and merchandising a home for sale, home staging is one of the tools they employ to achieve great results. Its popularity and proven success, home staging has become a MUST when it is time to sell.
Here common mistakes some real estate agents and homeowners are guilty of that can put staging into waste.
1. CHOOSING A STAGING COMPANY BASED ON PRICE
Being ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ is a costly mistake. Basing it on price alone can jeopardize the full potential of your property and you can end up in an expensive mess. Showcasing your property to its best possible light is an investment that can give you a greater chance of a better ROI. For optimal results, invest in the highest quality stager you can find. Look at the company’s portfolio, credentials, professionalism, and track record.
2. NOT USING THE STAGED PHOTOS
Believe it or not, some agents and homeowners will go to great lengths to staging a property and not use the property’s photos after it was staged because the agent is too busy or have forgotten to upload them. A great online listing photo is what motivates potential buyers to actually see the house. If they don’t like what they see online, buyers will click on to the next on-line listing.
3. MOVING THINGS AROUND AFTER THE SETUP
Stagers are trained to make the best of the spaces given to them. Once the house is staged and ‘showing ready’, moving things around or repositioning furniture pieces in the room can ruin the whole feel of the space. Each furniture piece, decor, artwork, etc. are placed in strategic spots for a reason.
4. NOT TRUSTING THE STAGER
This is important, otherwise, the next days or weeks of the staging process can be stressful for all and can lead to headaches and more stress. You can avoid this by doing your assignment before signing up with a staging company. Check and review client testimonials before working with a staging company, see what other agents or previous clients say about them. See if they’ve done similar properties at the same price points. Ask a lot of questions before agreeing to anything. Otherwise, it may lead to
5. MICROMANAGING THE STAGER
Every stager’s goal is to showcase the property at its best. However, lack of confidence with your stager can hamper creative juices which can ruin and delay the plan of action for the property. You will never appreciate the full impact of staging until every piece is placed and set up. Leave the property during set up and let the stagers do what they do best, then come back once everything is set up. Staging is not about you, it’s all about your buyers.
6. UNREALISTIC TIMELINES
Getting a house ready for sale is not a simple process, it can be as short as five days, but can also last for months depending on the situation and condition of the property. Rushing everything and poor time management can lead to a disastrous result. Stagers cannot just magically make everything look beautiful in a flick of a finger. Staging involves a number of things to make sure the house is showing ready, and executing all these plans won’t happen in 24 hours.
7. YOUR CONCEPT OF STAGING IS DECLUTTERING & ORGANIZING
While it is true that staging and showcasing a home for sale involves cleaning, decluttering and organizing, home staging goes far more than that. It also involves space planning, proper furniture placement, proper lighting, knowledge on the current design trends, accessorizing, knowledge of the current real estate market condition, knowing your target buyers and more! It is clearly not just cleaning and organizing.
8. TAKING THE ‘DIY’ ROUTE
Although some homeowners can pull off the staging themselves, a vast majority cannot. And going this route can be waste of time, money and effort. This is not the time to practice and test your decorating abilities. Leave it to the professionals. Most homeowners that staged their own homes always turn into a disaster (even after a detailed staging consultation) because of the poor execution or simply because they lack the vision and the skill of a trained and experienced stager.
9. OVERPRICING THE PROPERTY
It is true that staging can increase the perceived value of a property. We have seen tremendous success over the years with some projects selling up to more than $500,000 over asking price. However, overpricing the house on the merit of staging alone is not a smart move in my opinion. The ‘magic’ happens when the house is priced correctly, staged beautifully, marketed properly, and listed at the right time.
10. AGENTS ADVISING THE HOMEOWNERS NOT TO STAGE THE HOUSE
Telling homeowners to sell the property as is or advising them to sell it vacant is a big mistake. Nowadays, buyers are more critical, knowledgeable, and are expecting to see a beautiful move in ready home for them. They want a better house than what they have, a better set up, a better lifestyle, better in all aspect. All this is not possible if you are showing a house with ran-down furniture pieces and decor, a messy space, or a confusing vacant space that they have no idea what to use for.
Big thanks to my fellow stager Heather Cook of Rooms in Bloom for the original article. This topic is so relevant and important that I thought of putting my take on it.
Red Barrinuevo is a Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist and Principal Designer of Redesing4More Inc., servicing Toronto & the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling, and design services.