Most realtors, stagers and home sellers will attest that staged homes sell faster and for a higher price than their un-staged counterparts. Surprisingly, there hasn’t been a ton of research on the subject, so to put some credence to these claims, Realtor.com did their own. They found that staged homes actually sold 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more. There are some clear reasons for this, and in turn, some strategic home-staging tips to improve your outcome on the resale market.
Why does home staging work? There’s no magic behind the process, although sometimes the results are nothing short of miraculous. Contrary to popular belief, a well-staged home shouldn’t look like an untouched art gallery or the unattainable images you see on the pages of an architectural magazine. Home staging is about showcasing (and selling!) a lifestyle. It’s about identifying your target homebuyers and appealing to them by illustrating the function, style and possibilities that await them. It’s about evoking that special feeling on entry, and in every room thereafter. Here’s what to do with yours.
ADD SOME EYE-CATCHING RUGS
This is quite literally your first step in home staging, from the ground up. An area rug will instantly warm up the room and inspire its colour palette. A great rug can also act as a focal point, highlighting key areas where you’d like to draw attention. It’s also worth mentioning that area rugs occupy visual space, so they’re a great way to furnish a room without filling it to the brim, which can make the space feel cramped and cluttered.
FILL AWKWARD SPACES
Every home has some awkward spaces that you just aren’t sure what to do with. So, they sit empty and wasted. Give purpose to those bare walls and corners by creating vignettes. A fireplace centred on a wall is an easy thing to work around, but one that’s thrown off to the side of an open-concept dining area–slash–kitchen poses a challenge. Adding a couple of small chairs and a rug instantly defines the area visually, while enhancing it functionally. Double win! You can use small-scale furnishings, like a pour or a stool to fill these spaces without creating clutter.
DITCH THE TV
A room that lacks the big black box instantly looks more polished, but I still like to indicate to potential buyers where they could mount a TV (especially in condos) with an art piece as a TV replacement on top of a media credenza – show them an option. Little things like this make a significant impact if you want to get the best offer for your home.
GIVE TIRED LOOKING ROOMS A FACELIFT
If you’re looking for a low-cost, high-impact update before listing your home, paint is it. Painting is a quick and easy way to freshen up a home, making it appear newer, cleaner and totally on-trend. Those handy with a paintbrush can tackle this DIY project on a weekend. If you’re not, consider investing in professional painting services. It’s very likely that you’ll recoup this cost at the offer table, and then some!
RE-THINK YOUR FENCE
In addition to greener grass and some potted flowers, you can update your fence and bring it back to life by cutting off the curved dog-eared tops and adding a cap around the edge. Then paint (or stain paint) it to coordinate with the rest of your exterior. It’s a complete transformation without having to go through the cost of replacing a very large fence.
KICK EVERYONE OUT (FOR NOW)
Living in a staged home is a big challenge, move out if you have the means. This also gives you the opportunity to change the kids’ bedrooms into guest rooms, which is ultimately less distracting to buyers who don’t have young ones living at home.
HIDE YOU VACATION PHOTOS
Staging a home is about selling a lifestyle – which is difficult to do when prospective buyers see your stuff. Removing family photos, kids’ toys and other personal items will help those buyers envision themselves – and their own stuff – in their place. And take it from me, if they start talking about where to arrange their collection of favourite books and framed photos, the home is almost as good as sold.
Staging your home is more than just trendy furnishings. It’s about showing potential buyers where they can enjoy their Sunday morning coffee with a croissant; highlighting that secret spot that makes for a reading nook; setting the stage for boisterous family dinners and cozy evenings around the fireplace – with pillows and blankets and all. A staged home shouldn’t look empty and untouched, quite the opposite in fact. Staging is meant to hint at the life that could be, and when buyers can see the possibilities that await, many are willing to pay more to make your listing their home.
Toronto-based stager Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market Series and the Principal Designer at Redesign4more. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate staging this year by RESA Global. His firm is known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through its creative home staging, interior decorating, and design services. www.redesign4more.com