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Setting The Stage

Posted by Sherry Rioux on July 28, 2007

The idea of staging a home for sale is a relatively new concept that is becoming increasingly popular.  Generally speaking, the idea of staging a home is to present the home in its best possible light by highlighting its strengths and minimizing its weaknesses.  The goal is to help the Seller to sell their home for the highest possible price in the shortest period of time.

At first, I was resistant to the idea of potentially spending thousands of dollars to hire a stager with no guarantee of an appropriate return however, experience is now teaching me otherwise.  There is no question that home buyers are affected by what they first see.  Choosing a home to live in is both a rational and an emotional decision and it is the latter most affected by staging.

While some potential home buyers can easily look past clutter, smells and poor taste to see potential, the truth is that most cannot.  Imagine two homes with the same square footage, built by the same builder at the same time in the same neighbourhood.  As you approach one house, weeds have taken over the garden, the front door is dirty, the windows are grimy and the door knob sticks.  Inside, the smell of wet dog assaults your senses as you look around to see laundry on the couch, a dirty fish tank on top of the fridge, purple carpet in the living room and a torn Lazy-Boy recliner fighting for space with the CD rack, dining table and kids toys.  The bathroom has old blue fixtures, blackened caulking, mosaic tile floors and dirty towels on the floor.  Down in the basement, you can’t move because of the boxes, tools, empty laundry detergent bottles and the cat litter boxes.  Does this feel like home?

Imagine the same house with tidy gardens, a freshly painted front door and shiny hardware to match the gleaming windows.  You come in to the scent of a roast in the oven cooking in the spotless kitchen.  The living room features hardwood floors, minimal but tasteful furnishings and neutral walls devoid of family photos.  The bathroom has newer fixtures, the grout is lily white and fresh towels have been laid out.  The beds are made, closets are organized and even the basement is in perfect order.

Which house do you think will sell first and for more money?  Do you think that the second house might sell for at least the $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 more that the second homeowner may have spent employing a stager?  You bet it will.  In the last year, every staged home in our market that I’ve seen has sold quickly and has netted a sale price at least five to ten times the original investment the owners made in hiring a home stager.  There was also an interesting survey done several years ago that suggests this is true in most markets.  From this Realtors® viewpoint, it’s an investment well worth making.

For some general tips on preparing your home for sale, click here.

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