|I’ve been reading articles lately suggesting home stagers set out to deceive prospective home buyers. While our goal is to decorate a house to sell quickly and for top dollar this doesn’t mean we’re hiding the home’s flaws.
No matter how beautiful a house looks, I always recommend buyers get a proper home inspection to make sure they know about any potentially expensive problems. If a home stager is operating with integrity they won’t plaster and paint over a problem, they’ll get it fixed first. But if they didn’t, or a home seller chose to hide a defect, a proper home inspection should find it.
I staged this master bedroom by putting in proper furniture, lighting and bedding. Yes it’s the same room and it looks much better, but why did the house sell faster and at a higher price?
After all, when you buy a house, usually you aren’t buying the contents in it.
Home staging works because buyers shop with logic and buy on emotion.
Because most people don’t have the ability to look past ugly, disorganized, empty or crowded rooms, they miss out on seeing the real potential of a house when they’re out shopping for a new one. That’s where home stagers come in. We re-decorate what is there.
This might mean replacing some or all of the furniture with new items, we might repaint with a more pleasing color, add flowers and art. We might remove ugly ceiling fixtures and use new ones instead. Or attend to all the fix-it projects around the house that the owner never got around to. Often we’re removing all the clutter and extra furniture that gets in the way of actually seeing the house.
I’ve had hundreds of clients say things like:
- “I never would have thought of putting the bed on that wall. The room looks so much bigger now.”
- “I fixed that leak in the roof 5 years ago but I never got around to plastering and repainting the wall. You’re right it looks much better now.”
- “I thought we had to rip out the whole bathroom, but now that you’ve repainted it, used different cabinet hardware and replaced the towels and shower curtain, I actually love it!”
- “You’re right, I don’t know why I’ve been keeping that ugly couch in case my son wants it when he goes to university in 10 years.”
- “I feel so liberated now that you’ve taken that 6,000 pounds of junk out of my house.”
- “What a great idea turning that tiny room that I only used for storage into a craft room.”
These are the kinds of things a stager does to help the home seller prepare their house to sell quickly and for more money. Could a buyer do all that themselves once they moved in? Absolutely but only if they had the vision, the time and the inclination to do it themselves. Most busy working people don’t have this or they wouldn’t be living the way they do and wishing they had a new house!
This doesn’t mean home stagers use smoke and mirror tricks to get someone to buy a house that’s really falling apart under all the decorating!
We’re simply removing unpleasant distractions and helping buyers visualize the lifestyle that is possible in that home. Will this encourage them to pay more for it? Yes, because the more they want it the more they’re willing to pay for it.
Humans make choices based on how something looks, how it makes them feel and how they believe others will feel about them because of their choices.
If this were not the case we’d all roll out of bed and head off to work in our pajamas. There would be no cosmetics industry, beauty products, fashion or plastic surgery. Of course we’d all drive the same car, and that Cadillac commerical that says, “It’s not the features. The question is when you turn it on, does your car return the favor?” would make no sense.
We would all live in identical houses, with uninteresting furniture, all walls would be painted white and there would be no such thing as landscaping. Staging aside, it would also be impossible for the same house 10 blocks away to be $100,000 more simply because it had a more “prestigious address.”
Clearly the way to make money in real estate when you’re buying, is to find the ugliest house in the best location. The one that’s structurally sound but no one wants it because it’s ugly! That’s what I did when I was buying, decorating and flipping 6 of my own homes before I started staging for clients.
And the way to make money in real estate when you’re selling is to hire a home stager to make sure your property will be seen in its best light. Supply and demand will always dicate the final selling price, so the more people want your house and the more it stands out postively from the competition, the more people will be willing to pay for it.
It’s as simple as that, but not necessarily easy to do!
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Home Staging expert Debra Gould also known as The Staging Diva is president of Six Elements Inc., an internationally recognized home staging company that is frequently profiled in the media in both the US and Canada. Debra developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program to teach others how to succeed in their home staging, real estate staging businesses. She is the author of several guides and is the founder of the Directory of Home Stagers which helps homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers to decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar.
[tags]home stager, home staging, real estate, staging business, staging training, staging, Staging Diva, Debra Gould[/tags]