The why of staging
Continuing our discussion….How staging has gone from being a fashionable afterthought reserved only for the most elite homes to something that’s now considered integral to the successful sale of any home.
And why, if it’s been awhile since you’ve experienced the real estate market from a Seller’s perspective, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to re-familiarize yourself with the essentials of staging as you’re beginning to get your own staging ducks in order.
Suffice to say: Prepping and staging a house is harder than it looks and it takes longer than you think. And it’s way more involved than what any quick-flip reality tv show leads you to believe.
This is Santa Cruz CA where the median price is hovering over $1 million and the stakes are much higher. It takes months to declutter and divest yourself of thirty years of accumulated stuff. And it’s not really as easy as running around town scavenging for the right assortment of cheap throw-rugs and Pier 1 kitsch- pieces. And it certainly isn’t as simple as hiring a Mulch-Master Truck to blanket everything in your front yard with a six inch layer of gorilla-hair!.
Good staging doesn’t get done in a day. And we aren’t going to get to it all in today’s column but here are two takeaways:
First: Think of “staging” as the umbrella term for every possible thing you can do in advance to give your home the best chance to succeed when it hits the market. Once you’re on, there’s no turning back. Things move at hyper-speed and no home gets a second chance to make a first impression after it’s on the MLS, except by way of a hefty price reduction.
Second : The best staging works on two different levels: Initially, staging offers visual enticement for the rush of online lookers (virtual drive-bys) that happens in the first few hours/days of any listing. It’s an HGTV World out there and If a home doesn’t capture someone’s attention in those first crucial moments after it is downloaded, Buyers will simply move on to the next house.
And then, for those real Buyers who do actually visit a property in the flesh, great staging is what connects them to the true nature of the house. It helps them engage in a visceral, feeling kind of way. And emotions are why people write offers on houses.
When a house is vacant it presents too much of a blank slate for Buyers. When it is full of a Seller’s personal belongings, it doesn’t allow would-be Buyers room to imagine their own lives in the space. And if Buyers have trouble imagining themselves in a house, they aren’t going to buy it.