Home Staging Explained

beforeafterThe International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®) recently released new statistics showing that homes Staged by Accredited Staging Professionals® (ASP®) and Accredited Staging Professional Masters® (ASPM®) sell within 23 days. Homes for sale in a non-staged condition nationally average 130 days on the market. When comparing ASP®/ASPM® Staged homes to non-Staged homes listed for sale, the homes that are Staged sell on average 83% faster.

Barb Schwartz is the founder and CEO of Staged Homes and also president and founder of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. She says there are two primary benefits to staging your home– one is financial and the other is emotional. From a financial perspective, staged homes sell faster for more money than those that aren’t staged.  From the emotional side, clients are more relaxed and focused on the other important aspects of moving vs. being totally focused or frustrated on the sale of their existing property. Barb sat down with real estate search giant Zillow a few years back to explain more about staging.

What goes into staging a home?

There are several steps to staging a home.  I have an easy way to remember them by calling them the 7 C’s of Staging:

  • Clean — Q-tip clean!  You cannot have your house too clean!
  • Clutter-Free — You are not selling your things — you are selling your house!
  • Color — Make sure you use colors that sell the space.
  • Compromise — Invest your money as a home seller where it will produce its greatest return.
  • Creativity — Creativity in staging is all about using — and in some cases — rearranging the materials that are already in or around the home to create a totally new and welcoming “feel” within the house.
  • Commitment — The home owner really has to be committed to staging the home completely and also staying on top of the staging as they live their daily lives.
  • Communicate — Potential buyers experience the staged home as spacious, open, warm, clean, fresh, pleasant and inviting.  That’s the message that staging conveys.  Buyers not only see the house as a place they could live in, they see it as a place they want to live in.

What does it usually cost?

In comparison to the potential return on investment, ASP Home Staging is incredibly inexpensive.  One of my favorite quotes is “As a simple rule of thumb, the investment in staging your home will always be less than the first price reduction on your home.”

The cost for a consult or staging plan for the do-it-yourselfer normally ranges from $350 to $550, depending on how much work is involved in putting the plan together.

When the home owner decides to have the stager provide the service, the fees can range from $1,000 (or sometimes less) to as high as $10,000.  On average we see a range much more modest than that. We’re seeing a range of $1,000 to $5,000 with the average around $2,300, depending upon the area of the country that you live in.

What are the biggest misperceptions about home staging?

  • Staging is lighting some candles and putting a pie in the oven
  • I’ve watched some home fix-up TV shows and I can do this myself
  • Staging is expensive
  • Staging is about renting a lot of high-end furniture and filling the house with accessories
  • Staging requires remodeling
  • Staging is about covering up the weaknesses of a property for sale
  • Staging is “fooling” the buyer into paying more money for the property than they should

Here’s the reality:

  • First of all, never light candles during a showing; it’s a risk and a hazard to have open flames with a lot of people on the property that you or your agent can’t watch all at once.  Secondly, you never know who is going to be viewing your property and many potential home buyers come from different ethnic backgrounds and have different tastes in food or aromas so putting a scent in the air is a risk of offending or turning off a potential buyer.
  • ASP’s have training and are accredited.  Secondly, they have experience as they will have staged more homes than an average consumer and they will know what works to sell homes and what doesn’t in a market.  And lastly, they have a neutral perspective; it is very difficult for most people to treat their home as a product and to remove the emotional ties they have to the personal things in their own home.
  • Staging is not expensive; in fact it’s probably that smartest investment a home owner can make to maximize the value of their property at the time of sale.  Staging is not about spending money but about using what you have to make the most of your space.
  • Staging does not require lots of expensive furniture; in fact good stagers will limit the amount of furniture to keep the space open.
    Staging is NOT remodeling!  Staging is using your things and your space in the most creative way possible without spending a lot of money.
  • Staging does NOT cover up weaknesses in a property, in fact if anything it shows what is there.  The de-cluttering and removal of any visual obstructions will help potential buyers and home inspectors more accurately assess the property.
  • Staging is about creating the most interest in the home by presenting it in its best possible light.  This creates more offers on the home which can raise the sale price and may reduce the time on market.  No one is “fooled” into anything since the home is clear, clean, open and easy to access.

You can also read the full interview with Barb on Zillow at http://www.zillowblog.com/pro/2006-12-21/home-staging-qa-with-ceo-of-stagedhomescom/.

Posted in Home Ownership.

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