Friday, June 12, 2009

Is Home Staging Older than Shakespeare?

Frugal Home Staging - Toronto

Even if you’re not a fan of Shakespeare’s works, his words of wisdom have made their way into our common, everyday vernacular. Why? Because the Bard’s words prove true time and time again.

What does home staging have to do with Shakespeare? Well, the term “staging”, which refers to preparing a property for sale to maximize its appeal to buyers, was coined due to its parallelism with setting the stage of a theatre.

As Shakespeare wrote in ‘As You Like It’, “All the world’s a stage.” The same holds true for the house you’re trying to sell. And, just like the theatre stage, we are merely the players and we have our exits (sellers) and entrances (potential buyers). It’s a professional stager’s job to make sure the stage is set to encourage dialogue between the players.

Makes sense, but what else can the Bard teach us?

“Parting is such sweet sorrow” – Romeo and Juliet

Juliet’s famous line obviously was referring to her Romeo. However, our home is also something we love. It is very normal for homeowners to have a strong connection to the house they’ve turned into a home by personalizing the furniture, décor, and design. Detaching ourselves from our home can be a difficult process. Yet, it is also sweet because, often times, selling our home means we’re about to embark on another, new and exciting chapter of our lives. As well, for most people, a home is their largest asset and maximizing the return of that asset is very sweet.

Moral of the story: Detach yourself from your home and think of how you can create emotional connections for potential buyers.

"Delays have dangerous ends” – King Henry VI, Part II

When is the best time to stage a property? Regardless of which stager you’re talking to, you will hear the same thing come out of his/her mouth: BEFORE the property goes on MLS!

Occasionally, I hear a homeowner say, “We don’t have time right now to worry about staging, so we’ll list it first and see how it goes.” At first glance, that looks like a good way to go; however, as your realtor can tell you, the first 10 days on the market are crucial—, at open houses, and showings. As well, if you post photos online of your un-staged property, you are losing potential buyers from the onset and they’re gone for good. 78% of buyers look online FIRST before deciding which houses to go see—do you want to risk not being on that list?

Delaying staging can ultimately lose you a sale. Take the time before listing your home to properly get your house ready for market. If the thought of packing stuff away seems overwhelming, just remember that you’ll have to do it eventually when your house sell, so think of this as Step 1! Imagine how much easier your move will be at the end when you’re already half packed!

Moral of the story: Waiting to stage your home can cost you much more money than anything spent on staging. If you wait, it usually means that staging accompanies a price reduction. Why wait and leave money on the table? Squeeze as much equity out of your house as possible by being proactive and investing in the right changes to get a positive return on investment.

“Nothing can come of nothing” – King Lear

I sometimes hear clients protest with comments like, “I’ll just let the new owners make the changes they want.” or “Why do I need to stage anything for potential buyers? They’ll just imagine the house the way they want to.” Here are the problems with those statements:

Sure, potential buyers can always make the changes that need to be made to the property, but you can bet their offer will reflect these cost AND the time and effort to make these changes. If potential buyers are actually interested in making the changes (many aren’t though), they will likely go through the house making a list of “deductions” that will come right off their offer price.

Sure, potential buyers can visualize the property regardless of its current state…. If they’re part of the small percentage of the population that actually has the ability to do so (only about 15%).

Moral of the story: If you put nothing (staging, elbow grease, repairs, etc.) into your home before you sell it, don’t expect to get more from potential buyers. They’re looking for move-in ready homes that they can easily visualize themselves in the space. Help them do just that!

“Be not afraid of greatness” – Twelfth Night

And so we end our Shakespeare lesson with the most important lesson of all—do not be afraid of greatness when it comes to showing off and selling your property. Whether in a buyers’ market or sellers’ market, your house should always be ahead of the competition. In the case of a buyers’ market, staging your home will help it sell faster (about ½ the time of a comparable un-staged property) and for more money (about 6 – 10% more than a comparable un-staged property). In the case of a sellers’ market, staging your home will often lead to multiple bids!

Moral of the story: It is statistically proven that the time, effort, and investment that go into staging lead to faster sales and for more money. Why say no to greatness?

Christine LeLacheur is a Certified Staging Professional (CSP™) and has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). She continually augments her formal education by keeping on top of industry trends and keeping an ear to the ground to ensure she provides homeowners with ideas and layouts that appeal to an array of potential homebuyers.

Christine and her team are committed to making your house looks its best, optimize its value, and add to your pocketbook without leaving any equity on the table! Contact Christine today to learn more about how The Frugal Stager can help you sell your home!

No comments: