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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Do I Know When To Stage A Room?

Here in Halifax Nova Scotia the vast majority of listed properties have not been staged. Because 90% of buyers search the net prior to contacting a real estate agent, enticing online photos are a must. I get soooooo frustrated when I view mls listings because I know how much better these homes can present themselves if a professionally trained stager is brought in to help prepare each and every one. Sometimes it is pretty obvious that a home requires staging. One need not be a trained stager to know that the room above is in dire need of help. Left as is, buyers aren't going to give it a second thought but believe it or not I have seen online photos that market rooms in this state of affairs.

In most cases, to the untrained eye, a room such as the one just above will look 'ok' when in fact a professionally trained home stager knows how to bring it to another level. This room is the family living space which is open to the kitchen. It lacks sofa seating and the fantastic built-in bench is functioning mainly as a place to display accessories.

Warmed up by the brown and rust colour palette and with the addition of pillows to let buyers know that the built-in can act as extra seating, the room is not only more functional after staging but has a higher end feel than it did in its original state.Today's buyers are a generation or two younger than the average seller. Many homes in Halifax / Dartmouth/ Bedford and surrounding areas present as does this next property. Today's buyers don't want to purchase homes that remind them of their parents' or grand parents' homes. No, they want current flooring and light fixtures and rooms that are spacious and airy feeling. Don't you?

The highly determined 70 plus year old home owner who was desperate to sell her house heeded my every word. She purchased an up to date fixture (sorry it's not visible in the photo) and a smaller dining room set which she planned to use in her new home. After the consult I returned to showcase the property. With some rentals, some furniture rearranging, some accessories added and some taken away there was an accepted offer less than 3 weeks after the house was listed.
With it's dated light fixture and an oversized table that dwarfed the dining room, had the photo on the mls site been that of the room before staging do you think the viewing traffic would have been high? Rooms appear to grow in size when they house furniture that allows a space to open up. Professionally trained home stagers know how to enhance the size of any room. That was my goal when I staged the tiny den below. My clients were told by their agent that the services of a home stager were not needed-that the house showed well .In a panic to sell, after the house was on the market with no offers, I was hired. The agent was right in that the house was move -in ready but staging isn't only about move-in ready. Staging is also about opening up spaces. By removing a couple of pieces of furniture - voila- this small room appears to be much more spacious both online and in person. The entry way ( below) was also made more spacious when furniture was removed. And much to the delight of my clients, they had an accepted offer 4 days after the staging took place.

I've seen countless rooms online that resemble the rooms I've presented in their 'before' states. They're 'o.k.' but 'o.k.' is NOT good enough for me. Is 'o.k.' good enough for you?

So the question is ....How Do I Know When To Stage A Room?

It's really hard for the untrained eye to see what a professionally trained stager can see. My advice ....hire an expert in the field to ensure that your home is not just 'o.k' ensure that it catches the attention of every potential buyer in your target market and keeps them wanting more once they enter the front door.

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