Top Reasons to Hire a Professional Home Stager.
One of the most important steps in downsizing for seniors and boomers is the ability to sell their existing property – at the highest profit possible – to help fund their retirement years.
While most homeowners know it’s important to declutter their home and keep it clean during its time on the market, some may not realize the benefits of another home-selling strategy: home staging.
Home staging is the process of preparing a home for sale in the real estate marketplace with the goal of making it appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. Home staging can involve everything from arranging furniture and belongings in a specific way to enhancing curb appeal to attract the attention of potential buyers.
According to the National Association of Realtors®, 49 percent of realtors surveyed said they believe home staging has a positive effect on a buyer’s view of a property. Of those Realtors® strictly representing buyers, 81 percent said home staging helped their clients to visualize the property as a future home.
There are other reasons to stage your home during the selling process. Let’s discuss a few of the highlights.
Finding a Home-Staging Professional
As with many other components of the downsizing process, consulting a professional home stager is the best way to maximize your results.
Most real estate professionals are able to recommend reputable home stagers to their clients. So if you are considering using one, consult with your real estate agent. Real estate companies that use home stagers have pre-screened them for both competency and dependability, so clients can feel secure in anyone who has been recommended by their real estate agent. It is important to note that it is best not to show your home to a real estate agent for listing purposes until after the home is staged. Home staging, when done correctly, can significantly increase the value of your property, which is one of the first things a real estate agent will determine before listing it on the market.
If your real estate agent is unable to recommend someone, consider using a service like Angie’s List to help locate a reputable home stager.
The cost of hiring a professional home stager can vary by location. Prices can start as low as $100 for a consultation, to upwards of $6,000 for a whole-home staging. Some stagers may charge clients a flat fee, while others charge by the hour. For those on a budget, staging a few key areas – rather than the entire home – may be an option. Be sure to discuss your needs with a home stager prior to entering into a contract for services.
The Benefits of Home Staging
The biggest benefit to staging your home for the market is the return on investment it brings. The National Association of Realtors® estimates that buyers are willing to provide an offer that is 1 to 5 percent higher for homes that have been staged versus their unstaged counterparts.
Other data indicates that non-staged homes spend more time on the market – an average of 90 days more than their staged counterparts. The average amount of time a staged home spends on the market is 11 days. A 2013 study from the Real Estate Staging Association examined 170 staged properties valued between $300,000 and $499,000. The study determined that properties that had been staged sold in 22 days, versus the average 125 days comparably-priced, unstaged homes spent on the market.
Staging a home can be particularly beneficial for homes that already are vacant. While it is true that buyers can have a hard time envisioning themselves making a home in a space that is decorated to someone else’s taste, buyers also may find it incredibly difficult to envision an empty space as their future home. Some well-placed furniture and tasteful works of art can be enough to engage a buyer who may be on the fence about whether a property is right for them.
Bathrooms and living rooms are the most frequently-used rooms in a home. If budget is a concern for you, focus on these areas first when staging your home.
For the bathroom, a deep cleaning is a must in any staging. Especially pay close attention to things like mold in the shower or around other surfaces where water or steam frequently comes into contact with surfaces. Replace any improperly-working light fixtures and consider installing 100-watt bulbs in all fixtures to help brighten the room. Replace any outdated or worn out rugs and towels and consider a fresh coat of paint.
Living rooms also are another selling point. Worn, outdated carpeting should be replaced. If your home has hardwood flooring, consider refinishing it and adding an area rug. Furniture should be arranged to not only make the room feel inviting but to also highlight the spaciousness of the room. If your home has a fireplace, make sure it’s an asset and not a detriment to your selling factor. Replace the fireplace screen and make sure it has been cleaned thoroughly of any old debris or grime.
However, don’t forget about curb appeal. If your home doesn’t look well-kept and inviting from the outside, prospective buyers are unlikely to even get out of their cars and come inside for a closer look. Exterior areas that can be staged include:
- Lawn and all exterior landscaping – mowing, neatly edging and trimming back any overgrown plants are key to creating a desirable exterior. Adding fresh mulch and planting seasonal flowers also is a good idea. and consider a fresh – and bright – paint color for your front door.
- Sidewalks and driveways – make sure paved driveways and walkways are not riddled with holes or cracks. Not only does this make your home unsafe for prospective buyers, it also makes it undesirable.
- Front door – adding a little pizzazz to your front door is a great way to draw attention to your home. If your home is a neutral color, consider painting the door a bright color to help it stand out; however, the color should still coordinate with the rest of the home’s exterior color scheme. If your home has shutters, painting them the same color as the front door can help pull it all together.
Want to learn more about home staging and other valuable tips for downsizing? Consider attending an Upside of Downsizing conference. Information on our next conference is available here.