To stage a house or not to stage, that is the question

(Last Updated On: September 16, 2013)

By Dorothy Mitchell, guest columnist

Dorothy

Dorothy Mitchell, George Johnson Development

What is staging?  The American dictionary definition is to exhibit, present and arrange.  A   trained certified home marketing specialist defines it as the process of preparing a house to be marketed to prospective buyers to increase the chances for top dollar offers and optimum net proceeds for the seller and a dream home for the buyer.There is an art to selling everything, from clothing to cars to homes. A product must be presented to the consumer in a way that appeals to their needs and tastes.

We change hats and emotions and we see things differently depending on what role we are playing in the process. Buyers buy a home, sellers sell a house.  Once an individual decides to sell his home it becomes a house to them, which is the first step to the separation process, let me explain that statement.

As the years go by living in your home becomes a part of you full of memories and stuffed with keepsakes.  This home has offered comfort and protection for you and your family and you may think that everyone will love it for the same reasons you do.

No longer do you see the dull paint, tiny fingerprints, outdated light fixtures or just the simple fact that the home was built in the early 80s and is now competing against homes being built in 2012.

As a seller you will need a Realtor who knows how to get your home sold today.

In 2011, the average home for sale stayed on the market for approximately six months. Staging is the number one marketing tool that can impact the length of time a home remains on the market.

Staging 101

Set a budget – Set aside funds for repairs, house cleaning upgrades and external storage to remove unnecessary items from home, if needed. Less is more with staging.

De clutter – Walk the home and decide what you need and don’t need. I emphasize “need” because “wants” will come into play later. Label items to keep, give away or trash and make sure to dispose of trash immediately. You will need boxes to start packing out-of-season clothing, personal items pictures, awards, etc.  You may want to allocate money for monthly storage for items that you want to keep that will not be used as a part of the staging process.

Curb appeal – Invest in basic landscaping of yard and flower beds. The front of home is the first impression which impacts whether a potential buyer will come in or just drive by.  Work with what you have and update areas of the home, as needed. Changing something as simple as a light fixture and updating address numbers are low cost ways that can change the look of home.  Adding flower pots, a swing on the front porch and other accents are valuable enhancements.

Deodorize/neutralize – The nose is very powerful.  Buyers don’t want to smell the odor of pets or the age of the home. When selecting a deodorizer, select scents that are light and fresh to accommodate for potential buyers with allergies.

Staging:  Positioning or preparing a property to appeal to the psychological needs of buyers by creating a flow throughout the home.

Staging is not decorating; it’s opening the space to appeal to anyone’s taste. Below is a chart I use to stage each room showing my goals for each room.

Area of Home                                     Message It Should Convey                                      

Curb Appeal                                              Neat well manicured

Entry                                                           Inviting

Kitchen                                                       Organized, good work area, heart of the home

Bathrooms                                                 Clean, functional, relaxing spa atmosphere

Bedroom                                                    Peaceful, relaxing, private

Living/Family Rooms                             Family-oriented, leisure, entertaining

Dining Room                                            Family, nourishment, elegant

Backyard Deck Patio                               Fun, casual, relaxing

Staging should be done before a home is put on the market. Newly listed homes garner more traffic from potential homebuyers than homes that have been on the market for longer periods of time, so be prepared to showcase your home’s appeal on day one.

Dorothy Mitchell CHMS, ALHS,GRI,

George E. Johnson Properties

 12401 S. Post Oak Rd. #100