Some people claim home staging is about playing tricks on prospective home buyers. While we decorate a house to sell quickly and for more money this doesn’t mean we’re hiding flaws! If a home stager is operating with integrity they won’t plaster and paint over a problem, they’ll get it fixed first. But if they didn’t, or a home seller chose to hide a defect, a proper home inspection should find it.
In a perfectly logical world, the contents of a house shouldn’t effect the selling price, nor should easily-fixed problems like rusty mailboxes and worn welcome mats, poor paint color choices, ugly ceiling fixtures or badly arranged furniture. Home staging works because buyers shop with logic and buy on emotion.
I’ve had hundreds of clients say things like:
- “It’s so liberating getting rid of that junk.”
- “I never thought of putting the sofas there, the room looks twice as big.”
- “I fixed the leaky roof and never got around to fixing the drywall. It looks much better.”
- “My agent wants to rip out the bathroom, but with your simple changes, I actually love it!”
- “What a great idea making a craft room out of that tiny back bedroom!”
Sellers desperately need our help and objectivity, especially in today’s market.
While the necessary home staging improvements are generally obvious to anyone with the right natural talent for decorating, they aren’t obvious to our clients. That’s why they need our help! If you doubt this is the case, spend an hour on MLS and check out how awfully bad most homes are presented.
Could a buyer do all of what we do themselves after they’ve purchased that ugly house at a fast bargain?
Absolutely but only if they had the vision, the time and the inclination to do it themselves. Most busy working people don’t have this or they wouldn’t be living the way they do and wishing they had a new house!
This doesn’t mean home stagers use smoke and mirror tricks to get someone to buy a house that’s really falling apart under all the decorating!
We’re simply removing unpleasant distractions and helping buyers visualize the lifestyle that is possible in that home. Will this encourage them to pay more for it? Yes, because the more they want it the more they’re willing to pay for it.
People make choices based on how something looks, how it makes them feel and how they believe others will feel about them because of their choices.
If this were not the case there would be no cosmetics industry, beauty products, fashion or plastic surgery. Of course we’d all drive the same car, and that Cadillac commercial where Kate Walsh says, “It’s not the features. The question is when you turn it on, does your car return the favor?” would make no sense.
We would all live in identical houses, with uninteresting furniture, all walls would be painted white and there would be no such thing as landscaping. Staging aside, it would also be impossible for the same house 10 blocks away to be $100,000 more simply because it had a more “prestigious address.”
Clearly the way to make m0ney in real estate when you’re buying, is to find the ugliest house in the best location. The one that’s structurally sound but no one wants it because it’s ugly! That’s what I did when I was buying, decorating and flipping 6 of my own homes before I started staging for clients.
And the way to make money in real estate when you’re selling is to hire a home stager to make sure your property will be seen in its best light.
Supply and demand will always dictate the final selling price, so the more people want your house and the more it stands out positively from the competition, the more people will be willing to pay for it.
It’s as simple as that, but not necessarily easy to do!
If you’d like boost your home staging design confidence, check out the new Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide: Home Staging Tips, Tricks and Floor Plans. In it, I share before and after photos and detailed floor plans from actual staging projects to illustrate the staging design principles I teach in the guide.
Debra Gould, President Six Elements Inc.
Creator of The Staging Diva® Home Staging Training Program
Debra Gould’s mission is to inspire others to follow their dreams and use their innate talents to also earn a living. She has trained over 1000 women and men on five continents how to take their talent for decorating and turn it into a successful home staging business.