I recently had the opportunity to list a home in the popular Midway Woods neighborhood of Decatur, Georgia, a place with a big-city vibe and small-town charm. This home is special because, while it is on the smaller side, (1155 sq ft) it has been beautifully maintained and lovingly cared for by the sellers during their 14-year ownership. All systems are updated, interior and exterior are clean and bright, and the sellers added a fabulous screened porch across the back of the home a few years ago, creating a perfect escape for city-loving buyers!
Since the home is on the smaller side and would be vacant at the time of listing, we decided to Stage it so that prospective buyers could easily imagine how furnishings could work in that space. But more importantly, we wanted to create a fun vibe in the home, one that would reflect the character of the city of Decatur and bring joy to buyers as they tour the home. We wanted to show the home’s potential. An empty space does not always create the best atmosphere. We are marketing the home, so we needed to “merchandise” it!
What is Home Staging?
Home Staging is the art of creating an atmosphere that will appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers in a market. It is furnishing and decorating a home in a style that buyers will fall in love with the moment they enter the door and continue that feeling through the end of their tour. A good home Stager will highlight a home’s unique features and optimize them for “best-life” living.
Home Stagers offer current designs and color trends and provide neutral palettes to appeal to the largest range of buyers. Stagers highlight the strengths of the home while minimizing the flaws or drawbacks. A Staged home will be easy to walk through, it will be simple and clean-looking, and have a fun flair to catch the imagination of the buyers. Staging a home presents the home in its very best condition, which today’s buyers see as a top priority.
“Staging can transform blank walls and floors into a warm and welcoming home that buyers can relate to. The right Staging can inspire buyers to realize just how valuable your home really is, and see the potential of their life in that home unfolding with every room they explore.”-National Association of REALTORS®
How does Home Staging affect a buyer’s experience?
When a home is thoughtfully Staged, buyers can more easily imagine living in that home, rather than walking through an empty space, struggling to picture it filled with furnishings. They can visualize the possibility of the lifestyle they are seeking. Boxy rooms become a flowing floorpan when a home is Staged well. Many buyers are overwhelmed when faced with creating a new home environment initially, but Staging can help bypass that obstacle and offers a suggestion and a direction on how buyers can best use the new space.
Effective Staging can help buyers realize just how valuable a home really is and can help them see all the potential that the home has to offer. It becomes easier for buyers to imagine that property as their future home.
How does Home Staging benefit the seller?
Staging a home with on-trend furnishings and decor helps the seller’s home stand apart from the competition. A Staged home can be more memorable. Homes that are Staged get more showings, and they spend fewer days on the market. Price reductions become necessary the longer a home stays on the market. Staging the home is always a lower cost that a 1% price reduction, the amount usually reduced for every 30 days on the market.
A Staged home photographs beautifully and gets buyers excited before they even walk in the door. Sellers will naturally feel confident about their home listing, because home Staging is a type of merchandising. After all, a home for sale is a “product” that needs to be “marketed”! De-personalizing the home is important. Sellers need to remember that they are not selling their lifestyle in that home, they are selling the buyer’s future lifestyle in that home. It is important to create a clean slate where any buyer can insert themselves and their lives. Staging can make this easier.
What is the cost of Staging a home?
The cost of Staging a home varies by the number of rooms, materials used, and by the resource (Stager). In an empty home, a professional Stager will furnish main rooms of the home, most commonly, living room/dining room/bedroom with accessories in baths & kitchen. This basic service can start around $1900. Furnishings of rooms include sofas, chairs, end tables, beds, dining tables/chairs, tabletop accessories, artwork, curtains, plants, and rugs. The larger the home and more rooms furnished, the higher the staging fees ($2500+). Generally home Stagers offer their furnishings for 60 days and add a small fee to extend the time, but that is rarely needed.
Some real estate agents Stage their sellers’ homes for a smaller fee ($300-$500), adding accent pieces (pillows, bedding, decor), assisting the seller with decluttering and de-personalizing, and rearranging existing furnishings, all aimed at creating a feeling of spaciousness.
While some Stagers require full payment upon signing a contract, often the seller pays the Stager an upfront deposit and the balance will paid out of the seller’s proceeds at closing. In this case, the attorney will usually disburse payment via a wire or check.
Staging our Decatur listing turned out to be a very wise investment. This home was priced at $410,000, slightly under market value, aimed at a quick sale. This house was “Coming Soon” on a Friday and went “Active” on Monday. Our first showing was 8:00 am and we had 15 showings and 6 offers –over list price– within 24 hours! The home was Under Contract after 1 Day on Market. With numerous competitive offers, our sellers were able to select the offer that best aligned with their needs, and we ended up closing in 12 days, for $452,000!
Post Script...In addition to Staging a home before listing, I also highly recommend having the interior painted, preferably the same neutral color throughout (Shoji White, Eider White, and Alabaster are a few popular Sherwin Williams colors). Of equal importance: hire a skilled, reliable photographer who knows how to truly capture a home on “film”! On top of all that, use a pricing strategy that is aligned with your needs — whether that means a quick close or the highest profit, keep your priorities top of mind when pricing your home.
Staging created by Halston Houzz, contact at 678-777-5160 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by Sabrina Samuel, contact at 706-498-6040 or email@example.com