Every real estate professional’s been there. You meet with a new client about selling their home. You talk timeline, and the client seems excited. You discuss price point, and the client smiles hopefully. You say the word staging, and the nodding and smiling abruptly end. You know what’s coming next:
Whether your clients have been watching home shows with gorgeous renovations or simply feel like their home is already perfect as-is, the home staging conversation often begins with hesitation. Luckily, with some advance preparation, you can confidently respond to your clients’ “buts.”
“But I Can’t Afford Home Staging”
Most home sellers are looking to maximize profit, so spending more money on a home they’re trying to get rid of does seem counterintuitive. But research shows staged homes sell faster and for more money than non-staged homes.
What does home staging typically cost? That depends. For professional assistance, home sellers can expect to pay an average of $450 for a consultation and several hundred dollars per room per month. But there are plenty of DIY options as well. According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Staging, the median cost of home staging is just $675.
To maximize your clients’ budget, bring in a professional just for a consultation and develop a DIY strategy based on their recommendations. A professional home stager might recommend that you do the following:
- Clean and de-clutter for flow (see below)
- Remove furnishings, particularly outdated ones, to make rooms look more open and spacious
- Repaint walls and refinishing floors
- Improve lighting by washing windows and replacing light bulbs
- Spruce up curb appeal (i.e. trim landscaping and replace house numbers)
- Create homey “vignettes” (i.e. set the dining room table or perch a coffee cup and novel on a bedside table)
“But I’ve Already Cleaned and De-Cluttered”
The purpose of home staging is to help prospective buyers imagine themselves in the space. So, yes, cleaning and de-cluttering is an important first step. But pitching stacks of outdated magazines and clearing off the kitchen counters isn’t enough.
From a home staging perspective, de-cluttering is about optimizing a home’s features and square footage, which requires some next-level thinking. Helen Bartlett, a professional home stager, describes her work as “editing” a home. Whenever possible, she uses the owner’s furnishings, but she pares them down to the essentials, focusing on fit and flow.
“But My House is Already Beautifully Decorated”
For these sellers, a delicate conversation may be in order: “You hired me to help you sell your home, and I have some ideas to make it more appealing to more buyers.” Even if your client is an interior designer, an outside perspective can bring needed clarity.
Encourage sellers to put themselves in the buyers’ shoes. Sure, they may love that worn bookshelf that belonged to their great-grandfather, but it doesn’t really fit on that wall, and makes walking through the doorway difficult. For each piece of furniture, train your clients to ask, “Should I dust it or ditch it?”
“But My House Looks Bigger This Way”
If a seller has already vacated their home, they may mistakenly assume its empty rooms are a selling point. “The master bedroom looks huge now!” they may say. Or “Now they can easily imagine how their furniture will fit in the family room.” The truth is, empty, echoing spaces have the exact opposite effect. If vacant homes sold easily, developers wouldn’t invest the time and money into staging homes, right?
The bottom line is that home staging can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be… and your clients can’t afford not to invest in at least some staging techniques [Click here for more suggestions on which rooms to stage and how].
Our realtors put clients’ interests above their own, providing the highest level of honesty and expertise before, during, and after each transaction. Learn more about becoming part of the Vegas One Realty team here.