Wanna hear something weird?
According to buyers’ agents, “Staging the living room was found to be most important for buyers.” (NAR)
Ready for more weirdness?
Forty-two percent of buyers’ agents claim that the master bedroom is second in importance when it comes to staging.
The kitchen, which I think most of us consider the most important, was third at 35%.
Even stranger is the number of buyers’ agents who feel staging “has an effect on most buyers’ view of the home.” Only 40%.
Maybe the respondents were a batch of rookie agents?
Most of us get how important staging is to the seller’s bottom line. Statistics are all over the map but I’ve yet to see one that claims no additional value in staging a home for sale.
Here’s 29 of the best home staging tips that your clients need to know:
Staged homes sell 73% faster (Real Estate Staging Association)
Ok, so that’s not exactly an unbiased source. Let’s see what agents have to say:
In a survey of more than “… 900 top real estate agents across the country,” homelight.com found that:
- Nearly 70% claim that staged homes sell for more.
- More than half of these agents say that “… staging increases a home’s value from anywhere between 1% to 10%.”
If you don’t offer free staging, or stage the home yourself (hey, nearly 30% of listing agents do, according to the NAR), at least give your homeowner clients some brilliant ideas so they know how to stage and do it on the cheap.
First, get buy-in
Explain to your clients that staging is a marketing technique and may be among the most important used in home sales.
It makes MLS listing photos, often a buyer’s first impression of a home, powerfully irresistible.
Staging gives the perception of a well-cared-for home, it makes a home look cleaner and it helps buyers connect a lifestyle to a house.
Explain to your listing clients exactly what you do to market homes for sale and put staging on that list.
Let them know that, while photography is off-site marketing, staging is on-site marketing and just as critical (maybe even more).
Lay out the goals of staging in your home staging for 2022
Explaining staging objectives is an additional way to get buy-in from your listing clients–especially those with challenging homes or décor choices.
Many stagers claim that creating “universal appeal” is the number one goal in staging. A good listing agent knows that not only is that not true, it is impossible to achieve.
A savvy listing agent has determined, as closely as possible, who the likely buyer is for a home. Sometimes, that’s easy. A home in the town’s best school district, for instance, is most likely going to appeal to families with school-aged children.
A penthouse condo may appeal to families, but it’s not as likely.
Once the likely buyer is determined, staging to that buyer is imperative to a quick and lucrative sale.
Other staging goals include:
Making the home appear as light and bright as possible
Dark rooms and closets feel cramped and dreary. Natural light is best but if a home lacks a lot of it, use light fixtures, lamps, mirrors and anything else that helps light it up and reflect light.
Accentuate the positive and distract from the negative
“One way to accentuate the positive is to” make it easier to see, without distractions, writes Kristie Barnett, expert in residential color, staging and decoration, at tennessean.com.
For example, if your client has amazing kitchen countertops, “… accentuate them by clearing them of all clutter and anything that distracts buyers from this positive selling point.”
On the flip side, use staging to distract from the negative aspects of a space. Lack a fireplace? Barnett suggests creating a “…focal point for that space. If the view is nice, a large window may be your best bet for a focal point.
Small closets? Remove oversized winter clothing, boots, blankets to make them appear roomier.
Agents, thanks to certain home stagers, assume that this edict means sellers should remove “Excessive personal items like photos, collections, personal awards, electronics and collectibles.”
A very well-known home stager says that these items “… will make it difficult for buyers to see past your personal style and may deter a sale.”
Think about it: what is considered “personal?” Photos? Electronics? Hogwash.
A toothbrush. A hairbrush. A box of tampons. Shaving paraphernalia. Now those are personal items according to a study by Andrea Angott, Ph.D. (psychology), postdoctoral associate in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
So personal, in fact, that on a scale of one to seven, personal items left in plain sight in the bathroom proves to be the number one blunder of home sellers (that and leaving the toilet lid up, imo).
Even a used bar of soap can be a turnoff, according to Dr. Angott.
“I got this sense that the theory coming through in these answers is that people don’t want to feel that the house they’re buying is lived-in — that other human beings are shaving and brushing their teeth in it,” she told chicagotribune.com’s Mary Umberger.
“They don’t want to imagine that other people are inhabiting the place we want to buy,” Angott concludes.
Advertising each room’s purpose
“Many spaces lack a defined identity and will have potential buyers puzzled at the functionality of the area.” Adam Rostocki, owner of a home staging consultancy business in New York and author of the eBook, “Learn Home Staging.”
This means taking the bassinet out of the office, toys out of the kitchen and workout equipment out of the master bedroom.
Cleaning and organizing – the basics of home staging
I think most of us have purchased a used item at one point in our lives. Maybe a car, an appliance or, yes, a home.
It’s amazing that we still see MLS listing photos of messy, cluttered homes. We’ve seen unmade beds, toy-strewn living rooms, kitchen and bathroom counters with so much stuff on them you can’t see the countertops.
And toilets with the lids up.
This is the listing agent’s fault. It truly is and it’s a pity that the homeowner who is paying them thousands of dollars didn’t take the time to counsel them on how important listing photos are.
Think about your buyer clients’ reactions when they walk into a clean home as opposed to a dirty home. The difference is night and day, right?
Even eBay sellers clean up their merch before posting it for sale. Explain this to your selling clients when going over your home staging.
Organization of what’s left in a home after removing oversized furniture, electronics, collectibles and the like is the next basic step in staging.
The main goal when considering the best home staging tips should be to make the rooms look larger, closets and cupboards roomier
Here are a few more ideas to incoporate into your staging:
- Remove at least half of whatever is stored in the home’s closets.
- Organize the rest so that the closet appears roomy and tidy.
- Change light bulbs in walk-in closets to make the interior light and bright.
- Paint the interior of the closet if needed.
- Do the same for the kitchen pantry, if the home has one.
- Ditto for kitchen and bathroom cupboards. These are especially important, as you know, to homebuyers. Give them the impression that there is more than enough room for all of their kitchen and bathroom “stuff.”
Is your client on a budget? Check out these cheap tips to save you time AND money.
Let’s go room-by-room when considering home staging
We all know how easy it is to become so accustomed to something that we no longer notice it. If you’ve ever lived near train tracks or an airport you are familiar with this phenomenon.
The flipside is true as well. I once lived on a hill, overlooking the cutest town in California (imo) and the Pacific Ocean. Within a year of living there I completely forgot about the magnificent view.
So, yes, it’s easy to live with grimy baseboards, dirty light fixtures and torn window screens. They become invisible to us.
It’s up to you to tour your listings and jot down the small things that your client may no longer notice.
As you go room-by-room, inspect the following:
- Are there cobwebs near the ceilings?
- Is the overhead light/ceiling fan clean?
- Ensure that all the lightbulbs in the rooms work.
- Are the blinds dusty? Do the drapes need dry cleaning?
- Are the window screens in good condition?
- Are the windows clean?
- How’s the paint? Are the walls dirty?
- Do the baseboards need caulking, painting or replacing?
- Check the flooring. Make notes about condition and cleanliness and your recommendations.
That all-important first impression
Yes, it’s a bit odd to save this one for last in our list of the best home staging tips, because making a compelling first impression is critical to getting buyers to tour your listings.
Every buyers’ agent understands the importance of curb appeal. I clearly remember driving up to homes back in the day and the buyer asking me to drive on. The exterior did nothing to invite them into the home.
Impress this upon your listing clients. No, they don’t need to re-landscape (hopefully) the entire front yard. A few small changes, however, can make all the difference.
- Fresh mulch in the planting beds
- Pruned trees and shrubs
- A mowed lawn
- Pops of color from potted plants lining the walkway or on the porch
- A fresh coat of paint on the front door and mailbox
- New house number plaque
But, wait–there’s one more first impression to hurdle.
The entry way. It’s scary how many sellers ignore this critical area of the home.
Stand in the foyer and look around. Does what you see, hear and smell beckon you further into the home? If not, check out these Pinterest boards for ideas to share with your listing clients:
- Foyer/entry staging ideas
- Staging | Entry Foyer
- Entryway Home Staging Inspirations
“The national average home staging cost is $1,228,” according to research performed by homeadvisor.com.
The “typical range” is between $519 to $1,959. Naturally, this amount is significantly more for the luxury home.
Convince your clients that it’s a small price to pay to sell the home quickly and for top dollar.