You’re ready to move. You find a real estate agent and want to sell as soon as possible. You decide to go ahead and move out, thinking that your house will sell faster without your furniture and decor in it. Maybe you even leave an old rug and table behind. That will look great you think. Buyers will see how roomy and open it looks and will fall in love with it. It should work, right? Probably WRONG.
Did you know that vacant homes usually sit on the market longer than occupied or staged homes? Buyers rarely (only about 10% of them) can visualize the size of the rooms, or imagine their furniture and items in the house. They’re confused. Empty rooms, believe it or not, look smaller until something is in there to give the buyer perspective. In the photo above, the rug and table actually do help define the rooms in this big open space. What’s missing? There are no emotional connection points in here. Buyers spend money on homes when they can emotionally connect to them. They can imagine sitting at the kitchen island, sipping on their morning coffee. They long to put their feet up, snuggle up, and watch a fun movie with their family. They want a cozy spot to read a bedtime story to their children. And the examples go on and on…
Also, think about what happens when you put on a swimsuit. Every ounce of fat, cellulite, every wrinkle, freckle seems to be magnified. Every flaw is exposed! In a vacant house, it’s the same thing. Any smudge you have on a wall stands out. A scratch on your fireplace mantel is magnified. A small discolored spot on the wood floor looks massive. Since there is nothing to feast their eyes on, buyers will notice every flaw in a vacant house that otherwise they would probably never notice!
What about bedrooms? Ninety percent of people cannot figure out if a master bedroom can handle a king-size bed, or only a queen. Let’s not leave it up to their imagination! Plus, this looks a little “blah,” don’t you think??
Now buyers can see that this room easily fits a queen bed with plenty of room around it. It’s not hard now to imagine a king size in here. See how it helps! The window coverings even seem to make sense in this townhome now.
Would you like buyers to take their time as they walk through your house? YES! Do you know why? Statistics tell us that buyers take more time walking through an occupied or staged home. When a house is empty, they can zip right through it and leave quickly. Take for example this kitchen, it has some great features, but nothing is highlighted. No one is connecting with it because it feels cold and plain. When items are added (like below) a buyer tends to linger, and the chances of them submitting an offer to buy the property increases. This is a good thing!
Here are a few emotional connections that would look great in a kitchen, or perhaps the last picture could be in a bathroom. I easily found these on Pinterest, and if you hover over the photos, you’ll see the photo credits. Do you notice that there is a plant in each photo? That’s not an accident! People like real, organic looking things. Think of the buyers that can relate to cooking, coffee, and a nice-smelling hand soap. That’s what staging does for your vacant home.
Now I know what you’re thinking… Doesn’t vacant staging cost a fortune? Not really. If you only stage the main areas of your house and the master, most buyers can get the feel for the house with that, so it costs less than staging the whole house. Now, let’s say your vacant sits on the market for four months because…well… it’s vacant. You’ve now made FOUR MORE mortgage payments, insurance payments, and paid property taxes. That’s a lot! Let’s say you reduced the price after two months, by 5% like your agent recommended. That could easily be $15,000 on a $300,000 listing. What if staging only was only $3000 and it SOLD within two months? See what I mean? It can actually make you more money than not staging. Is this always true?? No, but it’s worth thinking about. If you know me though, I hate selling things so that’s not what my business is about. I’m here to help, and if helping you sell your house for top dollar is priority, then reach out to me or another professional home stager.
Thanks for hanging out with me on my blog. I’d love for you to find me on Pinterest or Instagram so you can see other great ideas for staging, decorating, and life in general.
Warm regards, Shana
The sellers want to list the house, like YESTERDAY! There is no budget or time to paint the sunshine yellow walls. So what do you do? Leave everything AS IS, or vacate everything? We say that we can usually work around the less than trendy things in a home, but keep some of the furniture. Why? Because homes with furniture sell faster than vacant homes. Look carefully and you'll find that this is the homeowner's furniture. We only brought in the right colors that can attract the right buyers. Either this house will sell to someone who likes the cottage/bungalow vibe, or it will sell to someone who sees potential in the house. Of course, the seller's goal is always to get top dollar, so some simple staging creates interest in more buyers other than just investors. Take a look at the before pictures below and tell me this doesn't look better?!?
You might be thinking, "What happened to the huge marshmallow sectional, recliner, and the red rug? They're gone! We brought up the love seat from the den, changed the rug to sisal and navy, and added pops of blue throughout.
Even though it feels like we work a little "magic" in these transformations, it really isn't magical it all. It takes a lot of planning and problem solving to create a room that feels spacious, yet cozy. It feels bright, but relaxed. A buyer has to emotionally connect to a space in order to want to live there. Messy rooms with crowded furnishings and decor does not speak to buyers. And even though most people would want to get a couple of gallons of paint ready for this house, most buyers would at least think it's "cute." Cute, believe it or not, is an emotional connection.
This is the downstairs den. Here's the matching sofa. The loveseat was down here before, making this room also feel crowded. Now here's the rug. Is it gorgeous in this space? No, but at least it's the right size, and it's not the first impression room. We found this coffee table in another part of the house, moved out the console to use as a media cabinet in the front room, and added a chair for this desk. Why did we bring in the blue and yellow pillows? Because when you can scatter the color pops throughout the house, it feels more cohesive. Did you notice the cool floorlamp in the back corner? The sellers actually had that! So mid-century modern! We brought in a table lamp as well to add extra lighting. This room before staging was dark, dingy, and depressing.
Buyers can definitely envision a cozy fire in this den. Is it a magazine worthy room? No, of course not! But not everyone can afford rooms like that anyway! Which room would you rather hang out in? The one above or the one below? Which would you pay more money for? See what staging can do! One additional note, these are just photos from my phone. Imagine how good they would look if a professional photographer worked his/her magic!
Thanks for hanging out with me for a while. Do you follow me on Instagram? I'd love for you to give me feedback on my posts there. @cloverlanedesign
Take care. I'm happy to help! -Shana