Over the last couple of weeks I have been blessed with several Occupied Home Staging appointments and I have noticed a common sentiment among my sellers.
Many sellers, during the part of our appointment where we create/discuss the comprehensive Staging strategy (move this here, pack this, repaint this, etc) were saying. "Oh, I'm glad I wasn't wrong to put that there" or "I'm glad that paint choice wasn't wrong".
After hearing this several times I was reminded that many sellers do not hire professional decorators and also many don't have a natural flair for interior design. Therefore, when a professional in the interior world comes to analyze their home (read: Professional Home Stager) they are automatically curious as to whether or not the "professional" will bless the choices they made when putting their personal stamp on their home.
What I continually tell my sellers and would like now to remind agents is that when "living" in a home, there really is no wrong choice for decorating. When a family is "living" in a home they should make it their own with regard to paint or wallpaper choices, furniture arrangements, re-purposing rooms, etc. Reminding nervous sellers that their home in its current state isn't "wrong" may help reduce their defenses and increase the likelihood that they will have an open mind when working with the Stager. And although their choices were not wrong, there may be other choices that are "more right" when selling a home.
Many statements that I employ to re-assure sellers that my purpose is not to criticize their house but to help them make their home as marketable as possible include some of the following (these statements are also appropriate for agents to discuss with sellers when first suggesting Staging):
- The way a family lives in their home is not often the best way to "market" their house
- Staging is MARKETING, not decorating. Even the best decorated houses benefit from Staging!
- Space and neutral are what help sell houses the fastest; you are selling the square footage of the house not the furnishings in it and sometimes its best to "edit" the furnishings on display so buyers can more readily notice the size of the house
- Think about how much time and money companies spend on packaging something as simple and low cost as a box of cereal; we should spend at least half that much effort to "package" your most important financial asset when up for sale. That's what Staging is about.
Stagers, remember that many of your sellers may be nervous about letting you into their home and say what you can to make them feel comfortable; let them know you are not there to criticize their design choices but to help them achieve the most successful home sale possible.
Agents, if you are the first contact with the seller, make sure that your sellers don't feel put off at the suggestion of a Stager. We will all reap the rewards if sellers feel like we are all on the same team.
Sellers, I promise, whatever design choices you made were not "wrong"; but when selling your home, other choices may be better :-)