Here's the perspective of a very experienced real estate agent, Patricia Kennedy, regarding home staging. As Pat points out, neither vacant or occupied un-staged homes show as well as a staged home. She has motivated buyers, but they are having a hard time falling in love with a house.
You really think buyers will use their imaginations when they see your cluttered or unstaged house?
Well, some might. In fact, there are some buyers who actually seek out these diamonds in the rough. They are usually shrewd professionals looking for something to buy cheap, then fix up, stage, then resell for top dollar.
But your buyers who are looking for their Dream House are in a whole other category. While their agents may be able to spot a great home that, with a little elbow grease or great decor could be fabulous, many buyers looking for the place they are going to live and plant rose bushes and have a great life - well, they usually need a little bit of help.
They are looking for something that is staged to sell.
Buyers often select homes the way we select our mates. It's pheromones. They feel an actual physical attraction to the home they choose. And like people, it's easier for a house to become the object of one's affections if it shows well.
This post was actually inspired by a showing I had last week. Some things about the house were terrific. Some were not.
It was most certainly not cluttered. In fact, it was totally empty.
The rooms were large and sun-filled. It had a living room with a pretty fireplace mantel. There was a huge family room addition with cathedral ceilings, a large screened in porch, and a nicely landscaped fenced back yard.
But there were two negatives. The kitchen was re-done in the early 1980's, when white formica countertops were the rage. And even though it was huge and quite well laid out, my buyer had a hard time imagining what she'd do with it. And the place was completely unstaged, making it hard to appreciate the vast spaces or imagine how to use all the room. It was an overwhelming expanse of beautiful hardwood floors.
Then yesterday we looked at a place inhabited by a seller who was reasonably tidy with pretty nice taste in furnishings. But it looked lived in. It was still very much the seller's house. It also could have used some emptying out, a coat of fresh paint, and a hardwood floor refinish. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't quite there.
The point is, these buyers just couldn't get her arms around either place. They didn't call out to, "BUY!!!! ME!!!!!"
I'll give them credit. They are making the attempt - something a lot of buyers just don't do anymore.
And if it's hard to fall in love with an empty house that is spotless, or a lived-in home that falls short of zen, one that is cluttered with housitosis is even harder to sell - at least to buyers looking for a home to live in.
As I write this, I look around my own house, which I'm planning to put on the market in the near-ish future. And it's going to take a huge amount of work to get it ready for prime time - so much that I'd be mortified to post the "before" pictures. But it will be worth the effort to live like a compulsive zen minimalist neatnic for a while. When I sell, my home will certainly be staged to sell!
Perhaps I should begin now! Time to empty that kitty litter box!
Buyers are becoming spoiled by all of the great stagers out there!