Home Staging FAQ’s

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1. What is the biggest “myth” when it comes to home staging?

I think most people consider a home stager to be the same as a decorator. A decorator’s job is to bring the taste and personality of a homeowner into the property. A home stager is different. Our job is to effectively market the property, not decorate it. A home stager takes the individual homeowner’s personality out of the space, so that the widest group of potential buyers can see themselves living there there. How a seller lives in the home is not how to sell the home.

2. What is the biggest mistake people make when they try to stage their own home?

They go too far with decluttering and depersonalizing, which leaves a property feeling very sterile and clinical. Understanding how to neutralize – but not neuter – a property is something a professional home stager knows.

Think of a professional home stager as a marketer for your home. In 2000 David Gikandi wrote an article entitled Creating Attention, Interest, Desire and Action Online. According to him, there are four concepts of marketing to potential buyers: get attention, create interest, move interest to desire, and trigger action.

Here’s how those marketing concepts work from a home staging perspective:

• Staging your home creates attention as it stands out from the other properties that aren’t staged.
• Once potential buyers view your staged, well-photographed, well-priced home online, interest is piqued and desire is created, which motivates the potential buyer to view your home.
• The last concept, action, happens when the offers start to flow in.

Getting attention, creating interest and desire is how a home stager markets your property. People are buying a dream and not how they’ll actually live in the house.

3. What are some cost effective updates a home seller can do before listing?

Buyers react positively to light, bright spaces. The top three things buyers look for are:

• updated flooring
• light, neutral paint
• organized closet space

While flooring can be expensive, paint really isn’t. Yes, having painting done professionally can seem expensive, however, the return on investment can easily be more than five times what is paid. Stagers call paint money in a can!

Other cost-effective and easy changes include:

• Buy a box of matching hangers and edit closets
• Add mason jars to the pantry to store dry goods such as macaroni
• Change outdated light fixtures and cabinet hardware

4. What part of the house should a home owner spend their time and money on?

That’s pretty simple. First, curb appeal matters. The space leading up to the property needs to look welcoming. A new mail box, a pot of flowers and mowing the lawn can really help. If the trim is shabby, a little elbow grease to clean that up and paint is also great. Second, once inside the home, the view from the front door is a seller’s “money shot.” Did you know sellers have between 3 and 6 seconds to catch a buyer? They decide if viewing your home further is a “no” or a “maybe” within that time. If a seller’s home is a “no” from the curb, many buyers will just keep driving. If a seller’s home has good curb appeal, but isn’t attractive from inside the front door, before a buyer’s shoes are even off, they will walk.

5. What is one thing people should not do when trying to sell their house?

Don’t let the dream home experience a home stager has created for the seller die!

Sure, keeping a home staged while occupying it can be a challenge for sellers, but when the home sells for at or above list price, sellers will be glad they did. Buyers are looking for their dream home. My job as a home stager is to give them that experience and, if sellers ensure the home is super-clean, odour free, decluttered, and dirty dishes and laundry kept out of site, keeps the dream home look alive. Also, I recommend avoiding the use of air fresheners as buyers will wonder what smells the sellers are trying to cover up.

6. What rooms sell homes?

For women, what tops the wish list is a great kitchen, and most young moms want an attached family room so they can keep an eye on their kids. Women also want a master bedroom that feels like a sanctuary. It’s the place they go when they need to shut out the world. Men buy yards, garages and basements. They want a room to relax, a place to create their “man cave.” Thus, even an unfinished basement that is kept clean and tidy can win a man over.

7. What about odours from smoking and pets?

Did you know that pet and smoking odours could mean up to a 30% drop in realized price? Consider smoking outside and ensuring there is no evidence of pets in the house when showing. If you have a lingering smell from years of smoking or from pet urine, carpet replacement with a sealant painted on the floor before new underlay goes down, and using an odor seal primer before painting can really help. It may cost thousands less to mitigate the odours before listing, than it will cost in price drops and low ball offers if you don’t.

I’m your Calgary and area homestager. Let me make your home a Calgary home buyers dream! Contact me today.

Ellen Mann

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