Sure you can stage your own house, but should you? Since your first two weeks on the market is the most crucial, do it yourself staging is a gamble. Here are some things to think about before you try to stage your own home.
1. Know Your Target Buyers
Home staging started as little more than cleaning and decluttering. It evolved into neutralizing to create wider appeal. In the last few years, it’s truly become a marketing tool, zeroing in on creating appeal for a specific target buyer. As the market becomes more demanding, the typical amount of work done in staging is growing, now more frequently including minor renovations.
Staging has become more technical. Before you start, you must research the competition in your market. What do buyers want? What is the typical competition offering? Who will your target buyers be? What can you learn about their needs, wants, aspirations and lifestyle? The more you know about them, the more effective your staging can be.
2. Think Like a Buyer
The next hurdle is to see your home as a buyer will. You have to focus on details which you have learned to ignore. For example, you may know that the stain on the ceiling means nothing because the leak was fixed long ago. You barely notice it anymore, but, to a potential buyer it will be a red flag.
3, Start at the Curb
You should consider how buyers buy. With over 90% starting their home shopping online, and 78% of those driving by before contacting an agent for a viewing, you must attend to your curb appeal. Did you realize that 45% of drive-by’s are after dark, so it’s advisable to keep the sign, the house numbers and the yard lit up until late evening?
4. Consider How it Will Look in Photos
Those home buyers who did online research probably searched by location, price range and number of bedrooms. After that, pictures are the first impression which makes them put your home on a must-see list instead of clicking to the next. Sometimes rooms which look fine in person don’t photograph all that well. Do you know how to create a model home look in the crucial online photos? Tip: When you think you have it, take a picture and check your work.
5. The Devil’s in the Decorating Details
And how are your decorating skills? Do you remember the colour wheel? Do you know how to use colours to stop the eye or create mood? How are you with scale, flow, balance and ways to make your home seem more spacious? Do you know how to arrange art, how high to hang it, which pieces are suitable? And do you even have suitable pieces, or will you have to start shopping.
6. Who Are You Going to Call?
Most homes which have had the same owner for five or ten years need some work before putting on the market. When there are updates to be done, do you have reliable contractors or will you have to seek them out, check their references, and get them to prepare estimates? Do you have time to manage their work, or should you be attending to other matters?
7. Do You Really Have Time for This?
Assuming you are one of the few who can handle all these challenges under normal circumstances, will you be able do it on top of house shopping and everything else involved with relocation? Do you really have the time to handle the staging yourself?
Maybe, but, if you are the least bit unsure, don’t gamble with preparing your largest single asset for sale. Getting it wrong could cost you more in the end. Call in a professional home stager.