POSTED BY REGINA VANDERHEYDEN
brokerbeatNew Canaan edited and reblogged truliaProBlog
brokerbeatNew Canaan edited and reblogged truliaProBlog
Real estate is an intensely personal experience for many buyers and sellers. After all, a home, at its core, is a personal expression of a homeowner’s entire life wrapped inside four, large or small, walls.
And while ultimately, buyers should be decidedly focused on the 'bones' of the home - the things that will stay after the current owner has vacated - staging can often be the difference between a buyer's bonanza versus a dearth of offers. Sellers should never suffer at the hands of poor staging.
It may be challenging, but a bit of tough love at the onset, will make for a very happy selling experience. Following are eight of the biggest staging mistakes that sellers make and how to help avoid these pitfalls.
1. Collection Overload . It is very difficult for almost any collection to look orderly and neutral … the two high-level aims of home staging. Unless the homeowner has attractive, high-end built-in cases to house the collections and the target buyers share a similar affinity for the objects, even the coolest collection can come off as a pile of space-consuming clutter. In short, confusion.
When it comes to shockingly bad staging decisions, the choice to give a taxidermy or gun collection a starring role in a home’s staging is pretty high in the oh-so-bad rankings. For some buyers, these collections can trigger personal concerns/beliefs and can distract from the strengths and features the property has to offer. If that becomes the case, the buyer cannot, in any way, shape or form, identify with the homeowner, and so, cannot imagine themselves living there.
The Fix . Collections are often a source of pride or hold sentimental value. Tread lightly. Know that while some may appreciate the collection, the home sale will benefit from a more neutral, less-personal aesthetic.
2. Echo-Chamber Staging . In an echo chamber, sounds are amplified because they simply bounce around in that closed space. When left alone, the same thing can happen to sellers if they do not have outside input. And unfortunately, it seems to be the bad staging ideas that get amplified, more than the good ones. That bold wallpaper in the bathroom may seem like a good idea, but a little perspective and another opinion may prove otherwise.
The truth can hurt … sellers who stage with zero external or professional input, are often the sellers who are unable to see:
• that their homes are still significantly cluttered or over-full,
• that their furniture is too plentiful and too large to show how spacious the home truly is, or
• that their sweet feline companions are also rather malodorous to strangers.
The Fix . Take a little staging field trip with your agent. See homes with tasteful bring-in-the-buyers staging and some with cover-your-eyes-bad décor. It can be tough to self assess, but once you see what a big difference a little staging makes, you will definitely be more open to the suggestion. Even on a bare-bones budget, hiring a pro stager for just an hour’s worth of advice is well worth the money spent.
3. Failure to Edit . You’ve heard thirty-somethings who still live at home diagnosed with failure to launch? Well, failure to edit is a close cousin of this syndrome. As the New York Times recently put it, “the job of stagers is to reverse the accumulated creep of hundreds of small and misguided design decisions, and to erase any hints of the messiness of daily life.” You might have a fantastic rug, a beautiful sofa, amazing tchotchkes and the highest-end personal effects, but chances are good that their cumulative first impression to a buyer viewing the home will still fall short of the “one broad stroke of gorgeousness” the Times piece correctly says home sellers should aim for, with their staging.
The failure to edit is a generalized syndrome which can manifest itself in all sorts of specific staging woes, from garden variety clutter to disastrous decor style mash-ups.
The Fix . Edit, edit, edit. Then, go back and edit again. Sellers should think of de-cluttering as pre-packing. If you are a DIY stager, ask your friends to come in and help decide what still needs to go, once you think you're done removing furniture and personal effects. A sassy best friend or a nit-picky sister-in-law can sometimes be the best critic.
4. Silly Scenarios . The difference between staging and interior design is simple: staging is cost-and-time efficient design undertaken with the specific objective of showing a home off to its best advantage, playing up its features and helping prospective buyers visualize the best lives they could possibly live in the home, should they choose it. Unfortunately, this has led some well-intentioned sellers and stagers to believe they should stage one bedroom as a Parisian boulevard (Eiffel tower mural included), another with a full-blown butterfly theme and the third as the beach—complete with umbrella, towels on the wall and sunscreen bottles on the nightstand. I saw this house, folks. With my own two eyes.
The Fix . Sellers need to know that they should stage their home to show off its space, light and conveniences, and the best, basic purposes that unusually small or large spaces could be used for. If the backyard is a huge selling point, stage it with outdoor dining or living room furnishings. Similarly, if the home is a two-bedroom with a bonus room in an area of four-bedroom homes, staging the bonus room as a bedroom or home office helps buyers understand the solutions that can minimize the brunt of your home’s challenges.
Staging your home to create “cute” scenarios with no relationship to the selling points or solutions buyers care about is of no value and can create a low-budget feel.
5. The ‘Lived-In’ Look . When a home is being shown for sale, it must be immaculate, every single time it’s being shown. It should look like no one lives there: no toothbrushes, curling irons, protein shake mixes or paperwork allowed.
Is this difficult to keep up? Absolutely. But you’d be surprised at how bad an impression just a few personal toiletries or dishes can make.
The Fix . Sellers cannot underestimate the importance of a flawless showing. Set up a system for putting everything away and wiping down all kitchens, bathrooms and other daily mess hot spots every single time the home is going to be shown.
6. Closet Cramming . Out of sight is not out of mind. Home buyers today are desperate for storage space and will undoubtedly open those same, crammed-tight doors in an effort to evaluate how the home ranks for storage. Beautifully organized closets with ample room create an impression in the buyer’s mind that they, too, can have an orderly life in the home.
The Fix . Sellers should see the exercise of staging as an opportunity to sell, donate or throw out things they no longer need. Even huge closets, if crammed to the gills, make buyers wonder how they’ll ever get by with so little closet space. Do it !!!
7. Failing to Stage for All the Senses . A house that smells like pet mayhem or smoke or has a noisily defective heater is a tough house to sell, no matter how beautifully it is staged. Unfortunately, smells and sounds are very easy to get acclimated to, when you live with them. Buyers, though, will detect them the second they walk in—and the moment they do is the moment we in the business call “turn-off time.”
The Fix . It may be uncomfortable—but honesty is the best policy. Have your agent or that sassy best friend or a nit-picky sister-in-law come by for an assessment. Perhaps they will offer some good suggestions or refer you to a trusted vendor who can.
8. Not To . Ultimately, the most shockingly bad of all staging decisions is the surprisingly frequent decision not to bother staging the home at all. This is how lovely homes with vast potential end up selling at a discount. This is a particular tragedy in cases where the owners could have painted, spruced, moved loads of things out and a few newer things in and made much, much more money on their homes.
The FIx . Ask yourself what it is about staging thar feels off-putting. If it’s a budgetary concern, focus on de-cluttering and small accents or paint, which can make a big difference on a dime.
Remember, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" … is a favorite line with stagers and real estate agents. If you don't stage before you list, guess what You've lost time and money - the two things that are all but promised if you stage your home before listing it for sale.
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Regina van der Heyden is the principal of brokerbeat New Canaan, and Exceptional Properties Specialist & Sales Vice President at William Raveis Real Estate, as well as both Top Listing and Top Selling Agent . To access the MLS, receive a free home evaluation, and/or subscribe to daily home listings updates, email email@example.com or call/text at 203.644.5025 . Receive bbnc blog posts as they publish . Enter your email address in the subscription bar at the top right of this page, and click 'submit.' Then, automatically find daily bbnc posts in your email as they publish !!! My best always &:>
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