Got questions about home staging and property styling? Answers to the most asked questions here.
You say that Home staging will make me money. Can you guarantee this?
I don’t give guarantees about selling your house in a certain timeframe or for a specific price as home staging is just one factor in selling your home. My job is to make your house the best it can be. Other factors such as the market, your real estate agent, the marketing campaign, how much of my recommendations you implement, how you maintain your house during viewings and the house price are all outside of my control.
My house is already on the market. Can I still stage it?
Yes! Speak to your Real Estate Agent about taking a break from viewings whilst I work with you to stage your house as quickly as possible to get it back on the market.
Isn’t home staging just common sense?
Yes to the limited point that most people know to de-clutter and clean before putting their house on the market (although you’d be surprised at the number who don’t). However I can offer so much more than this. For example because I don’t live there I can look at your house with a real objective eye. You can become blind to the wear and tear and ‘stuff’ in your house, even how it smells. I can give you some honest advice, advice that probably your agent doesn’t want to give you. I also know your house’s competition, what buyers are looking for in your market and how to give your house a marketing edge and make it stand out from the competition. I can visualise your home’s potential, maximising it’s strengths, playing down it’s weaknesses and helping prospective buyers fall in love with the concept of living in the house and making it into their home, an ‘art’ that is way beyond common sense.
Everyone tells me my house looks great – do I still need to stage it?
Hey, I’ve never been to your house! However there are always actions that can be taken to ensure that your house is showing it’s best at sale time. Maybe your decorating style is quite personal or colourful and needs to be toned down slightly or you have great but risqué art on your walls or lots of family pictures or a big sports memorabilia collection that are distracting people or you have a 4 bed house and live in a family area but don’t have any children’s rooms, or your garage has been taken over by your wood work crazy husband, or your home is immaculate until you open the cupboards (and yes, people do look), or you have a room set up as a bedroom but it would work better as a home office in this market, or you have a space under the house that is empty and you don’t know what to do with it, or you have a pool table set up where the dining table used to be, or gardening isn’t your strong point so the house looks great but the garden is letting it down, or the kids toys are taking over the house, or maybe it’s your shoe collection. Any one of these things can be dealt with to make your house, even if it does look great, more saleable.
I’m concerned that you are going to be critical about my house or the way I live.
The way that you live in your home and the way you sell your house are two different things. One of the joys of having your own home is that you can decorate it and live in it to suit yourself. If you want a football table in the dining room you can, if you want to paint every room yellow or build a fort in your son’s room you can. Sometimes, also, life takes over and we end up with hand me downs and half finished jobs. Sometimes it is other factors such as illness, death or divorce. I would never tell you how to live in your home and how you choose to live, or need to live. No one lives in the perfect house all the time – if you came round to my house you’d see! However, my expertise is in selling houses and in selling houses you have to appeal to the majority. This means a neutral colour scheme, each room with a clear purpose, repairs done, house de-cluttered and cleaner than it’s ever been. This is no longer your home it is a house that has to be merchandised to win the hearts and the bids of prospective buyers, a house that needs to be sold and for the best price. All my recommendations come from the knowledge of what needs to be done to sell your home and not from a judgement of how you live. Oh, and by the way, you don’t need to de-clutter, clean or tidy before I come to your house – the home staging equivalent of cleaning before the cleaning lady comes – you will have enough to do when you get your action plan!
What’s the timeframe for Home Staging?
Ideally you’d give yourself at least a month to prepare your house for sale before putting it on the market. In reality this time period is often shorter. The less time you have the more outside help you might need or the greater need to prioritise your actions. I will always work with you to help meet your deadlines. However, sometimes it might be better to push your first open house back a week so that you can be absolutely sure you are making the best first impression to buyers.
Are you just going to recommend that I get rid of all my old furniture and bring in rental furniture?
No, I stage your home like I’d expect mine to be staged, with an eye on the return on investment of everything that I spend. Where possible I work with what you’ve already got or discuss strategies for replacing the furniture in another way – maybe your sister could lend you her outside dining set for example. However if your furniture is distracting due to age, size or style I will recommend renting but only renting furniture that is appropriate to the style of the rest of your house. One designer piece in the wrong setting can be just as distracting as an old piece.
My house has no or little furniture in it. Will hiring furniture be a waste of money?
Think about the times you have, as a prospective buyer, looked around an empty house or the times you have moved into a new house and it’s empty and waiting for your furniture. A house looks sad and it’s faults show up more when it’s unfurnished. It is difficult to envisage where your furniture will go or whether it will fit or the function of each room. When viewing you are probably in and out of the property in a couple of minutes as there is nothing for you to look at. An empty house also communicates desperation from the vendor – the assumption buyers make is that the sellers have bought elsewhere and have already moved out and need to sell. As much as buyers tell themselves that buying a house is a pragmatic decision it is often an emotional one – buyers fall in love with the idea of living in a house and find it difficult to fall in love when it’s bare and uninviting. In a slow market there will always be other more inviting properties to look at. Hiring furniture does cost money but if it helps you stand out from the competition, sell quickly and for a good price then it is worth the investment.
My agent says not to bother with Home Staging – they’ve been selling houses long before Home Staging came along.
Your real estate agent wants to turn your listing quickly and make their commission. When a house isn’t selling they recommend a price reduction, a tiny drop in commission for them but a sizeable drop in your precious equity. Home staging does cost money and some effort (unless you want the home stager to take all the work away from you!) but it is always more cost effective than a price reduction. For example $5k spent on staging vs. a price drop of $30k. In a hot market when price reductions are less required the reverse is true: a $5k spend could mean 2 or more competing buyers who push the price up by $30k. Home staging is a relatively new concept in Australia although it is known and being used by many Real Estate agents and homeowners. The fact that not everyone stages their home to sell is a great competitive edge for agents and vendors. Why wouldn’t you as a homeowner have your house looking it’s best to maximise it’s chances of a quicker sale at a higher price and why wouldn’t you as a Real Estate agent want your houses to sell quickly and be known as the agent with the great looking houses?