In previous posts, we discussed the importance of designing and presenting spaces that reflect the lifestyle of the home’s most probable buyers. The finishing touch to this process is to add the furnishings and decor that bring it all together. You want to leave little guesswork in the buyer’s mind as to how the finished product will layout, look and feel. We accomplish this through staging. Here we discuss the importance of this with one of my valued team members and lead stager, Alisa Adams.
Alisa, why do you feel that staging is so important, particularly in luxury homes?
We’ve all heard that buyers can’t visualize. The real truth is that from the home designer to the Realtor and even the seasoned stager, we are all typically impressed once the home is finished- down to the decor. I think the reason is that even for those of us who have seen enough before and after’s to be able to visualize the space, the finished product is still typically far better from what we pictured in our minds. So, when I see an investment as large as a home where people are not willing to pay for staging, it makes me wish I could explain to them that statistically, they are missing a huge financial opportunity. The higher the price of the home, the more opportunity there is to gain. So absolutely, I would recommend having a staging consultation for every real estate listing to see how sellers can maximize their home’s potential.
What is the process of preparing a home for staging and choosing the right products for each home?
Step one, as you’ve said, is to make our best guess as to who will be our most likely buyer. Whatever style we think they might have, we try to marry that design to the home’s architecture. I like to look at what I think the buyers will fall in love with about the home and then really “play-up” those features. Most of our furnishings are either brand new or like-new. If we have enough time for delivery to be able to order furniture, we have the luxury of hand choosing the exact pieces that we think will work best in the home.
We represent clients that are in many cases competing with new home builders that have their decked-out models to entice buyers. One of the challenges of seeing model homes for buyers is that it is difficult to ever achieve this same look once they purchase the undecorated, upgrade free version. Giving clients this model home experience is the key to staging but how can you expand upon this experience to give buyers even more?
One unique aspect of the staging services that we provide is that all of the furnishings are ultimately for sale to the buyer so they can literally move right into a home that looks like a model. This is enticing for many groups of buyers including investors purchasing a home to convert into a vacation rental, that is ultimately ready to market. Second home buyers, which we have many of in this area, like that it’s all done for them. But perhaps the most common scenario is a buyer who just falls in love with that exact look and wants the house with everything in it. It really expands the opportunities for the buyers considering the home and differentiates it from most of the other available properties. It is a win-win for both the buyer and the seller!
This all sounds amazing but many people may not think that they can afford to have their home staged or from an agent perspective, that it is worth it or will make a significant difference. What would you say to those that are skeptical?
First, there are many statistics that have been compiled by various organizations that legitimize the benefits of staging. For instance, the Real Estate Staging Association found in a recent study that homes that were staged first, spend 90% less time on the market! Second, staging is not a one size fits all service! Our team establishes each client’s goals and needs for staging in an exclusive staging consultation that is included with our listing services. Staging needs could be as basic as reorganizing existing furnishings and décor, making recommendations for changes or removal of items and pieces, adding a few extra key pieces to properly define a space or fully staging one or more key rooms. We work hand in hand with clients to develop a plan that works for their budget and will ultimately maximize their profits within this budget.
While the importance of staging cannot be under-stressed in the luxury market, it really is for every home seller. Whether we are talking about marketing a product, interviewing or even dating, it is key to put your best foot forward to show the maximum benefits of what you have to offer! Real estate is commonly a person’s largest asset so it only makes sense to invest in presenting it as such and making it Pretty as a Picture!
Laura Jewett is a Native Arizonan, serving the greater Phoenix area as a professional Realtor since January 2001. With a passion for all things real estate, she offers a true concierge approach to real estate for her clients, with experience in design, rehab, fix and flip, construction, investment, rental, vacation rental and many other aspects of real estate.