How Does Staging Help You Get The Most Money For Your Home?
Every real estate agent can give you the rundown of “dos and don’ts” prior to listing a home, but my approach is a little different. I believe every home has a story that needs to be told and I help do that with staging and strategic marketing. Sometimes it’s a non-fiction story, like a cabin on acreage where I work to capture the memories that are within the walls. I’ve used firewood on a property to stage a fireplace, along with candles, cozy blankets and older books I envision could have been read in the tranquility of a slow crackling fire. A home like this just needs a little embellishing to help buyers visualize what it’s like to live there. In this scenario, it was best not to change the story. I did not need to re-brand the home into something different. It would be doubtful a charming home on a wooded lot would be remodeled into a contemporary city slicker dwelling. I did not need to re-write the story. It’s about appealing to the most likely buyer.
Then there’s the fictional storytelling that I love to visually create, whether it’s using existing pieces in a home, bringing in my own staging or some combination of the two. After walking through a home I imagine who is going to buy it. I call this “demographic” marketing, a term I learned from my managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in 2006. At first, I used this concept simply to be the most effective with my marketing budget to capture the most prospects for my listings. For example, I wouldn’t spend my marketing budget sending mailers to first time home buyers for a million dollar listing. It’s about investing the advertising into the most effective channels. But soon I found myself taking it a step further by actually staging/branding/ storytelling my listings in a way that would appeal to the most likely buyer. This is where the make-believe stories make magic.
Let me give an example: An older person is ready to sell and they did not do any updating with either the actual home or decorating. You know this house, it’s the one with the silk ferns, maybe a wallpaper banner or some stenciled ivy along the walls, it’s the house with mauve hand towels and sea shell soap dispenser, you get the idea. Often this home would sell to a first-time buyer who may be looking to remodel at some point. Unless the home is already remodeled and up to date with the latest trending products, my job is to create a look that will appeal to the buyer without them seeing too many “projects” they need to invest in the home, which tends to negatively affect pricing perception. If the home doesn’t appear move-in ready enough, a buyer starts to calculate how much they need to spend beyond the price to get into the home. The result of the “too many projects” perception will result in lower offers.
How do I create the story that the subject home is “move-in ready”? Or doesn’t need too many projects? By removing dated items and filling in with new décor, and rearranging or removing the furniture to showcase the floor plan in the best possible light. By using demographic marketing, I am able to conclude who the likeliest buyer would be and then create a custom story appealing to that target buyer.
Vacant Home Staged by Courtney Drennon
Vacant Home Staged by Courtney Drennon
To quote myself in a blog post I did a few years ago “Staging serves two purposes. First to give buyers an idea of space… it is a visual measuring tool…Secondly, staging serves it’s purpose in a way I describe as ‘branding’ where buyers associate the look and décor with the quality of a home.”
As you prepare to sell your home DO take a good look at the use of your space. DO de-clutter and check for outdated items in your home and DO update them with a few newer pieces. If you are feeling unsure of what to do with your home before listing, DON’T hire an agent who isn’t able to help you strategically plan how-to best present your listing or give your home a story to procure top dollar. DO call me, my advice is always FREE.
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On a recent listing, other agents told my client to remove all of her belongings because the home was a teardown. They also suggested a list price of almost 200k less than what I sold it for.”