Did you know one of the simplest things you can do to get more money out of your home is stage it for showing? Victoria and Annie have recently bought a new house and I have been looking for a new house for the past 6 months. So we have all been through our fair share of walk-troughs and we all agree that staging is crucial! We saw some great houses, but in many cases could not get past the terrible decor, or clutter to envision ourselves in them. Matt and I have actually opted to build, so that means we are getting close to putting our house on the market. In order to get the most money out of our house, I know that one of the most important things will be staging it properly. I think this can be more impactful than repainting or doing other “fixer-upper” things here and there. So, we went to Nancy Hull of Signature Staging in Charlotte for some advice. She is a total expert and It’s amazing what differences they can make in a house.
For those who aren’t’ familiar (aka aren’t addicted to HGTV), what exactly is staging
Staging is the process of creating spaces that appeal to the majority of buyers, in this sense it is different from decorating which really focuses on designing taste specific rooms/houses for one client. However, we strongly believe staging requires design knowledge and experience in order to be successful. The main purpose of staging is to highlight the positive features of each listing!
When should someone consider staging their house before listing it?
Staging is really for everyone! While most people think about staging for a vacant home because 90% of people do not have the vision to be able to see their furniture fitting in spaces, we also offer consultations for people who might have a beautiful home but we come in with a totally new perspective and make recommendations on how to make the rooms feel bigger, how to depersonalize a bit (although we are not big on making people remove all family pics), and also bring in new accessories to fluff it up if needed. As a result of a consultation, we will create a plan for the buyer with instructions on what is recommended to be removed and stored and if needed, we will outline what we will bring.
A great example is this house (shown below) that we recently completed – the house was great and in a sought after neighborhood, but the owner’s furniture was not to scale for the rooms, making them feel darker and smaller than they actually were. Here are some before and after pictures so you can see what I mean.
Do staged houses sell faster, or for higher dollar amounts in your experience?
Not only do houses sell faster and with higher dollar amounts, the cost of staging is always cheaper than that first price reduction, a lot of people are willing to drop a house by $10-$25k after it sits on the market for a few weeks but, if they had spent a few thousand up front, they might not be doing that price reduction! Staged homes typically spend half the amount of time on the market than those that are not staged and a 1-3% investment in the staging yields about 8-10% return. Say you have a $1M property and you spend $10k on staging- you can expect to see a return between $80-$100k in your offers….not too shabby!
Do you own a ton a furniture and pick from it as you stage a house?
We own a ton of furniture, lamps, pillows, accessories AND we have been using stuff from our own houses! We are growing really fast and have been super busy since we launched in May. We have a storage unit that has really stayed empty because of our back-to-back jobs, so we can’t complain!
So, if the seller is still living in the house, do you use their furniture?
Yes! Most of the time…unless it is super buyer specific, then we will recommend removal and pull in our own inventory. Sometimes we use things like beds and tables and chairs but will ask the home owner to put away/store their pillows, lamps etc. and bring our accessories in.
Do you only stage certain rooms, or every room in the house?
We recommend staging all of the rooms but sometimes that just isn’t in a seller’s budget. The most important rooms are living room, den, kitchen, dining, master bed and bathrooms. We always try to create a dedicated office space as well.
If you could only do 5 things to a house to prepare it for showing, what would they be?
To prepare a house for sale, look at each room and think- less is really more. We recommend determining what is necessary in each room for most buyers- say a living room for example, sofa makes sense, two chairs and a coffee table but things like kids toys, dog toys, DVDs, wires from TVs, etc. should all be hidden and put away. Each space should have a purpose, so if you have an empty room- make it an office! Fresh flowers in kitchen and bathroom are great for pictures and if you live in the house- keep them up and fresh for showings. Decluttering is the biggest challenge for sellers but, it is a MUST throughout the entire house. Finally, organize your closets- take half of your clothes out and store them/hide them under your bed, otherwise buyers will think you are moving because you are busting at seams of your house and let’s face it, that might be true but you don’t want the buyer to automatically think your house is too small for them too!
What do you recommend people with dogs do when prepping their house for sale?
This is a big one, potential buyers don’t want to smell dog odor or see dog supplies when they look at a house- a lot of buyers are not dog people and this can turn them off! I actually personally looked at a house one time and opened the master bedroom and these sellers’ two small white fluffy dogs had pooped on the floor!! Needless to say, I didn’t buy that house. Our recommendation would be to ask a friend or relative to keep the dog for the first week or two on the market and whenever possible- get the dog out of the house for showings. I can say this because I have two dogs and still feel like they should not be in the house for showings 🙂
Do you have any other tips in general?
Yes! Some things we love to use to make a room look bigger- acrylic furniture (consoles, coffee tables and end tables) and mirrors! Acrylic makes the room feel open and mirrors really help to reflect light. Also, we like to get basic solid furniture but spend more on designer pillows, lamps and accessories.
Thank you so much Nancy and Signature Staging for the tips! If you are considering staging your house, reach out to the Signature Staging team here and make sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Inspired by Nancy’s pictures and suggestions, I have included some similar decor items below. Enjoy! – Maggie