Let me begin by saying that this article is geared toward homeowners who are thinking of selling their homes and the Realtors who are selling them. The rest of you might not find this info all that thrilling…
The 2 Types of Home Staging
I’ve done a lot of home staging in my days and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked into the fearstruck eyes of homeowners who are CERTAIN I’m going to spend all their money and turn their home upside down (which is what I do to Tim the hubby, but not my clients).
Why? Because they watch TV and therefore, are FULLY informed as to how home staging works. You know, the kind where you spend approx. 1 – 3% of the listing price, bring in a team of trades to update and renovate and WHAM BAM, THANK YOU MA’AM, 3 days later it’s ready for the market.
Oh reality TV, you are SO not realistic sometimes.
There are in fact 2 types of Real-life Home Staging…
And remember, NOT EVERY HOME IS STAGEABLE! Well, let me rephrase that, EVERY home is stageable, but not every homeowner is willing for emotional and/or financial reasons and we have to respect that. So, there is the odd home that just needs to be sold as-is and priced accordingly. We Home Stagers have quite the job, acting as decorators, stagers AND psychologists (wink wink).
And this whole article is really a series of bulleted points, but it’s the best way to point out the pros and cons of both styles.
The Full Meal Deal Home Stage
This first type is similar to what you would see on TV and usually includes several, if not all of the following…
- Rented or purchased furniture and accessories
- Trades such as painters, tilers and flooring installers
- Minor and major renovations and updates including products such as paint, new countertops, cabinets, backsplashes, flooring, fireplaces and window coverings
- The rental of a storage unit for existing furniture and odds and ends
- Cleaning, decluttering, depersonalizing and redecorating
- On average, 1-3% of the listing price is spent
- A timeline of 2-4 weeks
- This type of Staging shows a home at its absolute BEST. If you have the time, money and access to qualified help and rentable furnishings, then this is a great way to go.
- They say (whoever ‘they’ are) that you can expect a return of 2-3 times what you invest, so it’s a great way to make more money.
- It can also reduce the time that your home spends on the market as it will be more appealing to the majority of buyers and more attractive than the competition.
- Works great for homes that are empty and homeowners with funds to effectively stage the main rooms.
- It’s simple – time and money.
- If you just need furniture rental, accessories, decluttering and cleaning you can have this done in under 1 week. If you need trades and new products this can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks (if you’re lucky)
- The idea of spending 1-3% of your listing price is great if you HAVE that money to spend and trust me, not everyone does.
- You will have ongoing expenditures/monthly costs with the furniture rental as well as a storage unit (if needed). This comes off of your bottom line. If your home sells quickly then you’re lovin’ it. If the market isn’t so hot and you’re sitting on your home for more than a few months, this can get pretty pricey pretty quick.
- Not every city has access to staging supplies. Larger cities have freakin’ GLORIOUS warehouses of couches, lamps and artwork. In other parts of the world (like Nanaimo) there are no great mecca’s of staging and you’re left having to buy items at stores such as Home Sense, Urban Barn and on a bad day – Walmart
- If you are renting furniture and have children, you may want to invest in some plastic covers otherwise you may end up owning it…
- It can be stressful. Handing your home over to professionals and crossing your fingers that the money you are spending will MAKE you money can be emotionally draining, particularly during the ‘update and renovate’ process.
The ‘Lets Get ‘er Done’ Home Stage
And then there’s the ‘other’ type of home staging, the redheaded stepchild (I can say that because I am one) to the ever-popular ‘go big or go home’ style of home staging. It is less known but equally as valid as it follows the principle of…
‘Make the best of what you have and improve where you can afford to’
In this example above, we spent NO money and simply decluttered and reorganized.
On the high side, you might spend upwards of $500 to make some necessary changes to your home, but more often than not, the shopping list is under $150 and includes many of the following:
- A goal of spending ‘little to no money’ on things that aren’t completely necessary
- Getting the house in listing condition in 4-7 days
- A major focus on the 5 Key Rooms. A minor focus on the secondary spaces (and each home is different)
- Furniture repositioning to improve flow and to accent features/camouflage flaws
- A detailed to-do list for the homeowner outlining what things need to be packed away, decluttered and depersonalized (some people prefer to do this themselves)
- Purchase of minor accessories where needed (toss cushions, mirror, plant, etc…)
- Budget-allowing, investment in a few accent pieces such as small tables, chairs, area rugs, lamps
- A detailed to-do list of items that need to be cleaned/fixed/replaced. This list is for the homeowner to do (if capable), saving them the cost of hiring someone to do this for them.
- A detailed list as to how to best leave the home for showings and open houses
- A list of minor updates that the homeowner could do to improve the saleability of their home if they have the funds/time available (ie: cabinet hardware, light fixtures, paint, etc..)
- It’s efficient and gets the home on the market fast
- It’s affordable for everyone
- Realtors can actually include this type of staging in their marketing (if they are smart – wink wink) at no cost to the homeowner
- It’s less stressful and relatively pain free (on your emotions and your wallet). Let’s face it, selling a home can be stressful, particularly for those who have lived in their home a long time/seniors. Reducing this stress and just doing ‘what needs to be done to get the ball rolling’ is simply put, a kindness.
- It can reduce the amount of time a home spends on the market as the home has more mass appeal
- While a home can be greatly improved with very simple things, it’s not as drastic or effective as renting/buying furniture/renovating.
- It can improve the sale price of the home as well as the amount of time the home spends on the market, but may be fractional compared to the investment potential of ‘The Full Meal Deal’.
It’s not rocket science here. A home with good bones often just needs a decluttering and cleaning to make it ‘showing ready’.
So, which type of home staging do I prefer? Well, if I’m watching TV then I’m all for Option 1. However, having lived in the real world for a few years now, I much prefer Option 2 as a way to improve a home’s selling potential without having to do more than is necessary.
And yes, the avid ‘Full Meal Deal’ Home Stagers may claim that the less expensive form of home staging isn’t ‘home staging’, it’s ‘getting your home ready for listing’. Call it what you want, but either choice is better than doing nothing which is often the choice of the misinformed homeowner.
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Kylie M Interiors Interior Decorating and Design. Home Staging. Blog. Affordable Decorating Tips and Ideas. E-Design and Consulting Services. Based in Nanaimo BC Vancouver Island and serving the whole darned World!