What is Often Missed When Staging a Home for Sale

Kitchen Vignette Ideas

All successful agents prepare a list or action plan for a home owner for things to do before putting a home on the market.  Typically this list includes de-cluttering, cleaning until it sparkles along with rearranging any furniture to improve the traffic flow and to make the photos look amazing!

The next step, that is frequently missed, is adding the 'emotional connection' items that give the buyers pause and make them fall in love.  Adding a bed tray, colorful coffee mugs in a basket by the coffee pot or lemonade on the patio all bring a positive appeal to the home.  Contrived?  Possibly-but we are advertising the home and it works!

Selling a home is the largest financial transaction a person will probably ever make in a lifetime.  It is based not just on the price, but the emotions of the buyers.  I have yet to meet a buyer that chose a home on price alone.   
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February 17 2011 - Saint Louis
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Audrey, you are so Right!  Alluring Senses capture the emotions of buyers as well as visuals. The bright and cheerful displays of clever arrangements strategically placed in living areas, sweet aromas, and lighting will bring a sense of being Home to many.  And...not to forget making the Entrance welcoming.
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February 18 2011

Just by staging your home, you can add 10% to the sales price. I have created a step by step plan that helps sellers do just that: http://www.fingerlakesproperties.com/enhancement.htm

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February 18 2011
Exterior Curb Appeal In the Winter! I know, why & how?  It's cold outside you are in the car looking out and the buyer's mind may be made up already that the task of gardening will be impossible.  Ant mounds, bare trees, pale grass..not the most visually inviting picture.

 In Texas, we use pansies (seasonal & generally cold resistant), trim bushes, add in small garden flare (stones, statues, fountains) & mulch (it covers any bare or cold stricken flower beds plus it gives a nice pop of color).
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February 19 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
Patios and closets. Patios can be a selling feature and a comfortable bistro chair and table looks nice from the inside looking out. A pot of flowers on the table is inexpensive and attractive.

Closets that are packed tight suggest no space. Taking out volume and leaving just the basics allows the buyer to picture living in the house.
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February 19 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
What is often missed?

Garages - often piled high with all the stuff that is "hiding" so that the stager can do their job.

Side yards - full of detritus hopefully on the landfill, but maybe forgotten before the closing.
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February 19 2011
Great ideas! 
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March 03 2011
Have a vacant home to sell, with empty closets? Want a quick enhancement to add a touch of "class"?

Collect shopping bags from high end stores, and strategically place them on shelves in empty closets.... or hang them from sachet filled hangers (no, you can't use wire or plastic hangers!)..........amazing what a Tiffany, Saks, Fendi or Chanel shopping bag can do for a closet!!  :)
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March 03 2011
Profile picture for droopyd
I'd caution against adding too many cutesy "designer flourishes" pulled from the pages of design magazines and home furnishings catalogs.

As a buyer, I want to see the space with simple furnishings laid out in its optimal use, possibly accented by a very few simple and well-chosen decorations. Or I want to see it completely empty.

I don't want to be distracted by too many "darling" little arrangements of junk scattered about. Your selling a house, not design ideas.

Just make sure the place is clean and uncluttered.

And as far as baking cookies, etc., please don't bother. I want to know if the place smells like cat pee if I'm not baking 24/7.

Then again, I'm probably not your typical buyer. I guess a lot of people still fall for the sizzle and overlook the quality of the steak.
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March 04 2011
And to add to that emotional purchase -  I am not an agent who asks my clients to put all their photos away.  Keep out some nice, quality photos. When I was house shopping myself and saw nice photos of a happy family it certainly added to my emotional appeal of the home.
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March 10 2011

I used to sale new construction homes and we would have the displays all decorated out with the nicest stuff. Every time I showed the home it was always a big wow factor when they walked in.

I believe in the baked cookies, it gets them emotionally attached and people buy on emotion. Smell is the strongest sense to memory

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March 10 2011
As the owner of The Well Dressed Home, a professional residential staging firm and realtor with Coldwell Banker, here is my biggest tip:  always hide your toothbrush and close the toilet seats!  it always leaves an unconscious "yuck" if it's not done!

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March 10 2011
Profile picture for kelemental
Helene is so right - I can't stand photos of bathrooms with the toilet lid up, or God forbid, the seat up.  that is so unappealing.
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April 16 2011
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Electrical cords running from tables/dressers across walls to the outlet are one of my peeves. They are distracting in photos and make rooms look somehow messy. Keeping rooms orderly helps set the scene for a buyer.
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April 16 2011
I especially like dirty clothes in the laundry area, I think it adds that special 'je ne sais quoi' to a home....haha, kidding...put away your laundry!

I have  had buyers who are so  completely turned OFF by the plug in room deodorizers, that they have refused to LOOK at the home .....as the seller, you might be used to it, but there are buyers out there who don't like them lighten up on them.

In the garage, if your trash cans are there, spray them with a deodorizing spray to help eliminate smells. Or wash them out!

If you like 'exotic foods' and cook them a lot, rent or purchase a room deodorizer to neutralize the smells.
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April 16 2011

How about when there is a pet that is loose and you have to make sure they don't run out the door. Nothing like trying to look at a house when there is a little barking dog at your ankles. If you are an owner and you have a showing take the dog with you!!

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April 18 2011
Very senseible and honest summary.  Thanks.
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April 18 2011

Curb appeal is everything for some buyers.  Especially if the house has been completely remodeled and there are patches missing in the grass.  Sometimes there is even no grass or even mulch around the flowers.  Most buyers like a some grass.  Some buyers won't go in, especially those with a green thumb.  They feel if the yard looks that bad there has to be something half done in the house too.

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May 05 2011
It's all in the balance.   The "designer flourishes" that make a house a home are valuable in that they keep the place from being sterile, and a few good photos speak of a happy life in the house.  But... I've been in too many over-staged homes.  Once,  where the Open House took place around an armchair with a steaming cup of tea beside it, an artfully-placed open book and a soft throw casually tossed aside... the effect was actually a little creepy.  Buyers looked around to see what happened to the people who appeared to have been zapped out of existence seconds before.   One little boy started calling it the "ghost chair" - I think he said it all.  

BTW I love the designer shopping bag idea - Thanks Debbie
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October 04 2011
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if the front door needs to be painted or cleaned - you've already set a bad impression.   so many people dress up the inside and ignore that front door.
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October 04 2011

2 words...sexy sells.  Why do we dress up when we meet a prospective client?...because we are trying to present the best image of ourselves.  The homes we list want the same treatment when it's being interviewed by new prospects.

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October 04 2011
Audrey:

An aspect that many people neglect is their wall hangings and decorations. When selling a house, sellers should leave ample empty wall space, which may  entail removing photos or pictures that they like. Selling a house calls for a farewell to any emotional attachment to the house.

The reason to leave the empty space is so that buyers can start to imagine their own items on the walls. It's one of the ways buyers make the home their own and start to move toward a buying decision.

Marc Jablon, The Jablon Team
Realty Associates
[contact information and hotlink removed by Zillow moderator]
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October 04 2011
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A lot of good ideas...rule of thumb...less is best.
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November 05 2011
I think what is missed often in staging a property is the lived in feeling of a home. Sometimes in the effort to declutter and depersonalize, what is removed is the real life feeling a house needs to make buyers feel like it is their home. This from an ASP (Accredited Staging Professional)
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November 19 2011
I do agree with adding emotional connection points, but when doing some advanced staging techniques, they are easy to overdo and do incorrectly.  That's when the staging looks too contrived and the focus becomes on the staging and not the house.  The purpose of staging is to highlight and draw attention to the home's best features.  So yes - luxurious bedding with lots of throw pillows, beautiful matching lamps with appropriate decor, but NO bedtray with wine glasses on it ... it really does look odd when you tour in the middle of the afternoon.  I also think staging varies by region and style of home.  All too often I see my clients to a lot of research and much of what they implement is not necessarily beneficial!  
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November 20 2011
Profile picture for the_country_hick
I think what is missed the most is that the buyer who "loves the home" will not love it so much if all the staging material goes away. That means all staging stuff should remain with the house upon the sale.
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November 20 2011
Dan , Dan.
Staging , would have provided the the new owners some ideas ,which in addition to their ownd  ideas, will enhance the beauty of their new home.
There is no need to leave the staging materials in the house after the closing  of escrow.
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December 19 2011
since the thread was opened back up...
I found a nice article on staging.  Here's the link.
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December 19 2011
What is often missed is the "connection" between buyer & "home". What I mean by this is: buyers want to imagine themselves in your (sellers) space. Sellers have to do their best to detach themselves from their space when they are really ready to sell. Pack up all the personal photos, put away all your knick knacks, pack up anything you can live w/o until moving day. Buyers want to see your space, not your stuff. Stuff can be distracting and bother a buyer enough that they can't see past it....therefore, they can't imagine themselves in your space. Keep it simple, clean, decluttered, remove wall paper and neutralize....it works everytime!
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December 19 2011
Profile picture for homestagesdesigns
Yes Audrey first impression is everything.  A buyer will make a decision about a property the minute their feet are in the door.  All sellers must have the understanding that they must market their property as product and prepare it for the showing.  With so many homes on the market these days a seller needs to make sure their home stands out and Home Staging is a must!
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January 11 2012
Honestly, you can only do so much to a home... you must do what works for you and what you have seen work. No matter what you do your words are powerful and can bring the vision a buyer needs to a home. But all of these are great ideas that can get a home sold. People care about the cosmetics.
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January 26 2012
 
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