After you’ve found your dream home on the Parade of Homes, it’s time to get your current place ready to sell. One of the keys to getting the best price for your current home? Home staging done right. Focus on your home’s strengths, downplay the weaknesses and appeal to the largest number of buyers with these home staging tips.
There’s plenty of content online about home staging before selling, most with similar recommendations to de-clutter, clean, repair and de-personalize your spaces. All great advice. But we wanted to know a little more about professional services and why so many of today’s homeowners are turning to them when they want to sell.
“In a nutshell, professional staging is going to help you sell your home faster and for more money,” explains Janet Lawrence, owner of Set To Show, a Twin Cities’ based staging firm. “It really is a win-win situation as it saves on carrying costs to sell faster, and who doesn’t want more money in your pocket when you sell.”
Hiring a stager is pretty much like hiring a REALTOR®, you want to find someone who has their fingers on the pulse of the local market. These folks make it a point to know what resale homes are selling best and in the shortest time span. You may think any interior designer could be a stager, but you’d be wrong. Good interior designers will create individual spaces that meet your family’s needs and suits your personal styles, but a stager does something a bit different.
“Your home is a product on a shelf to a good stager,” Lawrence explains. “It’s not all about design nor is it about your personal tastes. We want you to stand out as a better value and a better choice than the next house.”
One of the ways a good stager does that is by being brutally honest about the condition of your home. They’ll take notice of details you’ve long gotten used to, like those nicks in the cabinetry or the smells prospective buyers will notice when they walk in the door. “I recently advised one client who loves brussels sprouts to stop cooking them until her home sells as that was the first thing I noticed when I visited,” Lawrence remarks.
Your home’s best target market may be a family very different than your own, especially if you’ve lived there for a decade or two. An empty nester couple may find that young families are their best audience, so the dark cherry kitchen and ornate upholstered furniture you love may just turn them off. A stager will help identify problems and help you focus on the areas that are most important to today’s buyers.
The best stagers will also try to understand what their clients’ goals are. Lawrence recently worked for a woman who lived in an old 1920s farmhouse and barn on a five-acre parcel. She could have sold her home and land to a builder for about $300,000 to tear down and make room for a higher-density neighborhood. But after raising her family on the property, her real goal was to find a family that wanted to have the same delightful environment that her family had enjoyed.
Lawrence presented a plan that involved a $100,000 investment to empty the barn, clean, repair and update some key parts of the home. At the end of the day, her client sold the property for over $600,000 to a family that will cherish the memories they’ll make on their new acreage.
When you decide it’s time to sell, you may just want to consider hiring a professional. If not, then just remember to think about your house like a stager does. Take care of deferred maintenance, consider updates in the kitchen, family room and bath (three of the most important areas today), de-clutter and hide all those personal items, and clean, clean, clean!
Written by Wendy Danks
Wendy Danks (wendydoodles.com) has had a career-long love affair with the Parade of Homes, spending the last 20 years as its marketing and communications director. Recently retired, she now has time to spend on her other great love, writing.