Stop wasting money on ineffective staging.
Let me guess. You did the thing you are supposed to do and got 3 quotes for home staging services. Now, you are ready to pick the lowest one because, after all, margins are tight. Why should you spend money you don’t need to spend. All stagers are equal. Well, in the same way that all Realtors are equal, all Flippers are equal, and all Contractors are equal.
Oh, it’s not about the cheapest quote, it’s about the fact that your rehab went over budget and now you just don’t have enough money left in it for the whole staging package. You are going to go with “light staging” or perhaps “vignette staging”. Maybe you’ll still splurge for “partial staging”, where they stage a few rooms in the house.
Let’s define staging, so we can get on the same page.
Home Staging creates a measurable, marketable, change in the perceived value of the property.
Understanding this concept means that you understand that staging is more like marketing than interior design. We create value by controlling the buyer’s eye as they walk through the house. We not only create an emotion, a feeling of home, but we also lead the buyer to a trail of the property’s features and selling points.
Recently, I saw a post on Instagram where the home staging company boasted about offering “light staging” because the real estate investor went over budget on the rehab. I tried to comment on the point of the concept that offering something that is incomplete is not only putting your customer at a disservice, but your own reputation and value.
Beware the stager who will simply accommodate your budget.
Let’s pretend that you want to build a house. Your budget is $200,000, but the builder says to build the house properly, the budget needs to be $225,000. You tell the builder that you don’t have the money in the budget. Perhaps you thought you could get a better deal on the land, but that cost more than you thought. Maybe you didn’t realize how much it would cost to get power out to the lot. There were a lot of expenses you simply didn’t account for. You only have $200,000 to build the house. The builder understands and agrees to build the house, at your defined budget, but in order to do so, he will have to make a few cut backs. Perhaps we could choose not to do insulation. After all, that’s not all that noticeable when you look at the surface. Maybe we could cut back on the flooring. You can certainly put your furniture on concrete or plywood. How many other things would you be willing to cut back on, and still believe you have an acceptable home from a builder?
The same is true with home staging. Let’s discuss a couple of scenarios and see how they could affect potential home buyers.
Standard Staging Guideline: Seating:
You should have at least enough seating at dining tables and in living spaces as the number of bedrooms + one. This means that in a 4 bedroom house, you should have seating for 5.
The purpose of home staging is to create perceived value. When the stager begins to sidestep the basic guidelines, and shortchanges the room by adding a round table and four chairs vs a rectangular table and seating for at least six, they leave potential buyers with the impression that the room may not comfortably accommodate their family, not their just table. Buyers don’t see potential, they see what’s their, which is why home staging is an effective tool, when done properly.
This is the same issue in the family room. The family room needs to be large enough to accommodate the entire family, plus friends and guests. By short changing the space, you also short change the seller, and the value our industry brings to real estate.
Create the lifestyle for the home buyer in your staging.
While each house is unique, it should showcase a lifestyle directly related the most likely purchasing demographic. This isn’t about decorating, it’s about MARKETING.
The furnishings and items put into the house should express the lifestyle and taste of the specific buyer most likely to want to live in this house. In this example, the four bedroom home, in a young family neighborhood showcases trends appropriate for the age group, and family style most likely to live here. There is appropriate seating, and the appropriate amount of furnishings, art, and accessories, to create an aspirational lifestyle.
Additionally, staging should reflect the way today’s buyer lives. In the photo above, we added a TV and console, opposite the fireplace, because the area over the fireplace is too narrow to accommodate most of the 65″ TV’s for this demographic. This allows for potential buyers to see alternatives that will actually fit their lifestyle. There is ample seating for everyone in the house (number of bedrooms + at least one).
Why ‘less than’ staging is a bad deal.
While we understand that the cost of full home staging is more expensive than other alternatives, the question really should be, “What’s the return on my investment?” rather than the upfront cost. This is particularly true when you consider that Rave Home Staging offers 90 day Net options, often meaning that sellers don’t pay until closing.
When paying a minimal amount for ‘light staging’, you may find that there is negligible difference in change to buyer perception. If the questions aren’t answered, consistently throughout the entire house, then it won’t answer questions about balance, flow, and lifestyle (luxury), then they aren’t likely to believe the house is worth more than when it was empty. Making an investment, in quality staging, where the stager understands and utilizes market data, you are likely to get up to $3000 – $5000, in return, for every $1000 you investment.
If you are interested in learning more about demographic staging, consider taking our Master Series, Vacant 2.0 course.