When I was first licensed in 1996, the idea of a professional stager to prepare a home for sale was about a foreign as trying to sell a house on “The Internet.” In other words, a good place to waste money. Everyone knew that you sold houses on the MLS, the Sunday supplement, and the picture magazines. If someone’s house was a shambles, we brushed up on our Dale Carnegie, had a diplomatic conversation, and hopefully influenced them to straighten the place out. Nothing was maximized. Nothing was optimized. “Staged” was an adjective.
Staging is now an active verb. And the more competitive the market gets, the more people seek an edge, the more staging rises in prominence in our industry. In 1996, the MLS allowed one photo, typically an exterior photo, and people could extrapolate or conjecture whether the curb appeal translated to an appealing interior. With 30 photos on our local MLS and the transparency of other media like virtual tours, there is nothing to hide any longer. Eye appeal, nose appeal, and interior presentation have joined curb appeal as selling points we can no longer leave alone. People know what you have.
So how do you know if you need the services of a professional stager to get that edge, to attract more tours, more offers and more money? Quite frankly, if you have to ask, you probably need to speak with a stager. Not the lady from the upholstery store. Not Aunt Ethel who makes her own dresses cute as a button. A professional, accredited stager. The real thing. And if you speak with a stager who insults you or makes you feel uncomfortable, you speak with one whom you relate better. Tens of thousands of dollars could be on the line (and probably are), and the cutting of corners is ill-advised.
A trained set of eyeballs, an acute mind, and experience go a long way. The box that a stager lives in is far larger, more objective and often more creative than the inertia of familiarity that a biased homeowner has in their world. They won’t bite.
For our part, our firm offers all our listing clients a free consultation with a professional, accredited home stager. She’s dynamite, and committed to educating sellers. We want to walk our talk.