To stage or not to stage….

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ToStageOrNotToStageBack in the bull market days of 2005-2006 the notion of needing to “stage” your home for a faster sale was nearly laughable.  But home sales in the Westchester market are not what they once were.  As  most seller’s are painfully aware – this is not 2006.  There is ample inventory on the market, prices are down and buyers are increasingly picky.   Things once deemed insignificant now become major stumbling blocks to a successful sale.

Increasingly, listing agents, myself included, are encouraging sellers to stage their homes prior to putting them on the market.  That includes, but is not limited to painting, pointing up and arranging furniture in a way that maximizes the potential of the space and creates a neutral atmosphere.  We ask that seller’s depersonalize the space so that buyers can “mentally move in.”

Although I am not one to spend a homeowners money needlessly,  there are times when I feel staging is essential.  Staging is most beneficial in the following cases:

Showing an empty home:

When the sellers have moved out – they tend to leave an empty shell of a house that used to be a home.  That house can tend to lack personality and be all too forgettable  to a prospective buyer. Right now there is an excess of inventory that is completely unfurnished and after a while they can all start to look the same to buyers.  If a house is in danger of becoming that forgettable – it needs staging in order to stand out in the eyes of buyers.

Showing a very dated space:

A space that looks like it was in the height of style during the  1970s complete with orange shag carpets and disco lighting definitely could use a facelift.   Not that there is anything wrong with the 70s – but many buyers weren’t even born yet and its hard for them to imagine their things in homes decorated in a way that their parents would appreciate.

Showing an awkward space:

Spaces that are tight or have an awkward configuration really benefit from proper staging.  Often buyers just can not possibly imagine how on earth to decorate a space.  Often they feel that their furnishings won’t fit.  In cases like this, it is vital that this objection be neutralized or the home will just “sit.”

For those who feel it is a waste of money, it should be noted that no one would stage if it didn’t actually work.  Staging can pay for itself.  If buyer’s find the space desirable and can imagine themselves in the home, they are more likely to make an offer and for top dollar.

© 2010 Ruthmarie G. Hicks – All rights reserved.

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