Many home sellers believe staging and performing home preparations is all about making a living space more beautiful. While maximizing a property’s appeal is always part of the goal, the potential benefits can actually extend much further.
When well-executed, staging and strategic home upgrades can provide an impressive return in the form of more interest from buyers, and even a quicker and more profitable sale. That said, to get the most from the process, it’s important to understand it—and whether it’s right for your home.
If you’re ready to sell your property, here’s what you need to know about staging…
Staging and Home Preparations: the Basics
Contrary to popular belief, staging amounts to much more than pretty furniture, decor, and paint colours. Likewise, improving a home to boost its return doesn’t have to mean gutting it for a major remodelling job (another common misconception).
The right preparations are meant to create a space that appeals to many different buyers—one that highlights a property’s usability and best aesthetic qualities. To achieve this goal, every step should ensure that it embodies three basic principles: newness, light, and flow.
When your home is professionally prepared for the market, it should look new. No matter the style, you want it to appear pristine and have a clean, modern feel. Scouring, decluttering, and depersonalizing a property (by removing items that make it feel lived-in) can go a long way toward creating a sense of newness. In some cases, updating finishes and appliances can make an even stronger impression—and have a positive impact on your bottom line.
There are certain things that appeal to almost every buyer. One of them is airiness. A home should feel as bright, spacious, and open as possible before it goes on the market. No matter your layout, a staging and home-preparation professional can help you highlight these universally-appealing qualities with the right neutral colours, cosmetic improvements, furniture arrangements, and more.
Flow & Symmetry
Moving around in a gorgeously-staged home should feel effortless, as should the path your eye takes around each room. The spacing of furniture and decor can make all the difference. From traffic flow to balance and symmetry, an experienced professional will ensure that your home feels comfortable, easy-to-navigate, and perfectly pulled together.
One last thing to note. Many people hear “neutral paint” or “streamlined decor” and think “boring.” While your home preparations should appeal to a large pool of buyers, the aesthetic they contribute to should never be dull. A professional with vision will know how to strike just the right balance—one that ensures your home has a personality, and feels full of life.
When you stage and prepare your home to highlight its beauty, function, and key selling features, you’re making an investment—one that can pay off big. If you make significant improvements (which may include steps like working with a contractor to retile your floors), every dollar you spend during the process could result in as much as a 2 to 3 dollar return.
For those selling a home that’s functioned as their principal residence, there’s more good news. The profits you receive through your sale will almost certainly be tax-free. That’s because capital gains on a principal residence aren’t taxed (as long as your home has been designated as such for every year that you’ve owned it).
Lastly, homes that are staged tend to sell much quicker. According to the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), a property that’s gone through the staging process sits on the market for 23 days on average. That number leaps to 184 for those that haven’t.
While the potential benefits of staging and home improvements are known to many sellers, the logistics are discussed less often. Perfectly-executed improvements won’t just look good. They’ll also be completed on time, and on budget. The key to achieving this outcome is working with an agent who has both staging expertise and project-management skills.
Look for an agent who can coordinate timelines and communication between various professionals, from cleaners to contractors to any other design professionals who may be involved. Allowing someone else to take on this role will reduce your own stress while providing the most for your real estate commission.
You may also want to consider working with a solo agent—someone who can devote the time and energy required to managing the process. Last (but certainly not least), the professional you choose shouldn’t pressure you into taking steps you aren’t comfortable with. If some remodelling work could significantly boost your return, your agent should tell you.
That said, a true expert can help you optimize your space no matter your budget and timeline.
Should Your Home Be Staged?
While staging and upgrades can lead to a higher potential return, not every home requires this treatment. Some properties just need a light touch (like cleaning and repainting), while others could benefit from more extensive updates (such as redoing any flooring and outdated finishes).
Then, there are those homes that may not need much (if anything) in the way of improvements. An experienced agent can help you determine whether your property should be staged or updated. They’ll present you with your options, coordinate any work you decide to have done, and (most importantly) set you on the path to the most profitable sale possible!
Interested in learning more about staging—and how it can help you maximize your returns? Reach out to learn how I can help you achieve a fantastic selling outcome.