Vacant Home Staging – An Effective Marketing Tool

I can’t believe we’ve turned the clocks forward already.  It always makes me feel like Spring is right around the corner . . . and then it snows.

It’s been a mild winter, and I am not complaining – I stage even in the snow.  So, if we have less snow and warmer temperatures, I’m okay with that.  All the homes I staged in December and January were ready for de-staging in February.  We’ve spent the last few weeks de-staging from Pataskala to Upper Arlington and everywhere in between. The warehouse is stocked and ready for the Spring Market.

Last week I staged a downtown condo.  It’s the perfect home for a roommate situation, a younger or older professional (single or couple) or someone downsizing.  There are many possibilities with 2 full bathrooms and 2 large bedrooms on 2 floors.  I don’t think this one will last long.  You can see the listing at:

https://www.redfin.com/OH/Columbus/121-E-Noble-St-43215/unit-121-1/home/75700785

When I went to view the condo, the homeowners were meeting with their Real Estate Agent.  The wife introduced me to the agent and said to him, “do you think we need to stage this before listing”?  Without hesitation he said, “No”.

Staging is still an enigma (according to Google: mysterious, puzzling, and difficult to understand) to homeowners and to many Real Estate Agents.

It is important to remember when selling a home that the first impression will almost always be the online photos.  If a buyer is looking through a number of MLS listings trust me when I say the ones that they will be drawn to are the ones with professional photos of trendy model-like homes.  Staging is as much a part of marketing the home today as the MLS listing.  Here are four of the top reasons why staging a vacant home is critical:

#1 – PEOPLE DON’T BUY HOUSES, THEY BUY HOMES
The number one reason a buyer purchases a home is because it “felt home.”  It was warm, inviting and the buyer made an emotional connection with the home.   When have you ever heard of an empty room described as warm and inviting?  Sterile, cold and uninviting are
the three most popular words to describe an empty room.

A good example of this is found in one of the homes I staged in January.  This homeowner was in the middle of updating when I took the before photos.  It gives you an idea of what the home would look like if it were listed vacant.    

Here is the same (Professional) shot after it was staged.  Which one gives you that warm and fuzzy, emotional connection?  

#2 – Without Furniture, There Is No Frame Of Reference
How big is the room?  Without furniture it’s incredibly difficult to tell the scale and size of a room. When the buyer does not have answers to their questions-they walk away.  What is this room for?  Many times a buyer can’t even tell if it’s the living room or dining room in an unfurnished home.  Don’t keep buyers guessing; it only distracts them from considering the home as a purchase.

A different view of the same room.  Before staging; it doesn’t look that big.  Looking at the size of the wall with the windows, would you say your sofa would be a tight fit in that space?

After staging

Of course the professional photography makes a huge difference too.  It’s actually a large space.  It was staged it with a large sofa/chaise arranged it so that buyers were able to walk around the “chofa” with plenty of open space remaining.  Now buyers can “imagine” their own furniture in the space.

#3 – When A Room Is Empty, Buyers Focus On Negative Details
Can you imagine a brand new Mercedes without a paint job?  Do you think people would notice the beautiful car or the missing paint?  It’s so much easier to notice that crack in the wall, or the chip in the tile or anything, for that matter that might need updated or repaired when there is nothing else to look at.  Home Staging capitalizes on the positive aspects of a home, while de-emphasizing negative aspects in order to position a home that will make an emotional connection with buyers.  Staging shows buyer’s “what could be”; and that’s important
because . . .

#4 – Only 10% of Home Buyers Can Actually Visualize the Potential of Your Home
Nine out of every ten people walking in your home have no imagination of the wonderful possibilities your home has to offer them.  They can’t picture it.  Have you ever watched HGTV and seen Drew and Jonathan showing buyers homes and the wife says, “No, this isn’t the one, I don’t like the paint color”?  I’m the one screaming at the T.V: “DON’T GO!  YOU CAN CHANGE THE COLOR”!!  Not only can they not imagine a different color, but they can’t imagine what it would look like with furniture.  Don’t let a simple thing like no furniture or limited furniture ruin your sale.  Don’t take those odds; they will hurt you in the price significantly!  

Here’s a before and after of the living room in the same house

This house is a mainstream, average size, family home located in a Columbus neighborhood.  Staging helped this home sell fast and for more money.  

In just 3 days, the homeowner received 17 offers and this home sold for $15,000 over list price!!  

If you’re thinking of selling your home, or if you’re a Real Estate Agent who would like to learn more about how staging can help your clients, call me today.  Spring is right around the corner . . . really!