Staging: Helpful or Hassle?
One of those quotes we’re accustomed to seeing – and using – doesn’t exactly mean what we think it does when it spills out of our mouths. “All the world’s a stage,” really speaks to the world being a stage show, and all humans are simply actors; everyone has a role, everyone has a part. Well, in the world of real estate, all the world really IS a stage. And it reveals itself, most often once you push open that front door and let happenstance (read: fate) take over.
We are all aware of the ‘varied’ tastes and decorating abilities exhibited by clients and homeowners. At times, we’ve wondered aloud about their ability to dress themselves and find their way to work. Stepping into a home with a mishmash of design sensibilities and execution is as off-putting for your client as it is detrimental for the homeowner to find their way to a quick sell. Not everyone has the talent or imagination for highlighting specific aspects of their home which can go a long way in doing the work for you. An integral part of preparing a home for sale can be ‘staging’, or doing everything and anything you can to enhance the visual appeal, as well as create a basis for the perfect buyer (e.g., someone with design imagination and the willingness to make changes post-sale).
Not everyone is going to have the budget to replace furniture or paint multiple rooms or make repairs to obvious areas in need of some TLC. Your client doesn’t have change everything about their home, but they need to understand and have a willingness, at the front end of the selling process, to absorb the fact that the pink walls in the dining room need to go, or that an extensive ‘editing’ of the knick-knacks will showcase those special parts of a room or the home that are enticing to buyers. Don’t wait until there have been two or three or four showings with frowns and sighs and negative feedback. Time is of the essence, and the sooner you can make your ‘product’ more appealing, the less time (hopefully) there will be between a showing and a contract.
I poked around and found a great article (https://frederickrealestateonline.com/decorating-staging-trends-2022/) listing TEN staging ideas a seller can consider when getting their home ready for sale. I don’t agree with all of them. For example, “The New Modern. As more people become digital nomads, that trend is influencing our tastes, whether we even travel or not. We are exposed to the world in a way that was never possible before. Can you have a maximalist design that incorporates zen, minimalism, and neutrals? Yes, you can…you can have it all.” Zen? Maybe.
I think most people would prefer a calming paint color, or the furniture arranged smartly, in a way that lets them imagine themselves living in the home. As with any ‘Best Ideas’ lists, you have to read the room, right? And as a real estate professional considering the ‘staging’ conversation, you need to take into consideration those ideas which your seller can legitimately afford, those for which they have a true interest, and whatever helps move that needle, gets the showings, and ultimately helps get all parties to the closing table. Period.