Q: I am thinking about selling my home, and I have read that staging a home is a good idea. However, I have limited resources, and the thought of staging my home is overwhelming to me at this point. Do I really have to stage it? Alice in Pleasanton
Alice, that is a great question. The short answer is no, you do not have to stage your home. You can sell any property in any condition provided it is priced properly. For some sellers, staging is problematic because they just don’t have the time or energy to thin out closets, remove furniture, etc. Sometimes sellers just want to sell the property the way it is without having to do a long list of items that the Realtor or stager recommends. Sometimes there is resistance to change, for example after the passing of a loved one. These are valid feelings, and the good news is that no you do not HAVE to stage your home.
The biggest benefit of staging a home before putting it on the market is that you increase the appeal of the property. Buying a home is an emotional decision first. How the home “feels” to a potential buyer is arguably the biggest factor in determining if they are going to pursue it. The goal of staging and preparation is to make the house feel more open, spacious, and inviting. It does not have to be expensive. In fact, many home stagers can use most if not all of the owner’s furnishings to transform the look and feel of the home. Things like rearranging or removing furniture, or adding greenery and light, bringing in accessories or art, and even painting can be done with a very small expense on the part of the seller. And the results can be dramatic. Because so much of the decision on the part of the buyer is based on the emotional impact of the home, it makes sense to do all you can to improve the living space to make it more inviting and have a wider appeal to potential buyers.
This goes for the exterior of the home as well. Inexpensive items like trimming, new bark or ground cover, paint, polishing the door hardware, new light fixtures, etc can have a dramatic impact on the buyer before they ever set foot in your home. Many experts claim that the first 30 seconds that a buyer sees your home will make or break the sale. It just makes sense to do everything you can to increase the appeal of your property so you have a better chance of enticing the buyer to write an offer on your home.
A good home stager can give you a list of suggestions on how to improve the appeal of your home. You are not obligated to do any or all of them, but smart sellers know that a little bit of preparation can have a big pay off when it comes time to the interest level of potential buyers.