How to Avoid Home Staging Pitfalls

Avoid Home Staging Pitfalls

INTRODUCTION - Not long ago a friend of mine was in the market for an exotic sports car. He was looking for something fast and flashy. He had a six figure budget and was looking in the resale market where he presumed he could find a real value and a significant bang for the buck. He went to a dealership that had a variety of options. Can you guess what he found?

A lot full of high end sports cars that had been run hard and were in need of minor repair; exteriors that were dusty and dirty; and interiors that were a mess. Obviously he was disappointed, and while the dealer promised to make the necessary repairs, clean up, and detail the cars prior to the final sale, my friend lost interest and decided to move on. Honestly, I don’t blame him. In my opinion, if you have a high end sports car for sale, you’d better lead with your best foot forward, and present your car in its best possible light – absolutely polished.

I think this illustration sheds some light on the common pitfalls in preparing a home for sale, particularly when it comes to home staging. I cannot emphasize this point enough: You only have one shot to win your prospect. A qualified buyer will make up his or her mind in seconds, so make it count.

HOME STAGING ESSENTIALS - Our goal at White Orchid Interiors is to provide home staging services that accentuate special features or in some cases minimize awkward features or other functional concerns within a home; to create an emotional bond with prospective buyers and help the home appeal to a wide audience; to maximize the home’s value and reduce the days the home spends on the market. With these goals in mind, we emphasize that less is more (specifically in occupied properties); we depersonalize and de-clutter; and we make sure spaces are clearly defined (particularly in vacant properties). The last thing you want a prospective buyer to say is, “What’s the deal with this room?”

These home staging essentials apply to each of the various categories; occupied home staging, vacant home staging, and luxury home staging. Let’s talk briefly about avoiding three common pitfalls in preparing a home for sale. Think back to our exotic sports car shopping experience.

ONCE AND FOR ALL - At White Orchid Interiors, we really stress the point that sellers need to prepare their home for sale once and for all. We have engaged countless homeowners and real estate brokers looking for a desperate solution to get a property sold. The listing has been on the market for months, they’ve had in some cases hundreds of showings, and not a single offer. We stage the home and it sells in a matter of days. While there may be other factors, this scenario could be avoided if the homeowner and broker fully prepared the home for sale prior to the first showing.

PRIORITIZE ACTION ITEMS - This leads to our second point, be deliberate in prioritizing action items. Consider professional photography. These days, most qualified buyers view properties online and make a decision to schedule a showing based in part upon the photographs. Home staging is important, but it is even more important that you prioritize the order of operations. If you are going to stage a home, stage the home prior to, and for the benefit of, the photography that is to follow. Engage a home staging professional early in the listing process, make sure the rooms are staged with photographs in mind, and schedule the photographer in the final hours before the listing becomes active.

BE REALISTIC - Finally, be realistic in the listing process. Make an honest evaluation of the time, unique circumstances, and resources that are available. If a home needs allot of help – suppose paint colors are hectic, furniture is outdated, the lighting is tough, the home is cluttered by personal items, and the seller doesn’t have the time, money, or energy to tackle all of the looming issues – take a step back and engage a home staging company like White Orchid Interiors. We will help you establish realistic goals and objectives, to focus on the one or two highest priority action items. In short, do the best you can to prepare your home for sale given all available resources – lead with your best foot forward. Remember, you only have one shot to win the prospective buyer, so make it count!

This content was presented to the South Metro Denver Realtor Association by White Orchid Interiors.

Posted: September 15, 2011

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