Home staging is a relatively new concept in real estate. Thirty years ago, home staging was unheard of and a good cleaning and organizating of the home was all homeowners needed to put their home on the market. However, American real estate professionals have been reinventing and perfecting the best ways to sell real estate since the formation of the first and oldest real estate brokerage firm in the U.S., Baird Warner, in 1855.
The foundation of this firm unofficially kicked off the modern era of the American real estate profession. Over the next 120-ish years, American homes were subject to a plethora of reinventions, facelifts and repurposings. By 1972, when the self-proclaimed first home-stager burst on the scene, American homes now held modern kitchens, indoor plumbing and baths, and colored tvs. The inaugural home stager, Barb Schwarz, told the New York Times she currently holds a federal trademark on the word “stage” in reference to sprucing up homes for sale in order to entice potential buyers.
Since Schwarz’s founding of home staging as a career in 1972, the use of home staging in real estate began as a slow burn that eventually caught fire as Schwarz was joined by other creative types who discovered a passion for styling homes that appeal to the masses. Now, in 2018, staging your home is considered a necessity by most realtors and real estate professionals.
Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?
If you have a keen eye for decorating and think that you can separate your personal attachments to the possessions filling your home, you may be able to pull off staging your home yourself. However, if you can’t understand why buyers won’t find Grandma Pearl’s antique quilts and Depression glassware as appealing as you do, it’s probably best to hire a professional stager. One of the main tasks a professional home stager must achieve is to take the “you” out of your home. Will they throw out Grandma Pearl’s beloved antiques? Absolutely not. But they will pack those quilts and glassware neatly into storage for you to love all over again in your new home. Expect other personal effects such as photos, awards and color-drawn masterpieces by your children to also be stowed away and replaced with neutral decor pieces.
If you do decide to try staging your home yourself, here’s a few things to remember:
Get ready to put in elbow grease. The first step in staging a home is a good ol’ fashioned spring cleaning. Throw out trash, clear the clutter and scrub those cabinets and baseboards. It’s kind of like selling an old car. A carefully detailed cleaning can make a used car seem almost new again. Same goes for homes.
Store away most or all items smaller than a basketball. This is a rule of thumb followed by professionals that insures personal effects like photographs and books are kept to a minimum, allowing buyers to picture themselves in the home instead of the current owner.
Look each room with an unbiased filter. Forget that you’re looking at the room that has grown from a nursery for a baby girl to preteen paradise beloved by your 12-year-old daughter. Will all of those Niall Horan posters really appeal to a buyer with three sons? Probably not, which means it’s time to explain to your daughter why those posters have to go until moving into a new home. While it may be quite easy to determine what can stay and what should go in your kids’ rooms or your husband’s man cave, the same can’t always be said when it comes to looking at the living room or master bedroom you so carefully decorated.
Make a checklist of last-minute staging tasks. Close the toilet lid. Take out the trash. Wash up any dishes left in the sink. Give wooden furniture one more dusting before the showing begins. The best way to insure these small but important chores are completed before each showing is to make a list and check it twice.
If all else fails, call a professional. If you think you can handle staging your home but the task ultimately proves to be too much, have a list of professional stagers in your area ready.
The kitchen and bathroom are two of the most important rooms in the home and in the real estate market. A poorly designed kitchen can greatly decrease the value and appeal of an otherwise lovely home. McCarley Cabinets will work with you from beginning to end to design and build the perfect kitchen for the home. Give us a call to get started with a free estimate now.