Love at First Sight: Staging a Home to Impress Buyers

April 26, 2011

Front door

If you were going on a date, would you wear sweats, a crumpled shirt and tennis shoes? Probably not. You would want to wear your most flattering outfit that accentuates your best features and then you’d add accessories to finish the look.

The same thing goes for selling a property. First impressions are critical.

In order to “woo” home buyers, you need to set the stage for seduction. It takes home buyers 10 seconds to form an opinion about a property. That means, when they enter a property or view it online, they need to connect to it immediately.

In order to connect potential home buyers to your property, you typically need to take yourself OUT of the property, which can be a difficult task for most homeowners.

That is why, hiring a home stager can be your best investment to help prepare your home for sale.

Unlike a decorator, who personalizes a home to its owners’ tastes, a home stager de-personalizes a space so it appeals to the greatest number of potential buyers. They help you physically and emotionally remove yourself from the property, so you can sell it quicker and for top dollar.

So when is the best time to contact a home stager, you ask? The minute you decide you want to move. Most people who have lived in their home for 5 – 10 years or more can no longer look at their space objectively. They’ve learned to live with cracks in walls, outdated fixtures and slightly soiled carpets. Therefore, it becomes essential to bring in a new set of eyes to look at your home with a fresh perspective.

A home stager will typically do a walk-through of the home and provide you with a comprehensive list of things to do to get your home ready to put on the market. This may include painting, minor repairs, updating of light fixtures, de-cluttering, re-arranging furniture, etc. This is referred to as the “initial consultation,” which lasts 1 ½ -2 hours and costs roughly $200 – $300.

Once the consult is complete, the homeowner can choose to tackle the staging themselves or they can hire the home stager to complete all or part of the job. When you hire a stager after the consult, they will typically charge between $50 – $75/hour to help a home seller remove unwanted furniture, shop for accessories, re-arrange furniture, de-clutter, select new light fixtures, and oversee any other cosmetic projects.

Many home stagers have access to painters, plumbers, handymen and contractors who can provide quotes on the various projects.  They are a good resource if you don’t have your own contractors or simply want a comparable quote.

Every home is different and the amount of time needed to complete the staging can range from 1 – 3 weeks depending on the scope of the work. That is why it is important to contact a home stager as early in the process as possible.

Remember, first impressions are critical and you do not want to lose potential home buyers because you didn’t properly prepare your home.

Thanks to a crop of television shows about real estate and decorating, people have become increasingly savvy to the impact of décor on a home. They want to see a spotless, inviting home that they can envision themselves living in.

People buy on emotions and specific paint colors, strategically placed accessories and furniture and beautiful artwork can be just the thing to create a “love at first sight” scenario for a potential buyer. In today’s market, the inventory of homes is high. If you want your property to stand out, then consider working with a home stager. Let them use their expertise to help you create that important love connection that will sell your home.

Written by Martha Ziegler, owner of Mazi Staging & Design 414.333.1956.

Mazi Staging is a participant in First Weber Group’s Southeast Wisconsin Concierge Desk program

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Thank you for reading the First Weber Wisconsin real estate & Wisconsin living blog for information on the importance of staging – make your home love at first sight for buyers.

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