Why does home staging have some an impact on what attracts buyers and has them making offers on a property?

In preparing for my ezine this week I found a really interesting article posted in the Chicago Tribune called The Art and Psychology of Home Staging written by a Ph.D. graduate who became intrigued about the underlying psychology of staging. She and her fiancé were moving across the country and he was putting his house up for sale in Ann Arbor Michigan. Their stager, Kathi Persutti worked with Andrea to come up with a survey which received about 450+ responses from home stagers.

It’s an interesting article and I have included some of my own responses which are not necessarily what other home stagers think! This is an excerpt from it:

Q: What did they think was the most important thing?

A: The No. 1 in importance (6.55 on a 7 point scale) would be to remove personal items from bathrooms, such as used bars of soap, razors, toothbrushes, etc.

While I totally agree with the removal of personal items, I wouldn’t list the items in the bathroom as being of most importance. To me this is actually more about creating ‘s p a c e’ so that energy flows more easily and is not stopped in one area. Decluttering plays a big role in getting the property ready for selling.

Q: Why do you think it would be that specific thing?

A: I got this sense that the theory coming through in these answers is that people don’t want to feel that the house they’re buying is lived-in — that other human beings are shaving and brushing their teeth in it. They don’t want to imagine that other people are inhabiting the place we want to buy.

I wouldn’t agree with this. I don’t think people mind knowing someone else has lived in a home but what I think they do want is to get a sense that the home is clean and cared for, and that would translate into less maintenance required when they move in. There are definitely home buyers who will only move into a home no one else has lived in, but I don’t think it is a high percentage of buyers. It also translates into less time, money and energy that the home seller will have to put out after they move in if the home is clean and updated.

Q: Other surprises?

A: The No. 2 concern was that home sellers should use rooms for their intended purpose, that the dining room should contain dining furniture and not be used as an office. It surprised me that buyers would be unable to visualize a space other than the way it already looks. Like with walls painted in really bright colors. I guess buyers will get hung up on that, but it’s a cosmetic thing that could be easily changed, though it does affect their decisions a lot, according to stagers.

I totally agree with this for 2 reasons. The majority of people are not good at space planning and being able to imagine what their belongings would look like in a space. FUNCTION is always first in home staging for selling, and redesign for living. In staging it’s all about making it easy-peasy for the buyer to ‘get’ what they could do in that space.

The wall paint colour is a totally different subject. First and foremost the home needs to appeal to the sellers’ target/niche market. It’s unlikely that many buyers are looking for bright, colourful walls in the home they buy. I still believe in going neutral with the wall colour and bringing in bright trendy accent colours with the accessories – it’s so easy to do. (See photos below) Having bright unappealing paint colours just translate into more time, money and energy for the buyer to change them.

Q: Did your fiancé do a lot of staging to his home to get it sold?

A: Oh, yeah. His house was painted bright, intense colors, and we were told to make them very neutral. So we repainted, and it took a long time. We did a lot of things. When the pictures of it came out online, our friends said, “How come it didn’t look like this when you were living in it? That place looked gorgeous.”

In fact, we moved him out of it and he moved into my tiny apartment while the house was on the market because we didn’t think we could keep it as perfect as we thought it had to be.

There are 3 good points here.

1) I talked about the reasons we paint in neutral colours.
2) As home stagers we hear this comment all the time. Why don’t   people live this way in their home? Because they don’t know how and they   never hired a professional to do it for them. Sellers could have a   professional PRES home stager create that same look for them when they move.
3) I know you do need to keep the home looking good for showing   and yes, some people are able to move away. But if not, and there is a family   living there I suggest taking photos of the way the home stager wants it to   look and each time there is a showing, bring out the photos and do your best   to make it look good. Stay focused on your goal of selling quickly and for   top dollar – that might keep it neat.

Q: Did the house sell?

A: It did. It took about five months, and the average in Ann Arbor at that time was about six months.

Yeah home stagers do it again!

EMOTIONS: I want to mention ’emotions’ here as they come into play sometimes in a big way and sometimes in a smaller way when a home seller is selling the home. It’s important for everyone to be aware that the seller can feel really super fantastic about selling, or they can feel really super depressed that this is going on. It’s important for the realtor and the home stager to be 100% committed to the success of selling this home. The calmer the realtor and the home stager are, the better results they can get for their seller.

Colleen McClure
Colleen McClure Administrator & Proud owner of PRES Staging® - Expert Home Stager. When I was very young I began drawing interiors, it just came naturally. When I work with a client now, I see the finished project completed in my minds-eye as they explain how they would love to see their space created. I am able to provide sketches on the spot of their vision so this invokes client confidence and excitement for the project from the inception through to the brilliant manifestation – How Fun! When the economy did not support the luxury of home improvements, other passions led me to full-time work as a career counsellor. I very much enjoyed assisting people one-on-one to discover their own talents but this was an arena where I would develop effective techniques in workshop design and group facilitation as well. This would lead to a ‘happy marriage’ as I would apply these skills and passions when I purchased PRES Staging® - The Professional Real Estate Staging Centre. It’s truly the greatest joy to inspire others to discover and hone their innate talents – To witness their emerging confidence while coaching them on design principals and providing them the tools to start and run their own Home Décor businesses for Redesign and Staging. If you’ve ever thought you might enjoy this line of work, or even to do it for yourself and friends, get in touch – Let’s chat!