I'm a visual gal. My brain connects best with anecdotes and photos (and I'm not talking about a picture of a bar graph). Data is great, sure, but for my brain it's the photos that stand out, and I know I'm not alone. So I thought it may help the creatives among us to see a visual presentation of the power of staging. For my recent listing in Ravenna (scheduled to close this week well over list price!) I reached out to our photographer and asked for her to make 2 separate trips. The first a day before we staged, and the next for the listing photos just a couple of days before we went live and I now have some great side-by-sides to share with the hope of converting the skeptics among us.
Here's the deal. Staging isn't cheap. For a 3 bedroom home in Seattle the cost of staging is around $5,000. We get it, selling your home is more expensive than you ever realized. You have all the expenses of moving to pay for, and then cleaning and refreshing your home (we believe that next to staging, all listings need a fresh paint job as well). There are always a few random things to fix around the house, too. So, before you even hit the market you've spent a lot of money and you aren't even sure yet if it'll be worth it. Then, at close, you have other expenses that impact your net proceeds such as commissions, closing costs, and taxes.
All that considered, of course it's natural for a seller to think about opting out of staging. The other costs aren't so easy to skip and you're worried about your bottom line. Staging seems like a pretty big line item that you can drop, right? Well, we can assure you that *it* *will* *pay* *for* *itself* (so long as you combine it with a proper pricing and marketing strategy!). Not only will you get the highest price you can, you'll sell your home faster and say goodbye to your mortgage payment sooner!
Staging serves two huge, essential purposes in a home sale. The first is giving context in photos that an empty room simply can't give. In this home, we wanted to give a sense of the scale of the living rooms - they are both very generously sized rooms especially as compared across other 1920s Seattle Bungalows. Scale is something that you can't always get a great grasp on when you're taking less than a full second to swipe through listing photos. We want it to practically punch the viewers in the face that these rooms are plenty big enough for them!
Scale, again, is key when it comes to rooms without windows. If we hadn't staged this office, the only real representations of the depth and height of the room (the height is especially generous) would have been a light fixture and a banjo. Nope! We need someone going through a listing to understand that this bonus space has more than enough room for a desk and storage!
The second major purpose is best experienced once a potential buyer has entered the home. We want a buyer to be able to truly picture their life in this home. We want the staging to help answer to both emotional and logistical considerations a buyer may be making.
Emotional considerations such as: "will we be able to host Thanksgiving here?" or "is there a space where we can help our kid with their homework while we fix dinner?"
...or logistical considerations such as: "is our bed going to fit in this 1920s era bedroom?"
And: "are we really going to be able to use this space fully without disturbing the sump pump?"
or: will a Peloton AND a couch fit down here? (no, we don't stage with Pelotons, but that side table shows there's quite a bit of room there, don't you think?)
My deepest gratitude to my clients for trusting that staging was essential, to Meghan Klein for taking such wonderful listing photos, and of course to Laurie and Ryan Lile at Lile Staging and Design for working their magic to compliment and champion the charms of this home. We love knowing we can trust you!
And finally - while we chose not to stage the exterior of this home as early March winds and rain often make a mockery of thoughtfully positioned outside furniture and fixtures, take a look at the power of a thorough yard cleanup. My clients took a weekend to clean, mow, weed, and mulch their dreamy yard and the impact was absolutely worth the sweat equity.
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