We’re pretty attached to our stuff, aren’t we?
Family photos, knick-knacks, and artwork—they reflect our personalities and styles. However, those might be a problem if you’re showing your home to potential buyers. They want to imagine themselves living in a beautiful, clean space, and that means properly staging a house for sale.
So if you’re planning on selling soon, here are six things a professional stager would likely do to maximize your home’s full potential.
Stagers will work closely with a REALTOR® to meet the needs of potential buyers searching for a home in a particular neighbourhood. The goal when staging a home for sale, either in-person or virtually, is to package it so buyers feel compelled to make an offer to purchase it, says Montreal-based interior designer and home stager Joanne Vroom, president of Unique Home Solutions, which stages homes in Quebec and Ontario.
“When a potential buyer walks into your home, they feel the vibes during the first few minutes. If your home is cluttered, they’ll want to leave,” explains Vroom. “Many homeowners think staging is decorating, but it’s not. Decorating is about your personal style – the colours and objects you love. Staging is about the function of your home and attracting the largest pool of buyers.”
1. A stager will encourage you to purge clutter
Although the cost of home staging can help a property sell faster and for a higher price, there are ways to save the stager’s time and your money. Vroom tells her clients you can’t sell a house if you can’t see it, so pack up as much personal stuff as you can.
2. A stager will move your furniture around to improve flow
Stagers add a third-party perspective. They can see things in your house that you probably don’t, says Vroom.
“When you live in your home, you get used to squeezing alongside your furniture to get by, but to an outsider, that room looks small and cramped,” she explains.
A stager objectively looks at every space and repositions, removes, or adds furniture to improve flow and aesthetics.
“We’ll often find new uses for things,” she says. “For example, if there are no night tables beside a bed, I’ll use two garden stools, small cabinets or small end tables, and put a lamp on them so the room looks finished.”
3. A stager will neutralize your colour palette
You may love powerful punches of colour, but that may turn buyers off, says Vroom. Stagers often suggest painting the walls a softer hue to brighten and enlarge a space.
“Stagers know that clean, freshly painted neutral walls make the home look like it’s move-in condition,” she explains.
4. A stager wants all your trinkets boxed up
You may have spent years scouring flea markets for vintage teapots, but if a potential buyer isn’t also a teapot collector, they may not appreciate seeing them in a staged home, says Vroom.
“A stager might suggest removing shelves of figurines or antique dolls, to leave some empty space,” she explains. “Collections can look cluttered and be distracting for buyers.”
5. A stager will upgrade your bedding
Nothing freshens up a bedroom like a crisp set of new sheets, a fluffy duvet and some attractive pillows, says Vroom.
“Stagers make sure the bedding in the main bedroom looks luxurious,” she adds.
Remember, you’re selling an aspirational lifestyle, so your bedroom should feel restful and cozy.
6. A stager will make a vacant home look appealing
If you’ve already moved out, a stager will furnish your home to welcome buyers when they walk through the door.
“Large open spaces and different rooms are difficult for buyers to visualize, but when the room is staged with areas clearly defined by rugs and furniture, it’s easier for buyers to see the full potential of a space,” says Vroom.
Once a stager’s work is done, that’s when the magic happens. When your home is given that extra oomph, it shows buyers you care about the property and you have been taking care of it. And when buyers feel reassured, they’ll feel comfortable making an offer. If you are looking to sell and don’t know where to find a stager, your REALTOR® would be a great person to ask as they have a rolodex of contacts.
Courtesy of Wendy Helfenbaum is a Montreal-based journalist, content strategist and TV producer who covers real estate, architecture, design, DIY, travel and gardening.