Bring It On: Home Staging With What You've Got

Sometimes, you don't have everything you need - or the budget to get it - for optimal home staging. But, you still want to maximize the sales price of your listing for the benefit of everyone involved.

Professional home stagers do love a challenge. Here is how we make the best of what we have:

1. Education comes first. 

You can't just walk in and start trying to change things, or insist that the seller spend thousands of dollars to remove wallpaper or repaint. Instead, the first thing I do is to explain how staging works: that it's a proven process to increase the appeal of the home to a broader audience of potential buyers. Next is outlining the fundamentals of staging: creating more space, how every area should have a purpose, how to improve flow, why light makes all the difference, and the importance of highlighting architectural features.

Here is where even the toughest clients begin to nod along.

2. Buy-in is essential.

It doesn't matter how right you are. Nothing will happen until the seller buys in. Once they understand just how much staging can change the appeal of the home (a small demonstration or before and after pictures of other listings will help!) and we talk through how much staging can add to the sales price - now, we can start to make changes.

3. Pick your battles.

Perfection isn't the goal. Instead, start small with something that is relatively easy to do. The seller may not want to remove all of the dated wallpaper but might agree to remove the wallpaper and repaint one key room. It may be even more simple, such as taking down heavy drapes to let in more light or removing a few pieces of furniture. Once the first changes are made and the seller can see the difference, they tend to become much more open to additional changes and advice.

4. Creativity is key.

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. I often ask clients not to get rid of any furniture before we meet. A good stager can see the potential in every piece. We'll use the best furniture in ways that will create the best impression, and carefully repurpose elements from all over the home to use as accessories or to hold space and show purpose. 

Our sellers are often very pleasantly surprised - or even amazed - at the impact we can create by using what is available with a few strategic additions and thoughtful paint.

5. Explain the rules.

For more buy-in and a better result, I explain what I'm doing throughout the process and provide guidance on how to continue. For example: towels on every towel bar; creating symmetry and balance by centering furniture, using lamps in pairs, and centering artwork; placing an accessory on every surface; removing runners to expose hardwood floors; and just why decorative pillows are so important.

6. Share the buyer's perspective.

A seller has often been living in the home. It can be tough for them to see it from the buyer's point of view. From the front entrance to the kitchen and bathroom, it's important to share what today's buyers want. And we always discuss the importance of looking up: how buyers will look at ceilings for any signs of water damage, cracks, and even dust on overhead fans and light fixtures.

A professional stager will always recommend the best option for staging to maximize the sales price and minimize days on market. But if your seller just doesn't have the budget or isn't willing to stage, you'll be impressed with what we can do with a good staging consultation. The end result may not look like a model home, but it will be a significant upgrade and can add thousands of dollars to the sales price or turn an overlooked listing into a competitive bid.

Please contact me if you'd like to talk more. Stay safe!