By Guylaine Jodouin, Professional Home Stager & President at Touch of Distinction…À votre image, located in Rockland, ON.
Spring has finally sprung and you have decided to sell your home. You’ve had a few visits, however, it doesn’t feel like you have had serious potential buyers yet. Did you know that it generally takes 90 seconds for the potential buyer to form a favorable or unfavorable opinion about your home? Impressing them from the very beginning of the buying process should be your top priority.
Staging your house may just be what you need to sell this summer! The objective of home staging is to sell faster and at a better price. Did you know that 36% of potential buyers are willing to pay more for a home that is well decorated and maintained?
But what is home staging exactly?
It’s a precise and specialized approach that aims to enhance the appearance of properties for sale on the market. Home staging techniques serve the purpose of depersonalising the rooms of your property so potential buyers can easily visualize themselves living there with their own belongings and furniture. Therefore, its main objective is opposed to interior decorating.
Home staging could also be considered a technique that brings interior decorating and marketing together. It’s in this spirit that we recommend that you stage your home at the very beginning of the selling process. This way, the marketing will be perfect from the very beginning, starting with the pictures of your home displayed on your agent’s Website.
The bathroom above was renovated in the context of home staging. The owners changed the shower, the counter, the mirrors, the handles on the vanity. They also removed personal effects from surfaces.
Does home staging require a financial investment?
Ideally, approximately 1% of your home’s value should be invested in home staging and small renovations in order to sell. It’s important not to view this amount as an expense, but rather as an investment on which you will get a return on the value and on the time it will take to sell your house. In general, the money you will spend on your home staging project will cost less than a price reduction.
Is it really mandatory to invest?
Although we highly recommend it, it’s not a necessity. Certain steps towards your home staging project can easily be achieved on a small budget or even without spending any money at all. Home staging consists of 7 key elements, which are enumerated below. A description of each element of home staging, along with tips to help you achieve these steps have been provided. An indication of how much each element of home staging can cost has also been specified at the end of each one of the key elements. Examples are provided with descriptions of what could be done for a successful home staging.
The 7 key elements of home staging:
- Depersonalisation: This first step can be done for free. It consists of removing most personal effects off the walls, surfaces and furniture. It is recommended to remove toothbrushes, used soap bars, family pictures, towels and pet bowls away from sight. Exposed artwork and decorative objects should be sparingly displayed. Remember it is your home that is being sold. Therefore, it’s important to highlight your walls and not what is on them. Think about model homes and ask yourself if your house’s decor is similar to theirs? Depersonalisation will be effective and will allow your potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the house you are selling. Cost: free to low.
- Decluttering: During the home staging process, it is also recommended to declutter by reducing the amount of objects visible to the buyer. It is preferable to remove most objects from walls, tables, desks and counters. You should also decrease the amount of books and trinkets from your shelves and you should hide away your children’s toys. Superfluous objects are a visual source of distraction during visits. They take your potential buyer’s focus away from your home and onto your personal belongings. The period during which you are staging your home is possibly the best time to actually start packing away the objects you don’t frequently use. This way, you will be ready much faster when it will finally be time to move! As you are putting things away, don’t forget to think about your drawers and closets which could be opened by potential visitors: this is a great opportunity to do your spring cleaning. We suggest that you organise a garage sale if there are too many things you want to get rid of as you are putting things away. The money you make from this garage sale could be used to buy gallons of paint to refresh your decor and really impress your potential buyer. Cost: free to low.
*In this master bedroom, we notice that the new coat of paint, along with the new furniture, bedspread, drapes and lamps, gives the room a much needed contemporary look. The different elements of the new decor are harmonious with each other and the removal of personal objects allows the potential buyer to really appreciate the beauty of the room. We can also see that in this home staging project, the seller decided to replace the old flooring with a gray hardwood floor.
- Updating the different areas of the property: Home staging can be pricier if no renovations were done in a home throughout the years. Sometimes, painting the walls can be sufficient and if you do decide to repaint, make sure you choose light and neutral colours such as white, beige or light grey. In other situations, it will be important to make additional renovations. For example, it’s rather easier and affordable to replace an old floating floor with vinyl planks. Updating decorative elements, such as blinds, drapes and pillows may need to be done as well. Other times, removing these items may be enough to refresh your decor. Sometimes it may be in your favour to repaint or stain the kitchen cabinets and change the handles. Ask our decorators and advisors in store to know exactly what should be done to your home. Cost: low to moderate.
- Cleaning and odors: It’s obvious that your home should be clean before a visit. Evidently, humidity, dust, mold and pet odours should be eliminated as they risk to ruin your opportunity to sell your home. Be careful, when you use cleaning products, their strong smells could intimidate your visitors. Clean your home in advance whenever possible or use fewer cleaning products. It’s also wise to ventilate rooms when the weather allows it. Did you know that a good smell can help you sell your house? Be careful with complex smells such as air fresheners that can be found in supermarkets or even the preparation of baked goods that some real estate agents will recommend. Keep the good smells simple: use natural citrus, pine, cinnamon, basil or vanilla. An essential oil diffuser may be just what you need. Cost: low.
*Adding furniture to this living room has allowed visitors to picture themselves living in this much more inviting space. An area rug helps the potential buyer get a good perspective of the size of the room.
- Placing furniture and working with room shapes: When buyers visit a home for the first time, they expect furniture to be placed in the room it was designed for. Dinner tables should evidently be in the dining room. However, the placement of the furniture in those rooms can also have a very important effect on your potential buyers. You should place your furniture to give the impression that the room is bigger. Choose smaller furniture whenever possible. It is also a good idea to place your furniture towards the middle of the room, which will make it look more cozy. Don’t be afraid to move your furniture around, trial and error may notice that a chair looks better in another area. When in doubt, ask for help from a stager or even your real estate agent. Cost: free to low.
- Creating ambiance, focal points and harmonizing decor: For this step, the help of a professional will be more important than in previous ones. A professional will help you harmonize the rooms in your home to facilitate its sale by giving you advice on which accessories are trendier or more classic for your decor. He will also help you add value to key elements in each room of the home you are selling. It is possible that your home staging professional will decide to create focal points in parts of your home instead of furniture. He may put the focus on a beautiful fireplace, great woodwork, big windows, etc. Cost: free to low.
- Installing accessories and furniture: In some situations, the house you are trying to sell can be empty or partially empty. However, potential buyers will find it easier to imagine themselves living there if it’s slightly more furnished. Did you know that some companies actually rent furniture and accessories to help you sell your home? Discuss it with one of our local retailer or a real estate agent who could help you find a provider for this type of service. Cost: moderate.
Must each of these steps be done for a successful home staging process?
Not necessarily. Even though some steps are crucial like depersonalisation, decluttering as well as cleaning and eliminating odors, it’s not necessary to go through each step. However, it is important to put certain things into perspective by placing yourself in the potential buyers’ position. Don’t hesitate to ask the opinion of friends and relatives or your real estate agent when in doubt about needing to take other home staging steps. Ask a professional stager for help and make sure you discuss desired budgets and timelines to sell your home. You will surely be in good hands.
Home decorating and home staging services are not available at all Deco Surfaces locations. Ask your local retailer if those services are available.
*All the pictures in this article were provided by Guylaine Jodouin and are realisations of Touch of Distinction, store located in Rockland, ON.