The key differences between a fad and a trend is staying power. Fads develop quickly and evaporate. Trends develop over time and have staying power. Here in 2012, it’s clear that home staging is now a trend, not a fad. Consumers who want to sell their home, and real estate pros who want to build and sustain a business need to take appropriate actions and embrace the reality, we are here to stay.
Over the past few years, in large part due to the boom of real estate shows across cable and network television, consumer’s views have shifted as to what is acceptable. While buyers, in years past, were okay with the idea of taking time to personalize their home, stripping wallpaper, painting, or adding new flooring, today that just isn’t true. Even buyers who say that they are willing to purchase “a fixer upper” if it’s a good value, often end up with “move-in ready”, deciding that the work is simply too much for them.
And if you think that this is still a small trend, think again. In a poll of 600 Coldwell Banker agents released by RIS Media this year, 45 percent said that their clients were more willing to change the appearance of their homes to entice buyers this year over last. 94% of their clients said they would be willing de-clutter, paint and fix minor repairs, 78% were willing to depersonalize and 59% were willing to bring in new furnishings, artwork or decorations to help sell the home.
Home sellers nervously concern themselves with the cost of home staging. While understandable, in every market around the country, through multiple polls or surveys done by many different sources, the reality shows that home staging beats the market and pays for itself. It is not simply another expense in selling, it’s an investment in equity preservation.
So, what should you do now? The first thing is to consult a home staging professional in your area. Ask your agent if they regularly work with one. If they do, you probably want to use them. If they don’t, do some research and find one. Do NOT let an agent tell you that you don’t need home staging, that buyers just care about price. What that really means is that they will ask you to under price your home for a quick sale, or take multiple price reductions over an extended listing period versus marketing your home competitively.
Once you’ve found a good home stager to help you create a plan, you’ll need to follow it. Many home stagers offer DIY consultation reports, allowing you to keep your equity by doing the work yourself. Others will do the work for you. Be reasonable with your expectations and time lines. If you have a lot of wallpaper or clutter, you may need more time to properly prepare your home for market.
Finally, listen to the experts. Don’t list your home before it has been properly prepared and don’t over price it. While home staging helps retain equity, you still need to competitively price in today’s market. If you over price, you will not have enough traffic, internet or showings, to establish a successful hook. What you will do instead is help show another staged and properly priced home as a better value, and end up chasing the falling market.