Happy Friday, Friends! My husband and I are busy getting our house ready to put on the real estate market. And if you’ve ever sold a house, you know first hand how stressful and crazy it can be. And the million dollar question? Should you hire a professional home stager? Should I?
One thing I’ve learned over the years of buying and selling homes is the difference between decorating a house and staging one. Both are booming industries and there are definite benefits to hiring a professional if you are uncomfortable with either process. Sometimes having a fresh set of eyes in your home is a good thing.
Decorating is all about making a house a home to you and your family, thus personalizing it with your style, colors, photos, window treatments, artwork, furniture, etc. The best decorators know the latest trends and colors and will listen to your ideas and help steer you in the right direction for your home. They can incorporate your existing furniture and suggest additions to achieve your goals for your dream house. I know lots of people who rely on their decorators!
On the other hand, staging is de-personalizing a home so a potential buyer can see themselves living in your home. Some buyers are unable to see past dark colors, wallpaper or a particular type of decor so it’s best to keep things neutral when selling your home. (If you’ve ever watched HGTV you know how some people think!) And nothing appeals to potential buyers more than a house they can move right in to and not have a long to-do list.
Many realtors these days ask you to hire a professional home stager. Or more likely, they have one they recommend. According to the Real Estate Staging Association a staged home sells 73% faster than a non staged home. And for top dollar! It makes sense. If a house looks well maintained, clean and shows well, it gives the impression the house is move in ready, which most people appreciate. And first impressions count!
Hiring a home stager can be expensive. The average cost is about $675 but can go up significantly depending on the size of your home. I have a friend that paid $1200 for her home stager and she felt like it was money well spent. She said the photos of the house turned out beautifully, perhaps thanks to the home stager. Also, the fact that her house was filled with gorgeous furniture and the house was meticulously maintained helped too. That house sold in 10 days. Compelling evidence!
Currently we have a running list of to-do’s before we put the house on the market. Touch up painting, caulking, minor repairs, etc. Every drawer, cabinet and closet needs to be inspected, cleaned and purged. I am a hoarder, so this is very challenging for me. But, all of this needs to be done before we even think of hiring a realtor.
So, will we hire a professional home stager? Probably not. I plan on doing some research and try to implement the ideas myself. After all, staging is marketing and merchandising. We just need to show potential buyers this is a one of a kind house that is perfect for their family! Piece of cake, right? Maybe.
Meanwhile we’ve started the painful process of purging, cleaning, donating and trying to get our house ready to show. I’m studying some tips from the pros so I decided to try a few, beginning in my dining room. They recommend taking the leaf out of your table to make the dining room appear larger. So, I did. And now my chandelier looks enormous. Well, it is enormous but it looks silly to me with the smaller table. So, guess what? I think the leaves are going back in.
My dining table has a design flaw that only allows you to use no leaf or both of them. (Trust me, we tried every possible combination.) Ideally one leaf would look perfect. Also with the leaves out of the table there is no longer room for two of the chairs. (I still need to take the wreath down and restyle my side board and table but I am obsessing over the leaf/no leaf dilemma.) Decisions! Maybe I should hire a home stager so I don’t make myself crazy!
Here is the table with the leaf in last Thanksgiving. Hmmm. Leaf, or no leaf? I like how all of the Queen Ann chairs look lined up in a row….
I’ll live with the dining room table as is for the weekend and see how I feel after a few days. Meanwhile, let me know if you’ve ever hired a home stager and your experience. Never say never. I hope you have a lovely weekend! Stay warm. xo Dell