If you’ve ever been inside of a house after someone’s moved out, but before the cleaners have come in, you know it’s never a pretty sight. As a real estate agent with a listing on the line, you may think that it is only your responsibility to clean the house you are trying to sell. The space will speak for itself, and people will use their imaginations to decorate it with their future art, furnishings, and lamps! If this is what you are thinking, then you are sorely mistaken.
It has been proven time and time again that selling a house is a massively psychological game. People do not always behave as you might expect they would since people are unpredictable. You shouldn’t necessarily overestimate the power of people’s imaginations either; there’s a good chance that some people would look at an emptied-out house with no blinds or couches and imagine themselves in that barren space, without embellishing whatsoever. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to present a house that is beautifully put together with furniture, lamps, mirrors, art and even bouquets of live flowers if possible.
All of this sounds expensive, and it may well prove to be, but if this is a big listing with a juicy commission then isn’t it worth investing in the presentation? If your listing is well staged, it pushes the perceived value of the home up, thus you are more likely to lead buyers into bidding wars and end up selling the place for way over asking. When you land that big payday, you’ll be glad you spent the money on the staging. If you’re still trying to find your feet in the industry and don’t have liquid funds, you might want to consider taking out a commission advance – at the very least, you should learn about the benefits of real estate advances and then decide for yourself.
Depending on how much trouble you want to go to, staging can be kind of a hassle, but it certainly depends on the luck of the draw. Some places just need a little sprucing up – maybe a couple of simple repairs and a touch of paint here and there. Then again, if the paint is chipped and puke green and the carpet is old, ugly and covered in stains, you may have to re-carpet and re-paint. The good news is, all of the fixes and redesigns can (and should) go no deeper than a superficial level. Your job is only to get the place up to a superficial standard or beauty and functionality to stimulate the buyer to imagine themselves relaxing and flourishing in their dream home. So don’t go nuts buying authentic wooden antique tables or any expensive art – a few things from Walmart and the local dollar store might even do the trick.
So remember, even though it shouldn’t really matter how a house looks when you’re trying to sell it, it kind of does. If you’re going to succeed in real estate, you need to play the game. And staging is a big part of the game. Good luck.