As the Denver housing market begins to cool, it’s important for sellers to show their homes in the best light possible to get top dollar. Enter “staging,” where “readying a house for sale is not unlike decorating a stage for a play, and perhaps just as hard,” notes a recent New York Times article.
Staging is the art of making your home appealing to the widest swatch of buyers possible. That means removing personal items, such as family pictures (so buyers can imagine themselves living in the home), repainting the black walls in your teenager’s bedroom a nice, neutral taupe (there aren’t many goth buyers out there), even replacing old furniture with modern rented options (so buyers aren’t reminded of their grandmothers’ dated homes when stepping into yours).
Ronda Kaysen, the author of the Times article, notes that a 2017 survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 38% of brokers staged their listings. Almost half reported that this increased the selling price.
“The trend has been fueled in part by an endless loop of home makeover shows on networks like HGTV, where we watch homeowners burst into tears of joy at the sight of a shag rug and a wingback chair, “Kaysen says, tongue in check.
As a result, Kaysen notes, buyers want a home that they can imagine living in with style. Personal flair isn’t the goal, she notes; making awkward areas look livable and old homes feel new again is. “Stagers select an accent chair not because it would make for a great spot to curl up and read a book, but because it’s just the right size to make that weird nook look useful,” writes Kaysen.
It’s all about selling the sizzle, not necessarily the steak. “[W]ho wants to think about boring stuff like boilers and square footage?” Kaysen writes. “Instead staging lets you walk in and “go on a journey…It is meant to divert your eye from the shortcomings, so you can see the potential, and maybe have a little fun imagining what your life would be like after you dole out a huge sum of money.”
Such fantasies don’t come cheap, however. Staging an empty property, Kaysen notes, can cost 1-3% of the list price. And those staging a home they are living in will want to factor in time spent cleaning, de-cluttering, moving furniture.
Hey, no one ever said making all the world a stage would be easy.
“You’re creating a dream for the buyers,” one designer told Kaysen. And that means it’s not about boilers and electrical wiring. It’s about buyers falling in love with a feeling. “We’re just emotional creatures and we’re shopping based on emotion,” added the designer.
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