For some homeowners preparing to sell their properties, the process of staging their homes may seem counterintuitive—they may wonder why they should spend extra money on real estate costs related to fixing up a property that they’re leaving. It’s a professional real estate agent’s job to explain to home sellers how staging their homes can generate more money for a home sale.
There’s evidence that staging real estate is a worthwhile effort. Data shows that, on average, staged homes not only sell an estimated 88 percent faster than non-staged homes, but they also sell for 20 percent more.
Staging a home might be even more critical this year compared to the past. Following the unprecedented events caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more people may be considering buying a house as they return to work and regain confidence in the housing market. Prospective buyers may have higher expectations for the homes they consider buying, so real estate agents can follow the tips below to ensure the places available for sale can meet and exceed these expectations.
1. Prioritize the lawn and exterior of the property.
Real estate agents know the importance of curb appeal—the look and attractiveness of a home when viewed from the street. Properties with a lot of curb appeal are more likely to stand out from other houses and make a good impression on home buyers. The outside of a home is what prospective buyers see first. For this reason, when staging a home, make sure the home exterior is inviting.
Dirt, grime, mold, and other unpleasant substances on the house, windows, driveways, patios, and more can be a turn-off for prospective buyers. Dull, faded coats of paint can also make a person reconsider their interest in a property, as they might think they have to put a lot of work into fixing up a house.
People seeking homes are more likely to close a deal on properties with bright, fresh coats of paint that lack signs of wear, tear, damage, or dirt. Pressure washing a house and painting a neutral color while adding a bold color to the door can make a home more attention-grabbing and give it a new vibe. Be sure to provide the lawn with the attention it deserves. Neatly trimmed lawns and clean driveways can also be appealing to buyers.
2. Handle necessary interior repairs and paint jobs.
A home’s interior and exterior should match and be equally appealing to interested buyers. Avoid having home seekers walk into their potential future kitchen and find turn-offs like cabinet doors that creak or walls that have paint peeling. Paint is generally one of the least expensive ways to stage a home and can provide a large return rate. Well-painted cabinets and walls are attractive to buyers and increase the chances of closing a deal.
3. Use neutral décor and furniture.
Professional real estate agents and housing experts, such as those at the Texas realty management company Venterra Realty, understand that each home buyer has their preferences and know how to meet their diverse needs. Venterra Realty—known for being an excellent workplace for women, people of color, and professionals of various orientations and ages—is a company that receives recognition for its positive workplace culture and puts home buyers first. This realty company cares for and appreciates the home buyers and the tenants in Venterra apartment communities across the U.S.
Venterra chair Andrew Stewart, the CEO, and the staff recognize and celebrate the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and other “healthcare heroes” who live in the communities and continue working hard to serve their communities the COVID-19 pandemic.
Real estate agents can put all home buyers first, regardless of their décor preferences, by keeping the décor and the furniture neutral and simple when staging a house. Doing so allows prospective buyers to see rooms and floor plans for what they are and gives them chances to be creative and imagine what they’d do with space if they owned the property.
Earth tones, simple wall art, and home floor plants create a neutral space. Such items can inspire prospective buyers to think of the kind of art or indoor plants they’d use to decorate and complement the room.
4. Remove any distracting smells and scents.
Pet odors or strange smells from the garbage disposal can scare away prospective buyers. It’s beneficial to have these areas and others thoroughly cleaned ahead of an open house. When trying to remove unpleasant smells, don’t rely too much on heavily fragrant candles or perfume-like air fresheners because a number of people may have allergies or asthma.
5. Make sure the property you stage is safe for everyone.
Another crucial part of staging a property to be suitable for everyone, aside from depersonalizing the space, is making sure it’s safe and accessible for young and older adults alike. Clear, decluttered spaces with conveniently placed furniture can enable prospective new homeowners to view their rooms easily and determine any safety upgrades they’ll need to make.
Some people may be trying to rent or buy a home that allows them to comfortably care for their parents, grandparents, or other aging family members. As people age, they’re more likely to experience disabilities, chronic health conditions like heart disease, and other diseases related to the lungs, muscles, ears, and eyes. It’s common for older people to experience hearing and vision loss, although, through comprehensive eye exams, people can have the condition of their eyes checked by optical professionals—such as those at Ottica by Opto Aesthetics. Ottica provides eye exams and glasses and contact lens evaluations and fittings to support one’s eye health and vision. Potential home buyers may decide to improve the house’s lighting or add easily accessible light switches to suit residents’ eye health, depending on how you stage the home.
Likewise, adults over age 65 are more susceptible to memory loss, reduced mental function, and mild cognitive impairment related to dementia and other symptoms of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease, a well-known form of dementia, is the sixth most common cause of death in the United States. A large number of Americans—nearly six million—live with this disease. Gathering Alzheimer’s facts and seeking information on how to be a caregiver for older adults with Alzheimer’s dementia can prompt family members to find properties that better suit their caregiving and accessibility needs.
By making sure properties are clutter-free during walk-throughs and open houses, you can emphasize the home’s space, enabling potential homeowners to determine if the house could support Alzheimer’s disease home care and modifications for preventing falls and injuries.
The likelihood of falling, slipping, and injuring oneself grows with age. Incidents of falling and sustaining injuries are more likely among older people, which is why some people add showers, doors, and entryways that are wheelchair-accessible, staircase rails, bath rails, and non-slip floors.
For some homebuyers, renting or buying a new home and relocating from one they owned for many years can be a stressful event that causes emotional stress and impacts their mental health. Some people may be relying on teletherapy to have their mental health needs met by counselors or psychiatrists amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Teletherapy is an excellent way to use Skype, Facetime, or webcams to have therapy sessions instead of in-person sessions and face-to-face therapy, psychological telehealth can help people learn healthy coping strategies for handling stressors and life changes, as noted by the American Psychological Association.
By drawing attention to a property’s practical, positive features, you can help make the home buying experience and moving more positive for homebuyers.