The Real McCoy: With the market picking up, do we need to stage our home?

By: By Kari McCoy, Special to the Telegraph
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Dear Kari,
In our area, homes are selling really fast. Some of our neighbors have had several offers almost immediately. My wife and I are moving out of state to Texas and we really do not want to stage our home like our agent suggested. Our question is, do we still need to stage our home in this unbelievable sellers market?

To answer your question in short, no, you and your wife do not have to stage your home to sell it. Some sellers do not even have to repair a leaky roof or a broken bathroom sink. The law simply requires that the seller disclose these items. However, keep in mind the price for a home that is in need of repairs or is not shown in the best possible way, will reflect in the dollar amount offered. In other words, it is the condition of the home and how it shows that effect the amount offered.

Let’s put on our buyer’s hat and take a look at what staging a home for sale means. The way we live in a house and the way we sell a house are two different things. As the old adage goes in the residential real estate industry, statistically a “staged” home will sell much faster and for more money.

In staging your home, you’re tying to accentuate the positives and minimize the negatives so that you have an edge over the competition. The whole idea of home staging is to make your home more desirable than competing homes in the same price range. The idea is to win the buyer over to your home. How do you win and get the best price and the quickest sale? It all comes down to home staging.

When you sell your home, you need to shift gears from regarding it as your home to thinking of it as your product. The act of staging neutralizes your home so potential buyers can see the property for sale instead of the focusing on the furnishings. As the saying goes, “You get only 15 seconds to make a good first impression.” This is as true with houses as it is with people.

Home staging is not be confused with home decorating. The purpose of staging is to present your property in the best possible light for the quickest sale and the best price. To stage your home, clear the clutter, make the space look larger and depersonalize it by removing family photos and collectibles. This holds true for both the interior and the exterior of the home. A good example would be, if there are big trees blocking the house, trim them or remove them. If you neutralize or take items away, you make room so that the buyers can better visualize their own items in the home.

Keep in mind some Realtors find it difficult to be completely candid with the clients about their homes. They are reluctant to say, “Your house smells funny” or to tell their clients their furniture is too large for the space (which creates an optical illusion and makes the space show so much smaller). It is important to realize you and your Realtor should share the same goal: to sell the home quickly and for the best price possible. It’s important to find a Realtor who feels comfortable being completely honest with you about what needs to be done to accomplish your goals.

This does not mean you need a lot of money or time. The spectrum might range from two hours of rearranging and removing items to needing new carpet and new furniture. Every situation is varies. The implications here are significant. When you stage, it often means additional profit and or a quicker sale. Staging the exterior of your home can make a small yard look larger. It can create an ambience which might allow the buyer to imagine living there. It can keep them from running off to the next home. The better it looks, the more they will want to stay.

Right when the buyer hits the front door, you want to give them the “Wow!” feeling. This helps them feel the very best they can about the home they are about to enter. Your Realtor might offer free home staging. If not, there are professionals who stage homes as their full time business. When your house is offered for sale, it becomes a product and should be presented in a way that will appeal to a broad range of tastes and people. An empty house isn’t very relatable. The act of staging a home is a small investment of time and money initially compared to the overall costs of selling the house.

This information is provided to answer the question above. For additional accurate information, it is always wise to contact an attorney or a licensed contractor.

Kari McCoy owns the Kari McCoy Group, Residential Real Estate at Lyon Real Estate, Call her at (916) 941-9540 or e-mail her at License 00841588.