Should I Wait to Stage My Home?

You may as well ask “Should I wait to have my home staged until after the listing is stale and I am forced to make a price reduction?” Huh? As a Professional Home Stager, I am often asked if it is wise to list a home on the MLS, unstaged, for a few weeks to see if it sells, before having it staged. That is like asking if you should wait to bathe and put on your nicest clothes before going out on a first date. The answer, in both instances, depends upon what kind of first impression you want to make!

If you are getting a lot of first dates, but not a lot of second dates, you might want to rethink how much effort you put into preparing and presenting yourself. It is the same with selling houses. If you are getting a lot of “lookers” but no “takers” there may be something wrong with your presentation. You must present your home in a way that, makes it desirable and shows off the homes good points while minimizing its challenging points. And you have very little time to make that all important great first impression.

It has been estimated that over 80% of home buyers are researching homes on the Internet before going to look at them in person. If your home is not staged prior to listing on the MLS, then the photos home buyers are seeing when they do their research is of a home that just doesn’t look that appealing. It has not been properly prepared to make them want to hop in the car to take a look. Photos of staged homes look much better and, lets face it, buyers are attracted to better looking houses. Most buyers want a house that looks as good as the homes they see in magazines and on HGTV shows. They want it, they have come to expect it and by Golly, they are going to hold out until they get it. Your home will be dismissed with the click of a mouse.

The first few weeks that the home is fresh on the MLS is premium time to get potential buyers interested in coming to see your home, and once in your home, interested in making an offer. After a home has been on the MLS for more than a month or so, the listing becomes stale. Potential buyers may wonder if there is something wrong with your home since no one else has seen fit to make an offer to buy. They may wonder if the price is too high, or if the street is too busy, or if there is something wrong with the foundation. They may not bother to come look at it.

We are all busy and no one wants to waste time going to look at a home that has problems. Homes should be staged prior to listing on the MLS. That way, potential buyers are seeing photos of a home that looks warm, inviting and desirable. It looks ready to move in. It looks like it can support the lifestyle they want to have in their new home. Once in the home, the buyers’ expectations that made them want to see the home in the first place can be met, and possibly exceeded by what they see, smell & feel.

Many professional real estate stagers are trained to make a home look, smell & feel its best. We know how to make a home feel warm and welcoming, while evoking a feeling in the potential buyer that they have found “their” home. Home stagers can help the homeowner prepare for moving, while preparing the home for sale. And many of us offer “after” photos of the home after staging to be used by the Listing Agent on the MLS and in other marketing materials. Professional home stagers don’t sell homes, but we know what makes homes sell!