To Stage or Not To Stage?

Before After

This is an excellent question, one that frequently comes up at every seller consultation and dinner party we attend.

Home staging has become a very hot topic in recent years thanks to the popularity of real estate reality TV shows. Although the term “staging” was coined back in the 70’s, the concept of preparing your home to show its best and maximize its appeal probably goes back long before that.

Early on in my real estate career I encountered some resistance from sellers when the glamorous topic of cleaning, painting, de-cluttering and general re-arranging of their home came up, nowadays it seems most home sellers are on board with the idea (thanks HGTV).

So what is Staging? 

Home Staging is a process of merchandising a home’s best features using lifestyle selling techniques. This goes well beyond decorating and cleaning, it’s about connecting with the Buyer on a subconscious level.

The goal is to create an environment where the Buyer instantly feels at home, they think “If I buy this house, I can live like this”. Things like furniture layout, focal points, traffic flow, repairs and aesthetics are all considered in order to transform your house into the “model home” buyers want to own.

Staging will make any property feel bigger, brighter, warmer and overall more welcoming. It’s proven that staged homes sell faster, show better and sell for more money.

Does my home need to be Staged? 

For the most part the answer is YES!

The majority of properties will benefit greatly from some assistance in the presentation department. This can be as extensive as fully furnishing a vacant property or as simple as de-personalizing and reconfiguring existing furniture to allow the buyer to focus more on the property rather than your glamorous wedding photos.

Is Staging always necessary?

Staging is a very effective tool in any home sellers arsenal but there are times when it may not be necessary. If your home is in need of significant renovations or is being marketed towards builders as a tear down, staging may not be for you. Many builders and home-flippers planning on gutting or levelling a property will not be swayed emotionally by the charm of your home, for them it’s just business. We’ve had many builders buy these types of properties without stepping inside.

So who does the Staging?

That depends. Our clients are able to take advantage of our full-service business model which includes the staging of our client’s properties. We’ve been doing this a long time and have built up a large inventory of furniture, accessories, artwork, etc. As a professional Toronto Realtor® and Certified Home Stager I like to take full advantage of every opportunity to showcase our clients properties and secure the highest possible price (along with setting some new price records).

Now obviously we can’t represent every home seller in Toronto and the GTA, so what should you expect if your Realtor® doesn’t include this service in their fee or if you decide to take the FSBO route?

What is the cost of Staging?

There is no shortage of great stagers across the city that offer a comprehensive consultation (approx. 1-2hrs) and provide you with a thorough written report of what needs to be done, the cost of a basic consult is typically in the $250-$350 range.

Beyond the consultation you’ll need to decide who can and will implement the recommended work and take care of all the details. The investment can range anywhere from $500-$5,000+ depending on the square footage, number of rooms staged and the overall complexity of the project.

Can you afford Not to Stage?

The expectations of Toronto home buyers are at an all time high. Buyers are paying top dollar for real estate in this city and expect a certain caliber of inventory. Keep in mind, residential real estate is an emotional purchase for most people, once you decide to sell you’ll need to turn off your own emotional switch, pack up the baby pictures and see your property for what it is…your largest investment and a great opportunity to climb to the next rung of the property ladder.

Considering the average price in Toronto has risen well above the $500,000 mark, such a small investment seems like a no brainer. You’ll only have one chance to make a great first impression, make it count!

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