What is Home Staging and Can it Help Sell My House?

If you’re visiting this website, you’ve likely already heard about home staging, or someone has recommended it as a tool to sell your home quickly and at the best price. But what is home staging? And will it really help to sell your flat or house?

What is Home Staging?

Before looking at what home staging is, it might be easier to explain what it’s NOT. It’s not interior design. Interior design is intensely personal and different for each individual. An interior designer works very closely with their client to understand their individual tastes and lifestyle, then designs an environment exclusively for them and their family. What one person likes, might not appeal to someone else. It’s not that there are “bad” tastes, but tastes are always very personal. Interior design creates spaces to live in. In contrast, home staging creates environments where potential buyers can imagine themselves living.

It’s also not a renovation of your home, neither full nor partial. In fact, it’s often not a good idea to invest a lot of money in certain renovations, as often the investment is not recouped in the sale price. A home staging company may recommend some touch-ups, like fixing defects or painting walls, but in most cases, the renovations stop there.

So, what is home staging? Simply put, it is a marketing technique (developed iby Barb Schwarz in the 1970’s USA) that uses the understanding of human psychology to make properties for sale as attractive as possible to the greatest number of buyers. It is an easy, quick, and inexpensive way to dramatically influence buyers’ first impressions, increase the sale price and speed up the sale.

Let’s look at the most common cases where home staging can be most useful:

If your house has “gone stale”

It’s not just 3 day old baguettes that go stale (although at least these are still great for gazpacho!) – estate agents use this term for a property that has been on the market for a while but has generated neither interest nor visits. This often happens when the house is overpriced for the market, but sometimes a property can “go stale” simply because its image does not meet buyers’ expectations.

Keep in mind that nowadays your house will be listed on real estate portals, competing with dozens of others, often with similar characteristics. Half the battle of selling a house is getting the buyer through the door, but before that they have to be interested enough in the listing to contact the agent and find out more. In the past, the first thing estate agents would do with a stale property was to advise a price reduction (and unfortunately, some still cling to this outdated mentality). However, home staging is a much cheaper technique than the typical price reductions recommended, as the cost of home staging is generally below 1% of the sale value, while the first reduction usually starts at 5 to 10%!

For empty properties

Years ago, developers realised that in order to sell their new builds at the highest price, it was necessary to create a show property, decorated with high-quality furniture and accessories. This show property could show the attractive potential that all the other units would have. So, why are we so used to seeing completely empty flats on property portals? It seems contradictory, but unfurnished spaces seem smaller than they really are because very few people have enough spatial awareness to imagine their furniture in an empty space.

Often, it’s necessary to show buyers the potential of a property as they’re unable to imagine it themselves. In cases where the design is somewhat unusual, it’s essential to demonstrate how it can be used. An unnecessary nook becomes a charming reading corner. A balcony with a clothesline becomes a small private terrace. Buyers know what they want, but sometimes you have to show them just how a property meets their expectations. And not just in the case of sale properties! It’s been proven that staging rental flats helps them rent 12.5 times faster, with price increases of up to 25% or more in over 65% of cases.

For Holiday Apartments

Thanks to the huge success of Airbnb, vacation apartments are increasingly in demand, and there is more competition than ever in this market. It may be true that “location is everything,” especially if your apartment is beachfront. But even with a great location, if your apartment isn’t the only available option, you will need to know how to stand out from the rest in order to get regular rentals. Home staging is designed to market the product (in this case, the vacation apartment) effectively, with a style that appeals to the broadest audience possible. So, it’s no surprise that apartments prepared by a specialised home stager rent at higher prices and for longer periods.

By now, you should have a clear idea of what home staging is and how it can add value to “stale” properties, empty flats, and vacation apartments. So, let’s assume you want to stage your house– what would the process be?

How to Stage My Home?

To find a home staging company in your area, often the easiest way is to ask your estate agent, as they usually have a portfolio of professionals they work with regularly. Another option is to search online and on social media – you’ll be able to see examples of successful projects and find out the stager’s niche (if they have one). The first thing you’ll likely want to know is, “how much does home staging cost?” Don’t be surprised if you don’t see prices listed directly. Each property is different, and professional home stagers usually prefer to offer a no-obligation consultation before giving a quote. But don’t worry, as mentioned before, prices are usually very affordable, and stagers try to tailor the service as closely as possible to the client’s budget.

The next step is to contact your home stager and arrange a visit so they can prepare a quote. Depending on whether or not the house is occupied, there are different options. In some cases (most common with empty flats), the home staging company lends furniture and accessories for the time the property is on the market. In the case of furnished flats, or those still occupied, they usually use the existing furniture and accessories, supplementing them with decor items and fabrics. Finally, there are cases where the price of the furniture and accessories is included in the budget, and the client keeps them at the end of the process (in the case of a vacation apartment or rental flat, for example). In any case, the home staging company will recommend the most suitable option for your situation and budget.

Once the quote is agreed upon and the deposit paid, the home staging company will schedule a date to complete the project and take professional photographs of the final result. Once the photos of the project are delivered, the balance of the invoice is paid, and then it’s just a matter of listing your newly optimised flat for sale and waiting for the viewings to roll in! When the property is sold or rented (in record time!), the home staging company will collect the furniture and accessories they provided, and it’s ready for the new owners or tenants to enjoy their new home.

Home staging isn’t just for luxury flats or wealthy investors (although it is undoubtedly a vital tool in these cases as well). Both estate agents looking for ways to stand out from the competition, and private owners wanting to get the best return on their property, can enjoy the benefits of home staging without significant investments. So, what are you waiting for?