Attracting Home Buyers with Psychology – Does it Really Work?

The concept of professional home staging isn’t a new one. In fact, it became a popular marketing tool among the real estate communities on the west coast over 30 years ago. In light of the recent housing market decline, homeowners are struggling to find creative ways to sell their home. Many real estate agents and homeowners are calling upon the services of “home stagers” to professionally prepare the house for sale. What exactly is home staging? While there are many different “tag lines,” from various sources within the industry, it can be summed up as, “using what the homeowner already has to prepare and “position” the home to appeal to the masses. A marketing tool used to facilitate a quick and profitable sale.”

With the dozens of new programs on HGTV, the home selling and buying population are taking notice of this thing called “staging.” So the question remains: Does it work? What does psychology have to do with it? The answer is yes, it does work, and psychology is a key element in preparing the home for the market. Let’s first look at the definition of “psychology.” The Webster’s dictionary definition is: “the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.” How does this apply to buying or selling a home, you ask?

It’s quite simple actually! A professional home stager will generally have the home seller pack away personal photos and momentos, remove clutter such as knick-knacks, countertop appliances, and other items that reflect THEIR lifestyle and the way THEIR family lives in the home. The stager will start with a clean slate so to speak. Through furniture placement, lighting, updated accessories and artwork, and a psychological allure referred to as “emotional connection points,” a mental process is put into play. By creating “vignettes,” or brief scenes of what life could look like, how a person might use a space, a buyer, for example, will “mentally move in” to the home. It is psychological persuasion. Here is a mental exercise to prove this point. Relax and close your eyes, imagine in your mind’s eye, a long and stressful day at work. You get home, fill the spa-tub in the Master Bath with hot water and clouds of fragrant bubbles.

You climb in for a relaxing soak, sipping a glass of wine as you watch the dancing reflections of the candle-lit room… OK, you can snap out of it now! The point is that, by using psychology…the “science of the mind,” a home stager is able to draw a prospective buyer in and help them to imagine living there themselves. By “staging” the Master Bath with fluffy towels, beautiful candles surrounding the tub, and a serving tray with a wine glass, a buyer will “emotionally connect” to this space. This is just one example, but there are many emotional connections that can be strategically implemented throughout the home.

While there are still some “non-believers” in home staging, it has been proven to be a very valuable marketing tool. It isn’t simply painting the walls and packing away extra “stuff.” In order to be successful there is that critical element of the human psyche that must be addressed.