Home Staging on a Budget

Staging is an essential, and cost-effective, part of the home selling process. Staging your home to show off its qualities can only add to your final selling price. On average, people receive $2 in increased sale price for every $1 they put into staging a home.

When staging your home for sale, there are five golden rules to take into consideration as you work your way through each room of your house.

Five Golden Rules:

De-Personalised

The buyer needs to picture themselves in the house – not you. That wedding photo may mean the world to you, but the buyer it’s a distraction that prevents them from seeing a home for their family.

Maximise

Declutter and maximise the space in your home. Closets packed tight with all your clothes make a place like it lacks closet space. Consider temporarily storing the overflow offsite.

Sanitize

This golden rule is the easiest and cheapest way to stage your home – clean it. A sink full of dirty dishes is as unappealing to you as it would be to the buyer. It is well worth the elbow grease in cleaning floors, walls, baseboards, ceiling fans and windows.

Modernise

Unless your home has exceptional period built-ins, all home could benefit from some updating. If someone feels the house is dated, they will reflect that feeling in a lower offer. Consider a few simple changes like swapping out expensive fixtures for nickel or chrome.

Neutralise

Colour can make or break a buyer’s interest in your home. You may love that shocking red wall, but all the potential buyer sees is a great deal of painting in their future because of red clashes with their style. The picture is one of the most inexpensive ways to change a look of a home.

Bonus Tips

Closets

Clear closets of unnecessary clutter, and organise to maximise the amount of open storage space you are showing off to potential buyers. Use boxes stacked together to keep up and hide the clutter.

Use matching hangers for clothes – hooks are inexpensive so splurging on higher quality are inexpensive, so celebrating on higher quality hangers to replace free wire hangers from the dry cleaners will modernise your closets with visual impact and a more luxurious feel.

Bedrooms

A quick and inexpensive way to improve the appeal of your bedroom is to use gender-neutral colours when touching up paint jobs and re-accessorizing to have the broadest possible appeal. Colour coordinate where possible bedspreads, walls, curtains etc. should have a clear theme to their colours if possible.

Bathrooms

If walls are grimy, spray them using a standard spray bottle filled with a mixture of one part bleach and one part water, follow up with a fresh coat of paint.

Clear countertops of everything but the essential to make space look more open and more extensive.

Kitchen

Modernize your dated cabinets; they can be touched up for less than $200 with a coat of new wood stain and or even a good sanding a coat of paint. Replacing brass or wooden cabinet hardware with brushed silver or stainless steel is an effective way of updating dated cabinets as well.

Tips for Adding Pleasant Smells to Any Home Staging

Not only should your home look appealing sporting every nice aspect through visual presentations, it should also engage other senses specifically the nose. And there is no better way to engage the nose than by letting it smell as good and pleasing as possible. Don’t let your prospects find their ways out of the house. Instead, let them find comfort by treating their noses with respect. Here are some tips to have a home scent that will take you closer to signing a deal with the buyer.

  • Clean the house as clean as you can. Cleaning the house doesn’t mean you only have to sweep or vacuum the floor or run the mop. To make it as clean as possible means you have to go beyond the usual tasks. If you need to shampoo the carpets, then do it. If you need to move huge furniture and appliances, you have to. Professional cleaners who go beyond the ordinary cleaning ways can help you in the cleanliness tasks.
  • Infuse the house with aroma of real fruits, specifically citrus. According to a study in which several homes were infused with scents of real foods, that which had the scent of real citrus was highly favored by potential home buyers. The scent was chosen over baked goodies and chicken. One precaution though is to avoid the use of chemical-based citrus such as air fresheners. It may create the notion that something is being covered up because the air is chemically infused.
  • Lit up few aromatic candles. Give your house the warmth and comforting scent of aromatic candles. They never fail to relax the mind and soothe the senses. They also send message to potential buyers how relaxing a stay in the house can be.
  • Invoke neutral scents of cleanliness. While some buyers will go for scents, some will just opt for the simple smell of cleanliness. Aligned with the first tip, the use of baking soda and other non-scent products will give off the image of simplicity. This is in contrast with the complex scent that potpourri and fresheners emit.

Scents condition the brain and affects the mood of people. Imagine how your potential buyers would be turned off when there is bad smell circulating inside the house that you are selling. Imagine how they will be tempted to give you offers if your house is appealing, inviting, and nice-smelling.

For other real estate concerns, always approach your local real estate agent.

Finding Your Niche As a Home Staging Professional

Remember when you first started college? As a freshman, the classes you took were all general education courses like math and English. By your second year, you started taking general classes within your major like basic Accounting and Economics, if you were a Business major, and by the time you were ready to graduate, you were taking advanced classes specific to a subject within your major like Marketing.

This is very similar to your growth as a Staging Design Professional. When you first get started, you’re working with everybody (the general public), or in some cases, “anybody” because your business depended on it. You didn’t have the luxury of being choosey because you just needed to get business NOW.

As your business evolves, you may naturally start creating a niche because you just organically attract certain clients or types of projects. If this doesn’t come naturally, you will eventually want to figure out what your distinct segment of the market is or more affectionately, “define your niche”. This is not only the “who”, but also the “what” in the marketplace you serve. For instance, as Stagers, you can work with homeowners, Realtors, builders, developers or investors. Choosing to work with one of these types of folks is part of your niche. The “what” or your specialty, such as model home merchandising or only staging owner occupied properties is also part of your niche.

I was recently at a Mastermind meeting where one of the Realtors mentioned that when she first started her business, she met a mentor who called himself the “Condo King” so she decided to call herself the “Condo Queen” and went on to be known as a condo specialist. I know of a local Stager that specializes in Staging Lofts. As you’ve heard me mention before, one of my niches was in Managing Remodel Projects for Resale. I was the “go to” person when those projects came up because I was known by the local Realtor community as the expert in that area. That also led to several condo conversion renovation projects that I was hired to consult on.

So why would you want to find a niche?

o You are seen as the Expert.

o Experts are able to command higher fees – Your clients want to know that they’re getting the best and they’re usually willing to pay more to have someone who is an Expert. Cardiac surgeons are paid a lot more than a generalist M.D.

o Experts have more credibility – More people want to work with Experts rather than Generalists. There is a higher demand for Specialists and as a result, they command more respect. Just as an Enrolled Agent is paid a lot more for their technical expertise in the field of taxation, particularly IRS audits, than your local H&R Block tax preparer.

o Niching can help separate you from your competition so that you’ll be remembered. Particularly with the “green” movement. Incorporating those principles into your Staging services will not only get consumer attention but you can potentially dominate that market since this is an emerging concept.

o Niching helps you clarify your marketing message. Now that you know who your target market is and what your unique service offering is, you can now build your customer’s awareness of your services as well as your brand with more focused campaigns.

So how do you find your niche?

Ask yourself a few questions. What do people already see you as an expert of? What are you known for or what do you want to be known for? Take a look at your previous projects or your client profiles. Was there a group of folks that you worked with more often than another? Is there an area that you’re particularly better at than anyone else? Where can you be a first at in your marketplace?

It could be that you only do vignette staging which creates a look and feel without the need for a lot of inventory which reduces your overhead expenses. Perhaps you’re known as a Color Specialist or the “Green” Stager. By positioning yourself as the Expert in this sexy, new niche, you will probably get a lot of media exposure since it is the “HOT” topic of the moment.

As you can see, niching helps you clarify who and what you want to work with. By communicating that to your clients, you can help ensure that you’re not taking on projects that are outside of your expertise and eliminate those that bring you the least joy. Over time I found my niche just by working on all kinds of projects and figuring out which ones I enjoyed and which I could easily say no to, regardless of the money.

Figure out what your niche is and you will find that the journey to your Staging success is a lot more fun!

Home Staging Business Plan – 6 Steps to Get You Started

Are you thinking of becoming a professional home stager? You’ve done your research and met with other professionals in the field of home design and real estate. Now what? Before you jump right into the hustle of setting up your home staging business, you need to have a plan first. This will help you stay on track and focus your sights on your business goals.

A business plan will help you put down your business goals and strategies on paper. Whether you are writing a detailed formal business plan to submit to your loan officer, or whether it’s just notes and reminders you’ve jotted down on a notebook, a business plan will help your business prosper in the long run. Below are the main parts of a business plan. You can omit some of these parts if you are not writing particularly to request funding.

1. Executive Summary.

This comes in first, but you have to write it last. After all, it’s difficult for you to write the summary of something you haven’t even written. This should contain all the important points of your business plan, but remember to keep it brief, understandable, and straight-to-the-point for potential investors who are too busy to read the entire document.

2. Company Description.

This includes a description of the nature of your home staging business, how you plan to start your company, a profile of the company owners, the location of your company headquarters (may be your home or a small office), and the facilities owned by your company.

3. Home Staging Services.

It’s important that potential investors understand what kinds of services you are selling. Specify whether you are offering only consultation services, or if you also provide other home staging services such as designing and furniture rentals. Also, identify the competitive edge of your services as compared to other home staging services already available.

4. Market Analysis.

This section requires that you do a little bit of market research. Focus on describing your market and the current demand for home staging. Don’t forget to include an assessment of your competition. This will help you decide what marketing strategies to undertake when you start selling your services.

5. Marketing Strategies.

This is an essential part of the formal business plan. This section describes how you will promote your business, the costs of your marketing strategies, and how you will determine whether these strategies were effective.

6. Financial Data.

If you are still planning on opening your home staging business, this section includes your projected profits in the short and in the long run. For formal business plans, you may need to ask the help of an accountant in writing this part.

The Disadvantages of Home-Staging Business

There’s no doubt that there’s money at home-staging. If you are a home-stager, you know that you are in a unique business. You get to apply your designing and decorating skills while getting paid! But just like anything else, this business has its disadvantages aside from its benefits.

In this down real estate market, every seller wants to sell their homes fast that they do almost anything to generate a sale especially for their properties which had been stuck for more than a year or so. This is because in real estate, the longer the property stays in your hand; the more difficult it is to be sold. The listing becomes stale and real estate agents will not be willing to show those buyers as there are newer properties in the listings.

The best strategy for sellers to get rid of stuck properties is home-staging. But is repairing, painting, changing of curtains and putting a few flowers in a property worth it? Let’s just say that doing all those processes are not expensive, but have you thought about your competitions? The new built homes? The following are the other disadvantages of this business.

There are many anxious sellers who are desperate of getting rid of their homes and the easiest way that they seem to make that happen is to have their home for home-staging. Staging is, no doubt, the most unique approach to sell homes. However, is it really worth your time and effort? What if you staged a home, and still never sell? You just got your money wasted as well your own time. So what to do?

The following are some tips on the advantages and disadvantages of home-staging your property that is up for sale:

1. It takes so much time and so much effort, and may become expensive in the case of homes that are hard to sell.

2. When talking about investment, home-staging is not practical. Remember, a good investment is spending one dollar and getting two in return. If it’s 1 to 1 or 1 to 0, then it is a very bad investment.

3. If you stage the home while you are still living on it, you will have to empty the furniture, empty the closets and drawers, and keep the bathroom clean and fresh every day. That’s another household chore that is difficult to maintain in regular days.

Unless you are willing to make sacrifices, exert extra effort and willing to risk your money, home-staging might not work for you, so think carefully.