Article: Speak Easy

Home Staging:  The Good Kind  of Home Invasion with Michael BoturHome Staging:  The Good Kind of Home Invasion with Michael Botur

Sure, some homes will sell without being prettied up or ‘staged,’ but when people are looking at buying your place during a time when the market is hot, spending three or four figures on home staging to potentially generate five figures in a higher sale price is clearly worth it. Home staging can also result in a quicker sale (prospective buyers may want the place to look exactly as it is presented to them, ASAP, and they may even ask for the furniture which has been staged in the home… which many home staging companies can in fact sell to the buyer).

Before I talk about the virtues of home staging, let me share a story about what happens when you DON’T stage your home for prospective buyers.

After putting in an offer on our first home in 2015, my wife and I went back to the place after it had been arranged that the occupants would be home and ready to open up. This wasn’t just any visit: it was an inspection to satisfy the bank that this was a suitable home to lend out several hundred thousand dollars on. Within a ten minute period, two prospective buyers, the real estate agent, the home owner, building inspectors and roof inspectors all clustered in the driveway.

Problem: we couldn’t get inside the place, because the occupants failed to come to the door for the first 30 minutes, and just when all of us people intent on making or spending hundreds and thousands were ready to give up, an intoxicated person woke up, realised there were people waiting outside, and reluctantly opened the door. 

The place wasn’t tidy when we first visited it, either. That occupant needed a home stager to get his A into G.

Home staging is an investment. If done right, it will get your home sold more quickly and for more money. Remember, the longer your property remains on the market, the less desirable it becomes. Long-standing properties may carry a stigma; buyers might assume that there is something wrong with the property and could be deterred from making enquiries. This can force the property’s value down, leading you to accept a lower price.

What you should do it get an initial consultation. The fee for this may be waived or it may be tacked onto the final bill; regardless, be alert to how in-depth the stager is looking at your home.  Also be sure to get a quote clearly indicating how much the staging service is likely to charge you, because some of the work can be really intensive – for example, moving furniture, moving a fridge, storing whatever is taken out, not to mention cleaning. Another expense may be new accessories.

To get the most out of home staging, do the following.

Firstly, shop around and get quotes from every home stager offering to improve your place. Then talk through and organise what will be taken out of your home – but also what will improve it (home staging services can BRING IN whatever accessories make a place look amazing… for a fee, of course).

Next, choose whether you are doing a full staging, staging just a couple of rooms, doing interior styling, and whether you will take care of the outside yourself or you need the lawns and driveway staged too.

Once all that stuff is done, budget your time. Home stagers need up to a full eight hours to work their magic, from consultation to setup to finessing the home an hour before Open Home. However, because you may have multiple open home sessions, and people visiting your property for weeks, many home stagers provide a full rental service – meaning you can have amazing furniture with matching colours in your place for a whole month. That necessitates insurance and security features. It all gets very complicated – but it could pay for itself. 

Michael Botur has published journalism in NZ Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana and he writes a lot of fiction. He moved to Whangarei in 2015 and was ecstatic to be able to afford a house here.

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