Myths about home staging – exposed!

In part one of a two part series, experienced home stager Janne Petrie exposes some of the myths on home staging.

As a home stager I spend a lot of time talking to Real Estate Agents and homeowners and one thing that I have found is that everyone has a different idea for what home staging is. To put it simply, home staging is about maximising the value of a property. This is done firstly through preparation of the property to ensure that it is market ready and then beautifully presented to appeal to the most likely buyers using furniture and accessories.

It sounds like a very practical and beneficial concept however there are many misconceptions out there and now is the time to set the record straight and debunk many of the myths and stigmas that have grown up around the concept over the years. Whether you’re and advocated or a long time sceptic, by the end you may have see more of the benefits of home staging for your vendors.

1. Home Staging is for the Luxury Home Market
Definitely not! Home Staging is still a relatively new concept here in Australia and although it has been available for a while in the major capital cities it well accepted in the luxury market which has given it a reputation as an elite service that is only available to the wealthy. This is far from the truth!

Every property should be presented well for sale. Home Staging is about presenting a property so that appeals to the most buyers. It doesn’t matter whether the property is a luxury apartment or a suburban home.

It has become even more important since the internet became the main way that buyers search for a property. It is the new kerb appeal and presentation can make the difference between an inspection or not. Beautiful presentation creates fabulous photos for internet and marketing campaign. This creates more buyer interest, more inspections and more offers. It is a ‘knock-on’ affect that can change the course of a sale.

2. Home Staging and Property Styling are the same
Yes, and No. It is difficult to give a definitive answer. It really depends on the individual business as to what terminology they use. Home Staging is the international term used for presenting properties for sale. You will notice that all the TV shows that come from the US or UK that they will refer to home staging. In Australia property styling has been the term used however I believe the concept was based around styling vacant property. As I was trained in North America as a Home Staging that is the terminology I will use here.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what they call themselves, it is about getting to know your local stager/stylist and finding out what services they offer and, of course, if they are right for your business and clients. Simply having a stager you can call on will put you ahead of most. It is an important as having a good photographer or handyman.

It is important to find out a little about what they can do for you, not all staging businesses are the same or offer the same services so you need to research. Things to find out include… Do they offer a consultation? What sort? Is it comprehensive and detailed or is quick and basic. Do they style occupied property? Do they style vacant property? What is their process? What is the cost? What are their qualifications / background / experience? Do they have access to furniture and accessories? All these questions will help you to understand how they can help you and benefit your clients.

Finding a person or company with which you are comfortable, can build a relationship and can offer a great service is a win-win for all.

3. Home Staging is too Expensive for Most Homeowners
Not at all, staging a property can be very affordable compared to the return on investment. If a property is occupied and the stager is using the homeowner’s furniture then it is a very cost effective option.

For vacant property then furnishing can add the appeal that connects the buyer and helps them ‘fall in love’ with the property. With less than 10% of people being able to visualise a space furnishing it can make all the difference to how they perceive a property.
For those with very limited budgets a staging consultation can give the homeowner the direction and focus to improve the property for a minimal fee.

Unfortunately we don’t have aggregated statistics for staging in Australia however my own business stats have shown a return of approximately 500% on staging investment. In North America where statistics are available the ROI is around 369%. For example, buyers who spent $1000 on staging yielded around $5000 at sale. ‘Staging investment’ in this case includes what the owner has spent on preparation such as painting, cleaning, gardening etc, as well as the stager’s labour and rental fees.

(Next week: More myths and tips on Home Staging!)

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Janne Petrie

Janne Petrie is a Certified Staging Professional (CSP) and a co-principal of the Staging Professionals based in Sydney, Australia.