| Selling

We get asked this question a lot by clients eager to get their homes on the market, “Can staging my home really increase the sale price?” We’ve come across some real stunners when it comes to selling homes for our Toronto clients and these homeowners are the ones who tend to ask this question most often. We’re talking House and Home, Architecture Magazine level homes. But guess what? Even those homes needed staging. And the reason might surprise you! 

Here we explain how staging works and why it really does increase the sale price.  

Beautiful Homes Need Staging Too

The truth is the purpose of staging isn’t to showcase up to date furniture. Nope! Instead, we stage homes to make the most of the space and flow in your home. So, while you might have all the colours, furnishings and décor of a magazine-worthy design scheme, the only thing that counts is letting your home be the star. And that’s not an easy task when your interior designer nailed it. 

The problem is that your interior was a) designed for you and b) doesn’t always read practical to the average buyer. 

So, while it might look absolutely fabulous, all that perfection makes it hard for buyers to actually picture themselves moving into your home. You might trigger all kinds of inner dialogue such as:

  • Insecurities: How will I ever keep up to these standards when I move in? Will I have to invest tons of money in pricey furniture just to live in this space? My couch is so ugly, do I have bad taste? 
  • Confusion: What the heck is that thing, a chair? How do I sit in that? It doesn’t look very comfortable, why would someone buy that? 
  • Awe: Wait, what is that an actual Adam Neate on the wall? That must have cost a fortune. Nah, it’s probably just a cheap print in a nice frame… But you know, it could be, let me get a closer look.

These are just a few examples of how that too perfect interior décor can lead to distractions that keep people from seeing the real possibilities of not your home, but a home that actually meets the average buyer’s needs.  Staging creates that neutral yet inviting look that highlights space, flow, light, and possibilities with non-specific attraction that never distracts from your home’s potential. 

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The Purpose of Staging

So, not to repeat ourselves, but staging is strategic, not so much in the interior design as it is in showcasing the home’s potential. Your beautiful possessions distract from your home, which can create an epic failure: Not creating that emotional spark that tells people they’ve found the one. 

Staging will:

  • Make the space feel organic and flow beautifully from room to room
  • Create open spaces
  • Bring in more light 
  • Optimize layouts
  • Create emotional and visual appeal
  • Modernize OR bring out the historic character of the home
  • Create an aspirational yet realistic design 
  • Welcome buyers with curb appeal 
  • Tackle those DIY repairs and cleaning tasks

Staging is serious stuff that requires assessing the property and determining how to highlight pros and take away from flaws.

The Psychology Behind Staging

The psychology behind staging almost sounds contradictory in that our job is to create a psychological blank canvas yet ensure every room doesn’t feel empty. Weird but true. This sets the stage as a home, while ensuring each room is free of clutter and personal touches that make it hard to envision living in the home. We want buyers to create a different inner dialogue where they’re thinking:

  • My grandma’s baking stuff can hang perfectly on this kitchen wall
  • Ah ha, a glass of red wine in front of a roaring fire: My Friday nights are set for life! 
  • Oh, the kids will love this as a playroom 
  • This will make the perfect office, look at that view

It fills buyers’ minds with possibilities and drums up memories to come. It’s very emotional while making it clear that: 

  • All the best features stand out so buyers can picture themselves living in the rooms 
  • There are no repairs needed and the home is move-in ready
  • The home is spacious, and each room easily serves a purpose ideal for the buyer 
  • This home is authentic, not staged as an illusion – someone lives here and was happy and I can be too 

Staging is designed to create those emotional triggers not just about putting the idea of home ownership into reach, but also creating connections that say, “This is home.” 

Looking for the right real estate agent to sell your home? Read 10 Tips For Finding the Best Toronto Real Estate Team here.

6 Psychological Strategies of Staging

We’ve found there are six psychological strategies to staging:

  1. The perfect balance of furnishing and that “blank canvas” 

Removing all the clutter and personality from your home creates a home that feels lived in yet allows buyers to imagine themselves living in a space with their own personal elements. 

  1. Aspirational, not personal design schemes 

Staging needs to be aspirational yet not personal to trigger that emotional connection between what a buyer has always pictured in a home and your property. Knowing who your target buyer is helps set the perfect aspirational stage whether it’s showcasing kid’s rooms, a home office, a chef’s kitchen, ideal entertainment space, etc. 

  1. Appeal to the senses 

A home that smells like a home, not cigarette or pot smoke, wet dog, or last night’s dinner, clears the emotional palette so people experience your home through the sights and smells that feel homey. While scented candles are a red flag you’re hiding something, the smell of baked cookies or coffee allows sensory memories to sell the house. 

  1. Invite people in using settings

It’s not just about furnishings, but also envisioning a lifestyle. A table set for dinner, a backyard staged for summer barbecues, a bathroom with fresh towels, pretty hand creams and soaps, a master bedroom with a bed layered with cozy pillows and inviting linens, a chair in the corner of the living room beside the fireplace with a reading light, cup of coffee and a good book, etc. 

  1. Showcase function

Buyers also have to see the function of the space with perfect flow, intentional furnishings so rooms don’t seem random and lack purpose, and plenty of space that shows the room will work for that purpose without feeling cramped. 

  1. Let there be light

Open curtains let in natural light, while the use of effective window treatments to either highlight views or distract from them add to that sense of openness while making the home feel aglow with warmth. 

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Just the Facts

As real estate agents, we’re kind of statistical nerds who depend on the numbers to make sure our client’s get top dollar when selling. We figure one of the easiest ways to convince sellers staging does increase sales price, is to share some stats. According to the Real Estate Staging Association:

  • Staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than un-staged homes
  • 85% of stages homes sell for 5% to 25% above listing price

While there are tons of other factors that impact offers, a staged home can help overcome issues such as competing listings, fickle buyers, interest rates, your neighbourhood and more. So, when comparing apples to apples with a staged home and unstaged home, your home will stand out as the one that made a lasting impression and triggers those valuable emotions that translate into dollars. 

The Benefits of Professional Home Staging

Because of the psychology involved, it’s important to leave the staging up to the professionals. We’ll ensure your home is staged perfectly to attract the types of buyers hunting in your neighbourhood. Good staging ensures: 

  • The best features in your home shine so people feel a very strong connection that overcomes any shortfalls in the home they might have once thought of as “deal breakers” 
  • The home is free of those little finicky things buyers tend to focus on such as inconsistent baseboards, creaking doors, missing cabinet handles, cracked windowpanes, etc. that make a home feel uncared for and high maintenance 
  • All rooms are neutralized without too distinct wall colours, patterns, etc. that make a home feel overwhelming instead of spacious and comfy 
  • There is zero clutter to avoid fears the rooms are small or your home lacks storage 

There are a few other things you can do to help increase your home’s appeal and value including:

  • Investing in new light fixtures and faucets so the home feels well cared for and updated
  • Having an assessment of your systems such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc. to make sure everything is working to avoid surprises during home inspections (if something needs repairs do it before listing to avoid asks to reduce the asking price)
  • Highlighting storage with closet organizers, shelves, etc.
  • Replacing kitchen and bathroom cabinet/vanity knobs
  • Investing in minor landscaping updates to highlight low maintenance
  • Having your windows professionally cleaned

We also recommend having your home assessed by a real estate agent to determine where you can invest to see the best ROI when you sell. 

The Bottom Line

Once all is said and done, the market will dictate the price. However, especially in a market where homes aren’t selling or competition is stiff, you can maximize your home’s value and get up to 25% above asking with proper staging. 

Considering selling? Call The Christine Cowern Team at 416.291.7372 or email us at hello@christinecowern.com with any questions or to set up a call or free home assessment. We’d love to work with you!