Those, who are involved in real estate know that selling a house vacant is a tough sale because only 10% of buyers can imagine how to utilize the space and where to position the furniture.
Therefore, when looking at online MLS photos we can frequently find that home sellers and often even real estate agents put just any furniture into the house to “showcase”. I have heard things like:
- Home Seller: “I no longer need these furniture and did not want to bring this with me to my new home, so I left them here to show the space”
- Real Estate Agent: “Let’s stage the house. I have some old furniture in my basement that I no longer use, so I just bring them over to show how the space can be utilized”
So, what’s wrong with this? This is not staging!! While we agree with showing how the space can be utilized is important, we completely disagree with these approaches for vacant home staging. This is Why:
The chances are that if you no longer want to have this furniture, your potential home buyers even less so want to have to look at these old furniture when they are trying to have a fresh start in a new home. If you’re staging your home and your wanting to make the best impression of your wood floors like in example 1, you could look at wood floor cleaning tips. Or if you are aiming to stage your furniture, consider purchasing the best upholstery steam cleaner as this will make the furniture look brand new. You won’t be wasting your money as you’ll be able to use it on your new furniture too, in your new home!
Every piece that goes into a staging design sends a conscious and unconscious message to home buyers. If not chosen carefully and with the knowledge and understanding who the most likely buyers are and what they aspire to, this can decrease the perceived value of your house and attract low offers or no offers. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples – what messages do these two listing photos send to buyers:
Buyer’s impression: This room looks kind of updated, but what’s with this ugly desk? It makes the room look more dated. What is this room anyway? Is it a bedroom, an office? Very confusing…
Imagine if the room did not have the desk in there what would the thoughts of buyers be:
It looks like a freshly painted and updated room – possibly a bedroom, not sure though.
Side note: This house is sitting on the market for many months now.
So, now imagine they see the same room, just now it is staged (the photo below is a different room, but very similar in window setting and shape as we had not staged the room above).
What will buyer’s think now: nice bedroom, freshly updated room, move in ready, I can see myself here, let’s go and check it out
The perceived value is higher than of the vacant room above.
BTW – this house sold in 3 days with multiple offers – yes, it is not just about this one room to sell the house, but it showcases that dressing the house right gets the necessary buyers’ traffic into the house.
This is an apartment that was attempted to be staged by someone – certainly not by a qualified professional
Buyer’s impression: Hmm, seller seems to not have enough money to buy a bed. They must be desperate for selling this property. I can get this probably for a lower price and negotiate them down.
If this room was staged properly with the right amount and quality of furniture instead of with a blow up mattress on the floor, and if it had appropriate wall art and decor that is geared towards target buyers, this would look upscale instead of bringing the perceived value down.
As professional home stagers who has successfully staged many, many homes in Fairfield county and Westchester county we do not just bring in any kind of furniture, but carefully analyze who the target buyer/s is by creating not just a demographic profile, but also a psychographic profile to best understand how we need to dress a naked house or apartment to make the biggest impact to differentiate the house from the competition (other houses on the market) and to get the buyers into the door for a successful sale. Every item we put into the staging design is being carefully selected and strategically placed to create emotional connections and a lifestyle experience for buyers. After all, buyers do not by houses, they buy a home and a lifestyle they aspire to.
So, rather than leaving or putting just any type of furniture into a vacant house, think about this twice and make sure that what you put into the house will not hurt your sale, but rather help your selling process. You can see here some classy and bespoke furniture options here that you should definitely consider. Consult with a professional stager first. Most stagers will work with you as much as they can with the furniture you have, if these pieces are supporting your sale rather than hurting it. Happy selling!