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Why Staging Matters: Confessions of a Buyer’s Realtor

As a licensed realtor in Iowa, I really enjoy seeing homes with buyers. I especially enjoy seeing occupied homes that have been “staged”. Homeowners who are selling their home may not realize this, but homebuyers make a decision on whether or not they are interested in a house within 30 seconds of walking into the home. As a seller, you have 30 seconds to capture their enthusiasm. Homebuyers will then spend the remainder of the showing carefully checking the house to see if it truly meets all of their requirements.

Not Convinced? Listen to This Homebuyer’s Story

I was working with some first-time homebuyers in December. We ended up seeing about 10 homes before they found “the right house”; well, three to be exact, just like on HGTV’s House Hunters.

Option 1: Beautiful Front Porch, But…

The homebuyers found a house online, I’ll call this house, “Option 1”. Option 1 had a beautiful front porch, a sizable dining area, and a fenced-in yard. Option 1 did not have a dishwasher, which was one of their important requirements, but because the home looked so inviting, we went to see it anyway.

Unfortunately, when we got to Option 1, we found that some rooms were not included in the initial photographs. For instance, there was a purple bedroom (with purple baseboards)! Some of the rooms had the bare minimum furniture required for staging, but had clearly been decluttered a little too much, making the house feel sterile. Subconsciously, the homebuyers did not feel like this was “their home”. They had been hooked for the first 30 seconds, but then they decided to keep looking.

Option 2: Small, But Welcoming

Next, we moved on to Option 2. The homebuyers loved the neighborhood of Option 2, but just looking at pure square footage, they were concerned it might be a bit small. Just in case, we still went to look at Option 2.

When we entered Option 2, they were immediately struck by how welcoming the space felt. My sweet homebuyers loved the living room, especially because the owners had tastefully decorated for the holidays, while still keeping the home very neutral. It could have been in a magazine! Even though we walked in with no real hope that this house would work for them, my homebuyers came extremely close to writing an offer. These buyers felt they could be happy in this home, because the current sellers showed how well the home worked. Unfortunately, Option 2 sold very quickly, so we moved on.

Option 3: Just Right

Option 3 hit the market the next day, and we looked immediately. Again, the 30-second rule applied; because we had seen enough houses, these homebuyers were wary about being disappointed. We started checking everything off their list: sunlight, square footage, dishwasher, dining area, bedroom sizes, functional floor plan. Every room was staged beautifully. The sellers had neutral paint colors, the right size and spacing of furniture, and just the right décor touches like lighting, plants, and bookshelves.

We spent 45 minutes at this showing, just walking through the house. They already saw themselves living in this home, and it wasn’t theirs yet! When we wrote the offer (that was ultimately accepted), the homebuyers had already put together a list of improvements they wanted to make, which were very minimal, and were planning out their move.

How Does This Apply to Selling a Home?

So, why does this story matter if you’re selling a home? As you can see, homebuyers are absolutely impacted by how the home makes them feel. As much as they care about location or functionality, homebuyers respond to a home that draws them in and makes them feel “at home”.

If you’re looking to sell your home, and want an unbiased look at how to stage it, that’s exactly what we provide. At Stagerie, we want to make your home the “right” option for every homebuyer who walks in the door.

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