Sometimes a “lesson learned” comes with a high-stress price tag…but it’s often worth it. A few weeks ago my husband and I learned that a home we’d had our eye on for several months dropped the price. We decided to take a leap of faith, made an offer, and it was accepted!
“Next step: we have to have put our current home on the market and get a sales contract within 14 days,” my real estate agent/husband told me.
Mmm-hmmm…Ok. Should be no problem for a Realtor husband and a home stager wife, right? No pressure at all! <insert exhausted, hysterical laughter here>
Well, I am happy to say that within 3 days of activating our listing we DID, in fact, get a sales contract on our current home. But what I learned (and was reminded of) during this back-breaking, anxiety attack inducing experience, I feel compelled to share with other home sellers and those who work with sellers on a regular basis. Take note…
Home Staging Lesson Learned #1: I will no longer use the phrase “de-clutter” when talking to my clients.
I don’t think I had realized how emotionally charged this word feels. Doing what I do, I am constantly reminded of the need to simplify my surroundings. I keep things extremely neat, tidy, and organized around my home and felt fairly confident I’d be able to get our home staged in no time flat.
After my third trip to Goodwill in a 12-hour period and becoming increasingly personally acquainted with the staff, I came to the conclusion that I was very, very wrong. Even though my home wasn’t “cluttered,” the truth is that there were still a LOT of things in my house that we had outgrown, no longer used, no longer needed or wanted, and it just didn’t make sense to pack and move them. To my mind, “de-clutter” implies that one is messy. Because I am not messy, I wrongly assumed that meant I didn’t have clutter. What I learned from this humbling experience is that, as it relates to staging, I think a more accurate phrase home sellers should embrace is “less is more” or just “reduce and simplify.”
*In a related note, sellers should remember it is hard to be objective about your own stuff! I do this for other people all the time, and once our photos came back, I still noticed several items that probably should have been removed or neutralized for a better photo presentation. Reducing your “visual clutter” (stuff that’s not junky or messy, but still a visual distraction for buyers) is why it’s good to get a professional stager to come in as an objective third party.
Home Staging Lesson Learned #2: Staging is an important part of emotionally disconnecting with your home.
I raised my little ones in this home. My husband and I experienced personal and professional milestones in this home. We needed more space for our growing family and growing business, but it was breaking my heart a little to leave this place that held so many memories. Enter home staging…my professional mind knew this needed to happen. My bookshelves were carefully organized — but they needed to be less full, less personalized, less distracting to potential buyers. The walls had gorgeous family photos (and murals!) —but they needed to come down so buyers could visualize their own family living there. My kids had adorable play sets and large toys — but they needed to be packed away so buyers could see how spacious the room was. As I busily packed away treasured items and repainted spaces, as it gradually became less personal and felt less like OUR home, I learned that staging helped us begin that all-important process of detachment. AND we all began to grow more excited about moving to the new house.
Home Staging Lesson Learned #3: It is so worth it!
Staging your home — and living in a staged home — is without question a completely stressful experience. Your world is upside down while you move, reorganize, camouflage, rearrange, and neurotically clean every facet of what has always been your sanctuary. You chase after every crumb with a wet sponge, yell at people for daring to sit on a couch with freshly fluffed pillows, painstakingly make the bed with ALL the throw pillows every day…but if you do stage it right and if you price it right, the offers WILL come. And then you can start to relax again and look forward with excitement to a future in your brand new home!
Want More Lessons Learned? We Can Teach You!
You may already know that Three Bears Home Staging specializes in positive, empowering home staging consultations that teach home sellers how to maximize what they already have for a faster, more profitable sale. But did you also know that we can teach you how to stage your own home ONLINE?
Our self-paced, online home staging course walks homeowners through the step-by-step process of properly preparing and staging their own home for a faster, more profitable sale!