Q: How Do You Stage Your Home in the Era of COVID?

Dated: November 20 2020

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Here are a few tips to stage your home so that it looks its best on the market.

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We’re not breaking any news here, but real estate professionals and consumers have had to roll with the punches ever since COVID-19 hit back in spring.

With the number of coronavirus cases increasing, traditional open houses have been occurring less frequently. In some regions, they don’t happen at all. This doesn’t mean folks have stopped listing their homes, though. As we know, buyers are ravenous for available homes, which means everyone’s been relying on digital tools (e.g., virtual home tours and photos). The point is, staging is more valuable than ever if sellers want to create great listing photos and a great first impression for current buyers.

“Bright,” “spacious,” and “open” are the most popular recurring themes buyers are drawn to, so if you’re putting your home on the market, it’s up to you to give them what they want. Thankfully, this requires minimal cost and effort. It’s time to start Marie Kondo-ing up your crib!

To do this, your first step should be to declutter and clean. Clutter is the top perpetrator for bad impressions. It creates the illusion that the home is small, disorganized, unkempt, and not worth its asking price. That might not be true, but that’s the perception. Trust us when we say less is more. You’re moving anyway, so why not get a head start on packing and organizing? Once you’re done with that—meaning the space inside your home looks free and clear—add a few thoughtful accessories and pops of color. These will anchor the eye in photos and virtual tours and excite buyers enough to want to visit your home in person.

The brightness of your home (or lack thereof) is also an easy fix. Just open up the blinds and consider replacing heavy curtains with sheer material. You might even consider removing window coverings entirely to enhance your home’s natural light and any exterior views it offers. When helping our clients with staging, we’ve yanked curtain rods down completely, and it gave their rooms a natural facelift every time. After the windows are open, it’s time to turn on every single light no matter what time of day it is. This will elevate any in-person showing experiences and improve your home’s photos.

    It’s time to start Marie Kondo-ing up your crib!

This next tip we can’t stress enough: Use a professional photographer! Before COVID, the first thing buyers did when they came across a listing on the internet was click through its photos to see whether it was worth seeing in person. Quality professional photos will cost a pretty penny (usually a few hundred dollars), but a) they’ll net you thousands more at the end of the day, and b) your agent probably has a professional photographer on speed dial anyway whose services they’ll include in their commission package. These professionals have a keen eye for details that you or your agent don’t have, and they have the right equipment to accentuate those details.

Lastly, although you might be tempted to stage your home into something grandiose and spectacular for the market, stay true to your home and keep the staging simple. Rented furnishings may create the illusion of space, but buyers will be let down when they visit your home in person. The goal is to create a great first impression and maintain it all the way through to a successful sale.

We take these steps very seriously when assisting our clients, so if you have questions about today’s topic or you’re thinking of selling your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can help. We’d love to hear from you.

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Bob Snyder

As a licensed real estate professional in Minnesota and Wisconsin and a nation-wide referral community. I provide much value to facilitating real estate transactions with focus in the luxury and reloc....

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