How presentation pays dividends when selling

Andrew Degn

There are myriad aspects to selling a home. From selecting your agent and determining the buyer profile to setting the price and establishing your terms and conditions, selling a home is a more intricate proposal than many people understand.

And a range of service providers is on hand to assist in the process such as photographers, floor plan designers and videographers.

One service that’s gaining more prominence is staging, but many sellers still ask me, “What is staging and how will it help sell my home?”

So, to help, I had a chat with Shane Calvino of Calvino Design who stages homes for sale. Shane delivered her take on the value of staging and why it’s an exceptional value-add for vendors.

What is staging?

Property staging involves a professional stylist furnishing your home to give it maximum appeal to potential buyers. Thestylist applies their experience to consider the space and type of property you’re selling. They will source furniture for hire that suits your property and shows it off in its best light when it comes to any open homes or inspections, photography and video marketing.

Why it’s important

Shane explained several reasons why staging makes good sense when selling.

Firstly, the stylist has experience in reimagining spaces. They are experts at visualising how the property should be presented to attract the widest possible audience. This is something that owners often can’t do effectively because of their emotional tie to the home and the way they’ve furnished and decorated it while living there.

The professional stylist will depersonalise the space. They will consider the home’s design style and the type of buyer who will be attracted to it. For example, you may have a beautiful contemporary home that has strong Mid-Century Modern elements. The stylist will recognise that the buyer will likely be a family – perhaps with younger kids. They then select furniture that’s true to the modernist design aesthetic but is also welcoming to the dominant buyer type.

Then there’s furniture placement as part of the service. The positioning of furniture will speak volumes about a room. For example, an owner may have forced a queen size bed and oversized chair into a room that is better served by a large single bed placed centrally against a wall with an appropriate bedside table and a study desk.

Flow is essential when potential buyers come to look at the property as well. When inspecting, prospective purchaserswant to get a feel for how comfortable and easy the home is to live in and the way spaces interact with each other. The stylist will incorporate maximum flow into their furniture selection and placement.

A stylist is skilled at injecting character into spaces as well. Stark, sometimes soulless, spaces can be brought to life with the right furnishings – particularly those where the resident has moved out and all that remains is empty rooms.

Staging also makes all the promotional channels look fantastic. Photos and videos absolutely pop in the marketing program when staging has been thoughtfully completed.

Another big plus from using a home stylist is the chance to set a premium price mindset among buyers. The use of high-end furnishings and artwork sets the property apart from others. It signifies the property is of premium standard. Buyers walkinginto the home will be struck (even subconsciously) by the quality of the furniture and art, and may more easily adjust their offer expectation upward.

The added value of staging

The price of staging varies, with most projects falling between $4000 and $15,000. Variables such as the size of the property, its quality level and price point, access challenges and the length of time the furnishings are to be in situ all affect the cost.

The upside is that the return on that cost can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. If effective professional staging helped convince a buyer to pay just an extra five per cent for a home, that would equal $75,000 in added value on a $1.5 million purchase. That’s certainly plenty of bang for buck.

I’ve seen the value of staging in my own practice. Recently we had a listing that wasn’t moving. The property was very formally presented by the owner – nice furnishings but quite individual to their taste. It sat for two months without a serious offer, so I suggested we bring in Shane. She reduced the amount of formal furniture and swapped it out for staging that would appeal to the right buyer demographic. Three days later it sold.

Shane said her top tip for homeowners is simply to put your faith in the process and the stylist’s expertise. Accept it’s not being staged for your personal taste but for a broader buyer demographic.

Staging works

As Shane often jokes, “Not staging your home is like going out on a first date with dirty hair, scruffy clothes and expecting the other person to use their imagination – it’sprobably not going to work out for you. You need to make a great first impression to get the best result.”

There are only two things you can truly control when it comes to selling a home and that’s price and presentation. Factors beyond those are dictated by the economy, national emotion and individual buyer sentiment. Determining the price will be a discussion between you and your agent based on sales evidence and your requirements.

But presentation is a time for your home to shine. Using a professional to achieve an optimal result simply makes good sense.