American fiction writer, Lois McMaster Bujold wrote: “A stunning first impression was not the same thing as love at first sight, but surely it was an invitation to consider the matter.” This couldn’t be more apropos in its applicability to the use of professional home staging, as part of a successful marketing plan to sell a home.
Marketing professionals have long been aware of the need for strategies that allow them to connect with customers on an emotional and psychological level and how product packaging (good or bad) influences consumer behavior, as well as buying decisions. Understanding consumer psychology and attracting their attention with an impressive presentation, is a time proven marketing strategy that rotates the sphere of consumerism.
For more than a decade, the ubiquitous influence of home staging has evolved into a mainstay of the real estate industry, credited in part to the rise to stardom of property staging shows on various television networks. It has garnered respect and appreciation by others in the industry and it is the final application that sets sellers aside from their competition, especially in a slower market.
It’s important to remember that once a home goes on the market, it is no longer a home. It is a product. And just like any other product that is creatively packaged and marketed to the public with the objective to sell, home staging (the packaging) can affect the way a buyer views a home, which leads to a decision to purchase or not to purchase.
Home staging appeals to neophyte and savvy homebuyers alike, offering a panoramic perspective of a home’s potential, while highlighting its greatest features. Home buyers have expectations and they want those expectations to be met. They need to be able to envision themselves beginning a new life in the home and it is the seller’s responsibility to paint that picture with defining strokes.
An unimaginative interior of a home being marketed to potential buyers is démodé and can quite possibly lead to it languishing on the market, eventually leading to price drops. While there are other factors that should not be ignored or trivialized, which may certainly contribute to a home’s loss of appeal in addition to a lengthy market life, home staging should always be exploited to improve the overall enhancement and marketability of a home.
This doesn’t translate into every home needing a dramatic makeover; some homes require more while others require less. This is when the decision to invest in full or partial staging should be made. However, whether a full or partial home staging is being curated, the staging should always be less individualistic and focus more on neutrality. When I say, neutrality, I am not suggesting drawing from a stale palette, but rather infusing current design trends into the staging landscape, to fashion a space that is recognizable to homebuyers.
For example, adding trending hues of bold teal or soft blush and the use of furniture and décor items crafted from wood and metal materials, will ignite their familiarity because after all, experienced or inexperienced, many contemporary buyers have done their research and tend to hold a broad knowledge base of design trends. Buyers want to see homes that are not only worthwhile, but inspiring, which is another reason home staging gained enormous traction and became an essential part of the real estate market.
As we continue to journey through 2018, we shouldn’t expect to see any signs of professional home staging slowing. The art of home staging will continue to be looked upon as a necessary and useful marketing tool that is highly sought after. As competition between sellers continues to grow due to ever changing industry and market demands, it will be prudent to commission a home stager who changes with the market and not only has comprehensive knowledge of current design trends, but extensive knowledge of the real estate market as well.
Homebuyers put forth painstaking effort to ensure that the home that is available, is the home that they want. Sellers, agents and other industry professionals, should take equal measures to ensure that the homes that buyers want, are the homes that they’ve made available.