Carol Carnevale • DRE# 00946687 • 650.465.5958
Nicole Aron • DRE# 00952657 • 650.740.7954
Staging a home prior to presenting it to the market is the local standard of care in the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula and Silicon Valley. Staging maximizes the value of the home by minimizing or eliminating objections and also by enhancing appeal. It is a powerful and effective tool and sellers are richly rewarded for their investment.
Minimally, staging may consist of tidying up, but often it requires quite a bit more! Few sellers have the objectivity to determine how to best present their homes to prospective buyers. Thus, the most effective approach is to work with a Realtor and stager who together formulate a presentation plan for taking your home to market. The Realtor has insight to the market trends, other competing homes and buyer preferences while a good stager expertly displays a home keeping in mind current colors, trends, traffic patterns and potential buyer objections to the size of a room or an odd floorplan.
Staging is different than interior design. The goal of interior design is to create personalized spaces for one client. The goal of staging a home, by contrast, is to minimize objections and create appeal to a broad audience. Comprehensive staging may include painting, surface changes, floor refinishing, lighting changes, garden enhancement and interior and exterior furnishings.
Painting is the least expensive way to refresh a home and accomplish an updated look. Lighter colors serve to open up a space and make it feel larger, while darker colors can be used to accentuate features or add a dramatic touch. Color selection is the background for choosing other staging elements for a coordinated visual effect.
Hardwood floors are very popular with buyers. A thorough cleaning may restore the luster, but usually floors require either screening by applying a new coat of polyurethane or refinishing. If refinishing, the Realtor/stager team can help select a new color to coordinate with the overall staging design. If a home doesn’t have hardwood floors rarely is it advisable to install them.
Carpets can be professionally cleaned but often the recommendation is to replace them. Sellers sometimes worry that they might pick a color that is too light or might soil easily. It’s important to remember that the goal is to present a coordinated visual effect and a refreshed interior. The carpet color recommendation from the stager will likely be neutral.
Refreshing older bathrooms and kitchens may be as simple as paint, hardware and lighting changes, but sometimes the condition or color of the fixtures requires greater attention. There are vendors who specialize in cleaning and restoring grout and caulking. A more extreme and cost-effective approach is to reglaze tile and fixtures. Occasionally, it makes sense to replace the sinks and countertops.
Furniture and accessories complete the interior staging. Stagers know how to select furniture to scale so that a room appears spacious. Often fabrics are solid colors and throw pillows or blankets, art and accessories add color or whimsical accents. It’s possible that a stager may work with a homeowner’s existing furnishings. When this happens there will likely be some paring down and possibly rearranging.
Enhancing curb appeal is another vital aspect of presenting your home. It’s the first impression a prospective buyer will have. A good start is to prune overgrown vegetation that obscures visibility or impedes natural light. Sometimes homeowners express concern over privacy and it’s important to consider what will be seen when the screening is removed. In a home that we once represented, a tree camouflaged the neighbor’s laundry! More often than not, the advantages of pruning will outweigh privacy concerns. Other techniques for improving curb appeal include fresh plantings, mulching flowerbeds, cleaning the exterior surfaces and accessorizing the front porch.
Once the staging is complete the active marketing of the home can be launched.
It’s important to note that in California sellers are required to disclose conditions that may materially affect value and desirability of the property. In our area, it is common that sellers provide pre-sale inspection reports and buyers consider these when making an offer. For this reason, we highly recommend that sellers obtain the reports prior to commencing any staging preparation so that buyers are fully aware of the condition of the home before staging has been done.
Look for our next few posts where we describe some of the homes we’ve marketed and the staging approach we took to successfully market and sell the property.
Contact us with any questions about staging or marketing your home.
Carol & Nicole