Real Estate

Reduce, Refocus, Reorganize

It is a common misconception that home staging and interior design are the same thing. It is easy to see how one can draw a parallel between the two - each involve organizing a room to maximize the appeal of the space, they include working with furniture and accessories and are both, often , done by the same person - an interior designer. While there are plenty of similarities between home staging and designing, the philosophy is quite different. An awesome professional designer may not make the best home stager, and a great home stager will not always be a great designer.

A home stager is surgical in their approach; they get in, declutter, brighten and lighten the space, reorganize the rooms and get out. Home staging is impersonal and unemotional. Stagers are trained professionals who know how to maximize the home’s appeal to the widest range of buyers so that it will sell for more money, and in less time. A staged home should be neutral, bright, on-trend and executed in a manner that accentuates the positive architectural elements of the home. In fact, a home stager will stage a “house” and not a “home”. They look at your house as a commodity that, in addition to its intrinsic value will have, after staging, added extrinsic value by providing potential buyers with a clean, minimal example of how they might live in the home, therefore helping a homeowner client maximize their return on investment . According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 77% of buyers’ agents say that staging a home makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home, and 62% of sellers’ agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home sits on the market.

An interior designer’s process is much different. As opposed to a stager’s goal of depersonalizing a home, a designer’s focus is, very much, to personalize a home. A home that is designed is tailored to the tastes and preferences of the homeowner. A designer will start with the home as a blank canvas and add layer upon layer of design elements that match the personality and lifestyle of the homeowner. Sometimes a designed room will have universal appeal, but that is not the goal - the aim is to surround the homeowner with elements that appeal to them personally. A professional interior design will, almost certainly, add value to a homeowner’s life, and could appeal to more potential buyers than an undesigned home, but the focus is on making the home more enjoyable for the homeowner to live in, not to enhance its allure to future buyers.

Interior designers and professional home stagers provide value-added services for their homeowner clients, albeit, with much different objectives. When you buy a home, a great designer should understand your lifestyle and design aesthetic, and create a setting that suits the way you live and reflects your personal style. On the other hand, when you sell your home a great home stager will help you tidy up, unclutter, depersonalize and refresh your space so that it reflects the current home buying trends and will be easier to sell. When a home is vacant, the role of stager and designer merge, but the intention remains firmly aligned with that of the stager - to prepare your “house” for sale by making it appeal to the most buyers. A vacant home can feel empty and cold, and could be seen as a sign of a desperate seller who has moved on, making it imperative that an owner of a vacant home stage their house for sale. Staging, like all professional services, comes at a cost - typically from $1,000 to to $5,000, but it can cost much more to stage a large, super-luxury home. These costs should be looked at as an investment that could be returned many times over. A 2018 survey of 4,200 homes found that 85% of staged homes sold for 6-25% more than comparable unstaged homes. On a $500,000 home, that is an additional $30,000-$125,000 paid for staged homes versus unstaged homes, which makes the cost of staging well worth it.

When you buy a new home an interior designer can be incredibly helpful in creating a personal environment that suits your lifestyle and will enhance your family’s enjoyment of your home for years to come. When you are ready to sell that home, a professional home stager will help you pack up all of the beautiful, personal items that your designer and you love and will then help you create an uncluttered, bright and inviting, neutral house that many more home buyers will want to envision as their own new home.

Rich Peluso is a former financial analyst and commodities trader, currently helping people with, what is likely, the most important financial decision of their lives. He is a REALTOR®, certified ASP-RE home stager and team lead for Elite Homes Group, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chatham, NJ. Visit him at EliteHomesNJ.com or call 201-694-1004 to Get Rich!