What is home staging? Simply put, home staging is a marketing strategy to sell a home quickly and for more money. The intention of the best home stagers should always be to raise the elevated value of the home in the eyes of the targeted buyer by employing all of the following tactics:
- strategically using color, scale, proportion, balance and placement to maximize the perceived square footage of each room
- defining the spaces in the home to meet the way your targeted demographic lives, works and entertains (example, how many bedrooms does this demographic typically need? How much dining space? Do they need an office space? Perhaps two offices? A playroom?)
- portraying an elevated lifestyle to the buyer by using furniture, artwork and accessories that are trending and popular among that specific demographic (which means, if you're in a different demographic, the stager may convert the aesthetic of the home decor into something that doesn't appeal to you, but that's ok: you aren't the target).
To summarize the above more succinctly, we want to make the home:
- seem bigger
- functional for the targeted demographic
- aesthetically appealing to the targeted demographic
All of this will help the buyer form an emotional attachment to the home, not only increasing the chances that they'll submit an offer, but a much higher offer than they'd put in if they only had a "meh" reaction to it. The goal is to remove as many potential objections buyers will have, shrinking the list of "cons" and increasing the list of "pros" the buyer will be mentally tracking as they view the home.
Let's explore emotional attachment a littler deeper:
Hard as they may try to stay objective, a buyer's decision is primarily driven by emotion, or more specifically, how they feel about the home.
In the past, we were told it takes 60 seconds to form a first impression. Then it was 30 seconds. Then 7 seconds. But, the latest research suggests you may have only 1/10 of a second to form a first impression with your potential home buyer. No matter which time frame is accurate, you don't have long. In that short amount of time, a home buyer is going to form an opinion of your home, and from that point on, they are going to use confirmation bias to validate that opinion.
"Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it." - Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., Psychology Today
As a home seller, whether or not confirmation bias in buyers is going to work for or against you will depend on the opinion they formed when they first stepped through the door. Perhaps even when they pull up to the curb. Or it could even have been when they viewed photos of the home online.
If they buyer's initial reaction to the home is positive, they will proceed with their tour of the home seeking out more aspects that will validate that initial opinion. They will also be more willing to overlook what they may have otherwise considered flaws.
Unfortunately, confirmation bias is going to work against you if they form a negative first impression of the home. If they bother to stay and view the home beyond the front entrance, they will seek out every tiny flaw in the home to validate their negative opinion.
This is why home staging is so important if you want the maximum interest in your home. Home staging will promote more positive reactions from buyers, who will then be eager to outbid each other, resulting in higher bids coming in at a faster pace, or what those in the real estate industry refer to as a "bidding war".
One thing that can destroy a buyer's positive opinion of a home they viewed first online is for the home to appear completely different in person than it did in the marketing photos. It's like online dating. I go into this in more depth in my article on virtual staging vs real staging.
My company, Larimar Home Staging is located in Southern California. Contact us if you're interested in receiving a quote to stage your home. We can stage your house whether it's empty or if you're still living in it. If you live outside our service area, we can offer you an online pre-listing consultation and provide recommendations and a checklist for preparing your home for the market.