Virtual reality as a staging tool has grown in popularity since I first began staging apartments 17 years ago. I have used virtual staging sparingly in listings because it simply does not replace the experience of walking into a nicely furnished, staged home. Some feel that it can be used as a tool for showing buyers the possibilities of altering spaces. While this is true, I’ve heard brokers – usually the younger group – insist to potential sellers that is a suitable replacement for physical staging. This assumes that a buyer will be satisfied by investing in an apartment they’ve only seen through pixels.
Millennials may be the generation more fluent and comfortable with the digital experience than previous buyers, but they are still individuals who have always been and continue to be physically intimate with their home. When a buyer walks into a home or apartment, there is an emotional experience that takes place and buyers often ask themselves, “Do I like this apartment or not?” The idea behind virtual staging is to get people through the door, but what happens when the reality does not match the picture is not clear
In 2010, The New York Times touted virtual staging as an important asset for brokers and sellers looking to save money on staging. However, we are in an age where authenticity is critical for buyers making investments. The nation is barraged with Fake News™ and altered images that advertise stories, experiences, and products that do not exist. No broker with the best intentions wants to be caught in a situation where a buyer is shown the digital version of an apartment and then find themselves stepping into a place that leaves them dissatisfied and distrustful of their agent.
A person can see an apartment they like online, but once they are physically in it, their feelings may change because it doesn’t “feel” right. This is why it is very important for sellers to not be seduced so quickly into virtual staging as a means by which to present their home to buyers. It is highly recommended that sellers consider physical staging, so as not to lose a serious buyer with promises that virtual staging cannot fulfill.Read More »
Clutter is an unavoidable nuisance for most. But when it comes to selling a property, it is a serious hindrance. Decluttering your space may be the most important preparation for showing your home – and for landing that coveted asking price, or much higher.
When prospective buyers see your home, they want a blank slate onto which they can project themselves and their future lives. If your home is highly customized (that indigo mood wall, or that incredible print you scored at a Chelsea estate sale), or even a little lived-in (the last 10 years of your children’s school pictures are adorable to you…), buyers struggle to envision themselves there. Think of a showing as a first job interview: you want to appear polished and professional, impressive but not overly dramatic. Most important in creating that positive first impression is clearing out the clutter. It makes your home feel lighter and more attractive, which in turn means more offers and a faster sale – not to mention a more organized and peaceful state of mind for you at this hectic transitional moment. But the clearest path through the clutter isn’t always obvious. Start with these steps to get you closer to a clean, ready-to-sell living space.
5 Steps to Getting Your Home Ready
1. Look Around, with Different Eyes: It’s hard to be objective when it comes to beloved items in your own home. That said, now is the time to carefully evaluate. Assess what really needs to go, what can stay, and what may need to be tweaked. Do a walk-through of each room, and be honest about what might throw off a prospective buyer in each space. Don’t trust your own judgment? Enlist someone more objective, like your realtor or a professional organizer. They will come in with fresh eyes and quickly identify elements that need to change.
2. Make Lists: As you’re evaluating each room, take notes and make lists of what needs to be accomplished there. It may help to break it down to two lists, “must-do” and “would-be-nice”, to prioritize the tasks. For example, repainting your entire brownstone may not be realistic, but repainting a single bedroom might. If renovating your entire kitchen is not on the horizon, consider switching out cabinet or drawer pulls, or updating countertops or appliances.
3. Start Tossing! Get down to the dirty work of removing excess by throwing away or by donating items you don’t need anymore. Things you truly can’t part with can be moved into storage or a second home temporarily. If you can’t make up your mind, think about enlisting a professional. When you start digging into closets and cabinets, and your whole life is sprawled out on the floor, it can feel terribly overwhelming.
A professional organizer will help you sort through it all: disposing of items in bulk, handling donations, shredding old files, recycling electronics and more. For items you wish to remove during showings but don’t want to part with, an organizer can coordinate movers and get those valuables safely into storage. It’s a daunting process, but one that can be managed well with some outside assistance.
4. Consider Additional Finishes: Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, you can think about any work you might undertake to get your space truly shining such as refinishing floors, repainting, reupholstering or replacing furniture. A relatively small investment can pay off exponentially.
5. Put It All Back Together: Now it’s time to reassemble your space, arranging what is left after the decluttering in the most appealing way. At this stage you may also need some new additions. A piece of artwork or furniture, a mirror in an entryway, new bed linens, a thoughtfully placed vase of flowers – these details make a difference when prospective buyers see a home for the first time.
Remember, this process can feel exhausting and anxiety-provoking, but it is temporary and it’s ok to ask for help. A professional organizer will help you through the process. So take a deep breath and get ready to visualize your next amazing home.
Featured in the Wall Street Journal
How a Pro Helps Tackle Clutter
Staging has become part of the standard drill in preparing a home to sell. Making a good first impression, whether via photos on the internet or as the buyer walks through the door, has never been more important when marketing a property. Brokers typically advise sellers to undertake some level of staging, ranging from a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering, to rearranging furniture and adding accessories, or in some cases, an interior redesign or renovation, or renting furniture to fill an empty home. The appropriate level of staging depends on the home’s condition and the seller’s budget, and depending on the level of staging and size of the home, can cost $2,000 to $50,000.
Ideally sellersRead More »