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Does staging your home help it sell? (with DIY tips to help sell your home quicker!)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


December 27, 2019 - Karl Yeh

Ready to sell your home? Is staging your home required?  In this episode, we discuss if staging actually helps sell your home faster. We explore how to make your home "less personal" for visitors and if it's better to have an empty home or a staged home. Finally, we provide some DIY staging tips if you don't want to pay for professional staging. 

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What we discussed:

Hi everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts.

Now remember, if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below. Hit the little notification bell so [00:00:30] you don't miss anything.

Karl Yeh:                            

So today, I'm joined by a special guest, local realtor, Brad McCallum from RE/MAX First. And the topic we're going to answer today is staging your home. Brad, I think the very first question is,

Does staging your home help it sell?

Brad McCallum:           

100%, it completely helps a home sell.

And in fact, if you look at all the data on it, what it'll tell you is that it helps the home sell faster and it helps it generally sell for a little bit higher price.

The problem is when you condense that down to a home by home basis [00:01:00] is did it actually help or make the difference on that particular home?

And that's the thing that sellers often have a challenge with.

Karl Yeh:                            

If it does help your home sell, how do you go about staging it?

Brad McCallum:           

As a realtor, if you're really trying to look up for your best interests of your clients and they've got a vacant home or an empty home, you're going to want to make some suggestions on how it's going to look best.

And oftentimes,

that means staging either with their existing furniture or removing some of their own personal items that they have in the home to maybe declutter and make it present [00:01:30] better.

But if you actually have to bring in a separate company to do the staging, there's various different ones in virtually all cities that you can check with their Google reviews, see what other past experiences that people have had.

There's some great ones in town that we often recommend and these are companies that will come in and they'll take your home, whatever it is, and try to make sure that it appeals to a broad base of home buyers.

Make the home less personal when staging

Karl Yeh:                           

So you raised the point about making it less personal. Is that an important thing?

Brad McCallum:           

[00:02:00] Yeah, I think when someone comes into a house, they need to feel like it's a home. But I don't want to feel like I'm in Karl's home.

And there's something about seeing all the personal effects that can feel a little bit like you're invading their personal space and that's not the feeling that you want to convey.          

So when you come into a home and it smells great, it's clean, there's elements of home, right?

These things that make a place feel nice and cozy.

These kinds of things, they make [00:02:30] people imagine themselves in the home. So that's the line that you try to draw is make it feel like a home, but not someone else's.

Karl Yeh:                           

But as someone who's selling a home, that'd be kind of a little difficult, especially if you've lived in the home a long time.

And you have all these pictures, how can you possibly get that stuff out?

Brad McCallum:           

You're going to want to work with a realtor that you can trust because along the way, if that realtor doesn't have the confidence to speak up on their craft, they might not advise you to do some [00:03:00] of that decluttering or to depersonalize it.

And that can affect the sale.

If you are someone who is vehemently opposed to hunting, you probably don't want to go into a home that has that.

We work with so many people from different backgrounds. I've worked with some who have a prayer room, for example, and they will often say like, "Should we take it down?" And I would say no. You want to find a balance.

This is still your home during the process.

What you want to do though is just take away those things that might clutter.

Brad McCallum:           

[00:03:30] The difference between our homes and our show home oftentimes is all the little knickknacks and all these little personal effects.

You remove them could help the place feel larger, bigger, cleaner, and have a broader appeal.

Karl Yeh:                             

Is it better to have a home staged or completely empty?

Brad McCallum:           

I find it's really, really hard to have clients envision a home if it's completely empty.

And the problem with that is because people will walk into a room and without a reference point, they will have no idea [00:04:00] if it'll fit their couch.

But that's the challenge that people just need a reference point.

Karl Yeh:                            Got it.

Brad McCallum:           

So even if you put in a small couch for the room or a large couch for the room, people can say, "I think that's smaller," or, "I think ours is a little bit bigger," it would still be fine.

Karl Yeh:                             You can go with a realtor.

Can you even do it (stage) yourself?

Brad McCallum:           

Yeah. You can definitely stage your home yourself by just watching some simple YouTube tutorials or some simple videos.

If you've already got nice things in your home, there's just some basic tips you might want to follow [00:04:30] to just depersonalize it or to make it feel large and open.

One other thing though is that if you're going to hire a company to bring in, you're going to have an upfront cost that's generally greater than the cost of carrying it from month to month. And that's just because the staging company will come out and they have a lot of upfront costs with actual labor coming in, setting it all up and maybe moving some of your existing furniture around.

And sometimes those costs can range anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 depending [00:05:00] on the size of the home for the first month.

And then your next months after that are usually somewhere between 60% to 70% of that initial upfront cost.

Brad McCallum:           

So if you think of a home that is 90 days on the market and you have a successful sale at the end of it, you might have to allow anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 in staging fees.

But if it helps your home sell in a tough market or helps people have a higher opinion of that home's value, that's money, money well spent.

Karl Yeh:                           

[00:05:30] Is it a personal preference if you want to hire a staging company, or are there actual times when you should actually use a staging company?

Brad McCallum:           

If the home is empty, bringing in a staging company because the economics of buying some of these pieces and trying to [inaudible 00:05:45] that and put it all together, it just doesn't make sense.

If you're a builder or an investor or even someone who flips homes, you might want to buy a set and amortize that cost over four or five builds.

But for the average person like you and I, you're going to want to [00:06:00] hire a professional because they just know the stuff that we don't know.

DIY home staging tips

Karl Yeh:                             

If I were to decide to stage my home myself, do you have any tips on how to do that?

Brad McCallum:           

What you want to do is think about the home in terms of someone completely with fresh eyes.

So I would say the best way to do that is to actually ask some of your friends and your family what their opinion of your home is.

Those are the kinds of things that you want to know because like we're not generally that cognizant of our own spaces [00:06:30] we live in.

So get some opinion from friends and families and ask them to be blunt or to be very truthful in it.

Brad McCallum:           

And then just don't take offense because the reality is when the market comes out and views your home, they're going to have no attachment to any of your furniture, any of the pieces in your house and they're going to be very brutal with their opinions of the place.

It's so important to have your house ready for that first impression and that's why staging is so [00:07:00] important.

Brad McCallum:           

It's kind of like if you were going to go meet the girl of your dreams or the guy of your dreams and you showed up in pajamas and you were unshaven and you were unwashed, you want to make sure you put your best foot forward.

Cleanliness while your home is for sale

Karl Yeh:                             

It's very hard though to maintain that level of cleanliness as long as you're living in the home.

Brad McCallum:           

The challenge for realtors is oftentimes they don't communicate just the whole process of selling your home, all the emotions that you go through.

You really have to understand or educate your client [00:07:30] to help them understand that, "Listen, don't take offense. There's only going to be one buyer for this house. And it's going to be, for them, it's going to be the perfect home."

So everyone else, it's good to get through those people. You have to go through many people oftentimes before you find the right buyer for your home. And it's not going to be right for those.

Karl Yeh:                             Do you have anything else to add in terms of staging your home?

Brad McCallum:           

When it comes to staging your home, it's almost always a good idea to at least have a consultation with a professional. [00:08:00]

It's often free to do that. If you are selling a home that's completely free of furniture and vacant, and if that home isn't selling for, say, just the value of the land or as purely as a fixer upper and it's going to be a bargain in the market, always go with staging.

It's going to make a difference in the long run.

You'll be happy you did. It's actually the smallest price that you'll have to pay to retain the greatest return on your home. And especially in a tough market, your home has to stand out above everyone else's.

Question of the day

Karl Yeh:                           

[00:08:30] So the question of the day I have for you is:

Have you staged your home the last time you sold it? Did you use a realtor or did you use a third party?

Let us know in the comment section below.

And if you want to know more about selling your home, we've got a great playlist here as well as additional videos here.

Don't forget to subscribe and we'll see you in the next video.

Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home design or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from home buying experts. 


About Brad McCallum:

Brad McCallum is a local Realtor with RE/MAX First in Calgary, Alberta.  He's made his name for himself by incorporating his passion for videography and marketing, along with his wife and family into his real estate business.  This fresh approach to real estate has allowed Brad to stand out in a market of over 5000 realtors.  His knowledge of home design and construction as owner of a renovation firm for 15 years helps him advise his clients on the purchase or sale of their home.

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