If you’re actively looking for a new home – attending open houses and scheduling showings – an important tip to remember is not to be seduced by staging. Staging, whether the home is occupied or vacant, has become more common in recent years for homes in all price ranges, from affordable starter homes to luxury estates. Sellers stage their homes to highlight its best features and to help buyers imagine its up-side potential with stylish decorating. Buyers shouldn’t be distracted or overly influenced by staging, staging is simply accessories that highlight the positive features of a dress. What you take home after shopping is just the dress, unless you have budgeted for the entire ensemble.
Here are tips for looking past staging and using it to your advantage as a home buyer.
Study The Bones. Every home is defined by its structure, layout and cosmetic appearance. Staging is purely cosmetic. By the time escrow closes, staging will be gone as quickly as eyeliner wiped away with cold cream. The structure (foundation, plumbing, wiring, roof, etc.), layout (allocation of space) and appearance as defined by attached features (light fixtures, counter tops, cabinets, flooring, paint, wall coverings, etc.) will remain. Buyers, do not be seduced by staging’s cosmetics. Focus on the soundness of the structure and livability of the home’s layout. Be prepared to change cosmetics to suit your tastes.
Imagine Your Furnishings In The Home. Staging can work to the seller’s advantage or disadvantage. The intent of staging is to show buyers that the home “looks good in clothes.” What if the clothes used to stage the home match furnishings the buyer currently owns and the end result – in the buyer’s opinion – doesn’t look good? If the fix is a bucket of paint or minor remodel, no big problem. The small expense may not impact a buyer’s decision to make an offer. If a buyer’s furnishings are a square peg that doesn’t fit in a home’s round hole, the buyer should consider the cost of acquiring new furnishings when budgeting their purchase.
Measure To Make Sure Your Furnishings Fit. Buyers should measure not only the outer dimensions of each living area, but also spaces where major pieces of furniture or similar items will be placed. Smaller furniture may be placed in a room to make it appear larger. Do not be seduced by staging, measure each critical space.
Use Staging To Your Advantage. Buyers should not waste the opportunity to borrow ideas from staging. Staging professionals are designers, why not take advantage of their expertise to expand your idea of how the home could look?
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About Real Living with Broker John™
Each week Real Living with Broker John™ provides innovative tips and information regarding all aspects of owning, buying and selling real estate. John Souerbry is Broker/Owner of Cordon Real Estate, a full service brokerage in California’s San Francisco Bay Area (CalDRE License 01370983). Contact John with questions or comments regarding Real Living or real estate in San Francisco Bay Area Wine Country, East Bay, Peninsula and South Coast.
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