When it comes to high-end home staging, some people mistakenly believe that all home stagers are created equal and downplay the need to stage your home, effectively. To help you understand the importance of staging your home and finding a qualified stager, we talked to First Team Real Estate agent, Kathy Leimkuhler, about her highly successful approach to high-end home staging and suggestions on finding a qualified stager.
Leimkuhler always brings the professional home stager she works with to meet the buyer and look at the home. Her belief that staging sells has proved itself to her over numerous transactions, including homes that were previously unsellable. Finding a qualified home stager requires you to do a little research but don’t worry, we promise it takes less time than staging your entire home yourself. Here are 5 tips to help you find the perfect professional for high-end home staging.
Tip 1: Decide why you need a professional home stager
If your home doesn’t receive any serious attention from buyers in the first three weeks it is on the market then there is a problem–and it’s probably the staging. Don’t forget that staging is not just about the interior but the exterior, as well. Impressing the buyer starts at the curb and establishing a first impression is the most important result of staging your home. At the high end level of home sales, it’s not enough to just cut the grass and rearrange the furniture, the home has to look as if it came straight out of a magazine.
Kathy’s advice: “Someone once told me that staging will always cost you less than your first price reduction. You want top dollar for luxury homes and the way to get top dollar is to stage your home.” Staging is an expense that will pay for itself when done right, and should be a necessary consideration for luxurious homes.
Tip 2: Rely on the expertise
Guide the buyer through the home, Leimkuhler told us. When a home’s floor plan is sprawling, it’s hard to visualize what each room can be. “Some of the older homes are so large, it’s just barren. You find people are overwhelmed by how much room there is so you need to tell a story with a house like that.” While you can always stage your home on your own, a professional stager knows what your competition’s home looks like and can ensure that you are listing a visually appealing home.
Kathy’s advice: “This is where a professional stager comes in. Professional stagers are seeing new and updated things everywhere they turn and will see your rooms in a way you may never have imagined.” A large walk in closet could become a bar, a small downstairs room becomes a music room and you’re left wondering why you hadn’t thought of that when you moved in.
Tip 3: Check their credentials
Keep in mind that home staging is a largely unregulated profession and anyone can call themselves a professional home stager. While there is no degree or certification necessary to assume the title of professional home stager, a person who is committed to the profession will have a background that hints at it. For example, look for stagers who have taken design classes or have a background in real estate.
Kathy’s advice: “I would ask for more than their credentials, you want to know what the agents are saying about them. That’s what’s important to me. Everyone thinks that they can stage, but you need to see the before and after pictures, and you need to know that the house sold because of that.”
Tip 4: Determine what your staging budget is
If you’re trying to cut back on cost, choosing to be frugal with your staging might hide a stager’s inexperience and lack of skills. However, don’t opt for the most expensive stager as some stagers will charge to bring their own furniture into your home. If you’re living in a high end home, the furniture you have is probably more than sufficient.
Kathy’s advice: “Your furniture for the most part is fine. Try to find a stager that’s willing to work with what you have in your house. But, if your furniture needs to be replaced, you’re better off working with a company that has all their own stuff because it’s cheaper than working with a stager that has to go rent.”
Tip 5: Ask your real estate agent for help
Trying to find a home stager on your own can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. You want a professional stager who knows what they’re doing and has proven results. Asking your local real estate agent which stagers they and other agents use will give you vetted professionals to research.
Kathy’s advice: “One of the best places to get advice about a good stager is your real estate agent. We know the best contractors, we know the best plumbers, we know the best window washers because we don’t use anyone we don’t trust.” Don’t let your home sit on the market or sell under it’s value; make sure it is appealing to the buyer inside and out. Whether you and your agent are doing it alone or you’ve hired a professional, do not underestimate the importance of this step in the home selling process. You want top dollar on all these homes and the way to get top dollar is to stage your home.
If you live in the Anaheim Hills or surrounding area and are interested in working with Kathy Leimkuhler, you can contact her at email@example.com or (714) 855-8050. Leimkuhler provides her clients with a home staging consultation, making the home’s presentability a top priority when marketing it for sale.