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The Overlooked Secret to Successful Home Staging

 By Thomas M .Mitchell


Niche is an interesting word – is it pronounced “nich” or “neesh”?  Perhaps, since it comes from the French we should use “neesh.”    Either way Webster points out one of its key meanings for us:  a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species.  Bear with me one more definition and I’ll get to the point.  Habitat means: a housing for a controlled physical environment in which people can live under surrounding inhospitable conditions. 

Isn’t this what today’s homebuyer is looking for?  They want a place that meets “their” specific needs.  A place that is a retreat of sorts from all the pressures they encounter everyday - their own little niche.  So when you are getting that new listing ready to present to the market doesn’t it make sense to know who those homebuyers are and what they are looking for?  

When it comes to staging that new listing you can’t afford to overlook who your most likely buyers are and what they are expecting in your price range.  Over or under stating a house when getting it ready can end up with the same result – a missed sale.  For example, you would expect to see high end features in a higher priced house yet those features in a lower priced home will send the wrong message – they over improved and want us to pay for it.   Too often the homeowners error on both sides of the equation – not enough or too much.

As a real estate professional you can bring a key element to the “staging process” that is often overlooked in the rush to “fix it up.”  You know the market, you know the competition and you should know who the most likely buyer for that house is.  Based on those basic elements your input to the staging process is critical if the sellers expect to hit the target market. 

People buy homes every single day because they found a place that hit just the right emotional chord.  For that very reason you want the house to be the star and reflect the key points those buyers are looking for.  Say for a moment that you have an older neighborhood that is in transition.  You have a 1970 home with a 2008 buyer.  Is just de-cluttering and painting likely to do the trick?  Probably not, you need to focus on the market’s needs and wants.  What are the buyers looking for, anticipating or expecting.  The last thing you want is the exercise of trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

But understanding the market and the buyer are only part of the equation.  You have to understand how to translate that into your listing.  What needs to be done? What options do you have?  In most cases the sellers are looking to you for your advice and you need to understand the home staging process in order to advise them through the process.  How far through the process can you take them and at what point do you need to recommend a professional stager or some serious remodeling?  There are a lot of pieces to process – especially in today’s highly competitive market – and your challenge is to make sure your sellers focus those pieces that   accurately address their market.”

Remember – buyers are looking for their “niche” and it’s up to you to know what it is and how to help your sellers provide it.

Yes – intimate knowledge of the market and the potential buyer are the secret to successful home staging.  But without a solid foundation in the basics of home staging you are only going to be able to define the need and not find the solution.  If you want to really get a solid understanding of the home staging process and use that knowledge to “pull it all together” NRN recommends that you consider taking the Accredited Home-Staging Specialist (AHS) course.  This excellent course is now available online and can be taken anytime that fits your schedule.  You can learn more about this interactive course by visiting




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