For years the home staging industry has been using a basic car metaphor to communicate the value of home staging. “Would you sell your car without detailing it and expect to get top dollar?” Of course the basics of this are true. Most people know that when you sell your home that you will need to wash and wax it, you’ll probably want to armor all the leather, vinyl, and even tires. The car should be vacuumed and windows washed. After all that is done, then you can consider trading it in or selling it FSBO (for sale by owner).
Extending the car metaphor and home staging
Today, talking with a potential home buyer I realized that the car metaphor extends past the basics of the list mentioned above. We were discussing the finer points of the new construction home that we had staged. He came across a question that I couldn’t answer about some of the mechanics of the home. He laughed and said, “That’s OK. I just thought I would ask. It’s kind of like going car shopping and looking at the engine knowing that you don’t know what you are looking at. You still look.”
A previous conversation earlier in the week with my husband and I had a similar conversation. We were talking about buying a new car. He was talking about the engine, horsepower, tires, and stuff like that. I told him that I really didn’t care about any of it. I want it to appeal to my sense of style. I want it to be luxurious. I want it to have the bells and whistles that I desire, and I want it to drive smoothly. I could care less how many horse are under the hood. I am clueless about the kind of oil my car takes. I neither know nor care about any of the technical things. I just want it to look good, feel good, and get me where I want to go.
Isn’t this exactly the way home buyers shop? Do you ever hear that a home buyer purchased one home over another based on the tankless or solar hot water heater? Did they buy it because it had a better R factor? Did they buy it because one amenity center’s pool was 10 feet longer than the other? NO. They bought it because it appeals to sense of style, has the right bells and whistles, and it functions the way they need.
Style, bells & whistles, and function – all within home staging limitations
Each of the categories that I just listed are within the bounds of home staging. We cannot take a colonial home and turn it into a contemporary but we can bridge the gap so that it potentially appeals to both parties. We can’t add a 3rd garage stall, but we can create an organized closet, pantry, and laundry room – dreams of luxury for many potential home buyers. And finally, by paying attention to pattern flow, sight lines, features and benefits, we can maximize the function of nearly any home.
By working on each of these areas we’ll maximize the likelihood that potential buyers will connect with your home and make an offer. It’s not that what’s under the hood isn’t important, it’s just that it’s often actually pretty far down the list of concerns.