“It’s so necessary nowadays because buyers cannot see the spaces for what they could be — or what they should be, or what they are — in a lot of cases.”
Kera Cherrey of California, Maryland is referring to home staging, which is becoming an increasingly popular choice for Maryland homeowners who wish to sell their homes quickly.
Cherrey works with Chesapeake Staging and Design, just one of the many home staging companies that has sprouted up in Maryland this decade.
“Staging is interior design and decorating to maximize or emphasize the features of a home,” Cherry told Maryland Independent.
According to real estate professionals, nearly half (48%) of buyers look for homes that have never been lived in. Perhaps that’s one of the underlying reasons home staging is so popular.
The home staging process works by bringing in rental furniture or making the most of the furnishings the homeowner still has in their home. The furniture is specially arranged to create the most comfortable and inviting feel possible.
“I’ve sold a lot of homes and it gives a hell of a change in the feel, I can tell you that. You’ve been in a finished model home: The difference is night and day,” said builder and developer Larry Miller, adding that “You don’t have to work with the word picture, you’ve got the actual picture.”
A 2013 study showed that staged homes were sold in 22 days, compared to the average market time of 125 days for homes that were not staged. There’s no doubt that the psychology behind home staging checks out.
“I used to not believe in it, then we did it and it made a difference on house sales,” said Melanie Montague of the Prince Frederick office of Keller Williams Select Realtors. “We rehab houses, so we stage our houses. You need a visual. People like a house within the first 30 seconds of walking in the front door. If you walk in and it’s a vacant space, and it doesn’t feel like home, you’re not selling the home feeling.”
While home staging is definitely an effective home-selling tactic, it isn’t the only one. Well-landscaped homes may sell for between 5.5% and 12.7% more than other similar homes, and studies show landscaping may also add up to 28% to a home’s overall value. Still, landscaping tends to be a bigger and more time-consuming investment and isn’t always feasible for homeowners looking to sell quickly.
Andrea Velazquez is the owner of Home Staging by Evelyn in Hollywood, which she named after her daughter. Despite the fact that she opened her business just a year ago, she’s had resounding success so far.
“We recently staged a home where buyer feedback kept saying the dining room was too small and there was no way to fit a table in there. We went in and staged it and showed how to use the space and it sold in a week.”
Ultimately, home staging may be a relatively new concept to Maryland residents, but it seems like it’s here to stay.
“A consultation with a professional can minimize all the things that you’re leaving in or doing wrong in the pictures that the potential buyers are seeing,” said Cherrey.