09 July 2024

The Psychology Of Home Staging And Why It Matters

Submitted by: Sam Bartlett
The Psychology Of Home Staging And Why It Matters

In a competitive marketplace like real estate, first impressions are everything and home staging, the art of preparing and presenting a home for sale, has become a crucial strategy for sellers aiming to attract buyers and secure the best price for their property.

This is according to Claude McKirby, Co-Principle for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs and False Bay, who says: “Home staging is not just about making a house look pretty; it's about creating an environment where potential buyers can envision themselves living.

“The goal is to highlight the home's strengths, downplay its weaknesses, and appeal to the broadest possible audience and, with research showing that staged homes generally sell faster and for more money than non-staged homes, it’s well worth the effort.”

According to McKirby, there are key psychological reasons as to why staging is so effective:

  1. First Impressions: Buyers often make up their minds about a property within the first few minutes of seeing it and a well-staged home creates a positive first impression, setting the tone for the rest of the viewing.
  2. Emotional Connection: Home buying is as much an emotional decision as it is a financial one so staging helps buyers form an emotional connection with the property, imagining themselves living there, which can drive them to make an offer.
  3. Perceived Value: Staged homes are perceived as well-maintained and move-in ready. This perception can justify a higher asking price and reduce the likelihood of low-ball offers.
  4. Visualisation: Not all buyers can envision the potential of an empty or cluttered space and staging provides a visual reference, helping buyers to see how different spaces can be used and enhancing their ability to visualise living in the home.

However, there is a little more to it than merely plumping the cushions and packing away the clutter and McKirby says that understanding the psychology behind home staging can help sellers effectively transform their homes to appeal to potential buyers on both an emotional and practical level.

“Effective home staging involves more than just cleaning and decorating. It requires a strategic approach to highlight the property's best features while minimising its flaws.”

McKirby shares some of the most important do's and don'ts to guide homeowners:

Do's of Home Staging

  1. Declutter and Depersonalise: Remove personal items, family photos, and excessive decorations. This helps potential buyers envision their own belongings in the space. Less clutter makes rooms appear larger and more inviting.
  2. Clean Thoroughly: A spotless home suggests that the property has been well-maintained. Pay attention to details, such as cleaning windows, carpets, and even the inside of appliances like ovens.
  3. Neutralise Colour Schemes: If you are going to give the place a fresh coat of paint, use neutral colours for walls and remove any décor that is too bold or quirky. While bold colours may appeal to some, neutral tones have a broader appeal and create a blank canvas for buyers' imaginations.
  4. Highlight Key Features: Draw attention to the property's best features, such as a fireplace, large windows, or hardwood floors. Use furniture and décor to frame and highlight these elements even if it means moving around some items to better highlight these features
  5. Improve Kerb Appeal: The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers see. Ensure the lawn is mowed, hedges are trimmed, and the entrance is welcoming. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to the front door and planting flowers or even placing attractive pot plants next to the entrance.
  6. Create a Cohesive Style: If you are going to bring in furniture or décor to fill up empty spaces and improve the overall effect or semi-furnish an empty property, choose a consistent style for furniture and décor that complements the home's architecture. This creates a harmonious look that is pleasing to the eye.
  7. Light It Up: Ensure all rooms are well-lit. Open curtains and blinds to let in natural light and use lamps and light fixtures to brighten darker areas. Good lighting makes spaces feel larger and more inviting.

Don'ts of Home Staging

  1. Overdo It: Avoid excessive furniture and decorations as too much in an area will make spaces feel cramped and distract buyers from the home's features.
  2. Ignore Minor Repairs: Small issues like leaky faucets, cracked tiles, or peeling paint can give the impression that the home is not well-maintained. Fix these minor problems to present a polished look.
  3. Use Strong Scents: While it's important to ensure the home smells fresh, avoid overpowering scents from candles, air fresheners, or cleaning products. These can be off-putting to buyers, especially those with sensitive noses.
  4. Leave Pets Out: Remove pets and their belongings during showings. Some buyers may have allergies or simply may not be pet lovers, and evidence of pets can be a deterrent.
  5. Ignore Storage Areas: Don’t neglect closets, garages, and other storage spaces. Buyers will almost certainly look in these areas to assess storage capacity. Keep them organised and tidy to demonstrate ample storage.
  6. Forget the Outdoors: Outdoor spaces are extensions of the home. Stage patios, decks, and gardens to show their potential as living areas. Arrange furniture and add potted plants to create inviting outdoor spaces.

“At its core, effective home staging is a powerful form of marketing psychology, and it makes sense to ensure that your home is as appealing as possible to prospective buyers,” concludes McKirby.

“And using the right strategies to create an environment where they can see themselves living happily and comfortably can make all the difference in a competitive market.”

Bartlett Communications

Bartlett Communications is a full-service public relations and corporate communications consultancy. We empower Brands to reach, engage, and influence their target audiences by offering a professional, hands-on approach. Our expertise is identifying target markets, putting the audience focus on your business and keeping it there. A short-lived media splash is like a fireworks display; eye-catching but forgettable. We don’t believe in forgettable. We believe in generating headlines year after year. This means a stronger online reputation, greater Brand awareness and ultimately more sales for you.