Why you may want to reconsider staging your home to close the saleOctober 23, 2023
An interior designer’s story about talent, staging, and decluttering.
Purchasing a new home or investment property is critical. Before buying, you must consider cost, funding options (cash purchase, mortgage, rent-to-own, etc.), and location. Yet, think about the last time you toured a property. Apart from those critical factors, what was the thing you noticed most? The interior. Despite its flexibility, the interior of a home or investment property tends to make or break a sale. Agents know it, interior designers know it, and on a soul level, you know it!
Whether buying a new home or preparing your home for sale, we want you to consider your home’s interior – staging – for a closed deal and a home you will always be happy to come home to! Kristin Harding, one of the in-house interior designers here at MAISON sheds insight on what she learned in the past 14 years of her career.
Getting your start in interior design
For many interior designers, the road to this career is storied. Attend a [top] design school, apprentice with a top firm in a big city [if you’re lucky], work a few years with yet another design firm, build your connections and skills, and then, if you’re confident enough to dive into entrepreneurship, you take that leap! For this Long Island, Bahamas native, the path to becoming an interior designer was atypical. For starters, she never graduated from a design school! Kristin’s foray into interior design started at her childhood home, where she spent her weekends rearranging furniture. As the eldest of four, rearranging furniture – or decluttering – was Kristin’s way of finding space in a small island home.
Upon graduating from high school, Kristin’s role as the manager of a furniture company would be the role to jump-start her career in interior design. Beyond routine managerial duties, designing vignettes was where Kristin’s natural passion and talent for interior design came alive. Kristin staged rooms so compelling that customers bought the furniture and arranged them in their homes just as she designed them in-store. Some went further to solicit her services to design the interiors of their homes. Thus, an interior designer was born.
3 questions to ask when seeking an interior designer
In your perfect world, you can hire a top interior designer [and perhaps a feng shui master] to create the space[s] of your dream. For some, this seems unattainable, but with proper planning and a realistic approach to your goals, you can have the space of your dreams. Kristin provides three things to consider when seeking an interior designer:
Set a budget that matches the investment that you made in your home
Be realistic. Purchasing a home for $1.5 million in the newest, most exclusive gated community and then setting aside $30 thousand to decorate it is more than a stretch! If you’re a DIYer with a natural talent for making things look aesthetically pleasing, perhaps you can get away with that budget. But, a large part of being a DIYer means you must be good with building things, i.e., have patience and time to do it all. Do you check those three boxes?
When devising a budget to purchase a home, Kristin recommends you include interior design costs. Be as ambitious about how you’d like your home to look once you live in it as you are about how much you’d like to spend on it. This budget will inform how much time you can spend on the project and who you should hire to complete it.
Manage your time expectations
“Quick”, “quality”, and “cheap”. These are three things Kristin says to consider when deciding on the interior design of your new home or investment property. Kristin believes you can only get two of these, but never all three. You can get two; whichever combination you get will determine how much the job will cost. If you want quick and quality, be prepared to spend a premium. Similarly, if you want quick and cheap, be prepared to spend less now, but even more in the future sooner than you’d want to. Do we have to remind you that quality and cheap won’t ever go together?
Know the type of customer you are
Some customers have natural eyes for aesthetics, and others get overwhelmed at the thought of designing anything. Which category do you fall into? Knowing your specific preferences and tastes makes a difference when it comes to selecting the interior designer that is best for you. The more your interior designer needs to do to create the spaces of your dreams, the more you should expect to spend. Customers who already know what they want and select decor and furniture items are more likely to spend less on interior design.
How important is it to stage a property for sale?
Not surprisingly, Kristin considers staging a no-brainer – yes, stage your property tastefully ahead of a potential sale. In her experiences, Kristin has seen properties fetch 10 – 15% more above their asking prices when staged tastefully. That extra 10 – 15% could mean the difference in the interior design budget for the home you invest in after selling yours!
Yet, staging a property for sale could make you feel like you are newly moved into the home and reinvesting in its interior design all over again. Kristin encourages you to focus on the areas where potential buyers will spend the most time. That includes the master bedroom and bathroom, living room, and kitchen. Since most buyers struggle to visualize what a space will look like when they move in, set the tone for a space that appeals to your buyer’s emotions and interests. If your agent needs to complete a “Know-Your-Client” survey ahead of a showing, then do whatever it takes to create an experience that can close the sale.
What happens when you have a well-staged property that is still not selling? Kristin advises you to declutter or fluff the space. Completing a KYC (Know-Your-Client) ahead of a showing helps you learn your client’s desires, needs, and preferences, and informs the areas you should fluff. Kristin shares:
4 easy ways to fluff your space
- Add or remove paint from the walls – when in doubt, keep art neutral and not-so-taste-specific.
- Paint walls – a cheap route to making a space look like new and well-kept.
- Rearrange furniture – less is more; always arrange your furniture so your buyer feels comfortable and not claustrophobic.
- Refresh your pillows – whether in your bedroom[s] or living room, change those pillows! Kristin’s rule of thumb is that pillows should always match the rug. Whether it’s the same print or an accent color, this added detail will catch the eyes of your buyer.
Ready to sell your property? Get in touch with us – Kristin and the entire team of MAISON’s advisors are here to help!