Staging is magical. It’s “theater” that evokes a buyer’s emotional response and thereby enhances a seller’s bottom line.
It makes it easier for buyers to envision themselves living in a home. It psychically de-personalizes the property and displays furnishings in context. It makes a house more inviting in every way.
But there’s another unexpected and little-discussed benefit: By creating an idealized version of a home, staging makes it easier for sellers to LET GO.
An owner’s initial reaction to viewing their staged home inevitably goes something like this: “Wow. I wish we’d done this while we were living here.”
That “shouldawouldacoulda” cringe is normal. Yet nobody ever actually lives that way. Ergo one of my real estate mantras: “The way you live in a house and the way you sell it are two entirely different things.”
A cruder twist on that bit of wisdom is: “If your home looks like it’s staged, you probably should examine the sacrifices you’re making in the name of keeping up appearances.”
Life is messy. Shit happens. Stuff accumulates. There’s a healthy difference between ideal and reality, and it’s evident in your home. After all, THE HOUSE is the dream metaphor for THE SELF.
So, with staging, there is a pivotal moment that presents a homeowner with a wonderful opportunity for closure and progression.
Consider the story of my lovely client Jane (not her real name). Preparing her house for sale required four stressful months of cleaning out and organizing 40 years’ worth of belongings. Another month was needed for cosmetic fixes and staging. I spent 10 days marketing the house before we considered offers. We closed seven days later.
Prior to de-staging, Jane visited her longtime home. Alone. She sat in the living room. She let the serene and clean feeling of the staged house wash over her. She walked through the rooms and looked out the windows. It was as if she were seeing some of those views for the first time.
There were brief waves of regret – the shouldawouldacoulda. There were flashes of memories – both happy and sad. There was appreciation for the years of service the house had given.
This was followed by a curious contentment and detachment. Jane assimilated the staged version of the house as the one she’ll remember in years ahead. Then, without resisting, she let go of her longtime home.
“The staging,” she explained, “was a gift for me.”
Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com. This article was re-posted at McGuire.com.