Fall officially began on September 23 this year. Was your Hamptons home on the market all summer without any accepted offers? Do not despair! According to Robert Murray from The Corcoran Group, “There is no longer a ‘spring market’ or a ‘fall market’ in the Hamptons. It’s an all year-round market due primarily to the internet. People come out to see houses all year and your property has to look great year-round. If anything, staging is more important in the fall and winter, when things can look a little dreary and the landscaping isn’t looking lush.”
Savvy sellers will do what is required to take advantage of this. The first step is to ensure that your home for sale is being presented to its best advantage. The key is to make your property look in such a way that will appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. This is where staging comes in.
Staging consists of depersonalizing, painting, upgrading, improving and furnishing the home to create an attractive living space that potential buyers can “see” themselves living in, even if your home looks and feels exactly the way you like it. You may have painted the whole house, hung new window treatments and brought in new furniture. But when it’s time to put your house on the market, the key is making it look and feel exactly the way that will appeal to your buyer. A stager can look at your property objectively.
Good home staging is indeed based on good design principles, but there is also a “selling psychology” involved. A potential buyer will view your home from a different perspective than the way you view your home while living in it.
Design elements such as artwork, paint color and collections, as well as styles of furniture, are potentially very personal. A seasoned stager will be able to edit these items and suggest paint colors to create a universally appealing look. The biggest mistake to avoid when staging your home is the belief that investing money preparing your home to sell is money spent unwisely. Nothing could be further from the truth! You wouldn’t try to sell your car without detailing it, so why would you try to sell one of your biggest financial asset without merchandising it properly?
Buyers may be looking for reasons to negotiate. Don’t give them any. A beautifully presented home that is professionally staged will make buyers fall in love at first sight. Statistics show that staged homes sell faster and for top dollar. Remember, you never have a second chance for a great first impression and the cost of staging is typically less than your first price reduction.
A key factor in staging your Hamptons home is subtly portraying the “Hamptons lifestyle.” This means the beach, the water, the vineyards, vacation, farm stands and relaxed luxury–all of these things we love about the East End. When potential buyers walk onto a property, you want them to envision themselves living in the home and to recognize the great lifestyle that goes along with living here–regardless of the season.
You can achieve this in subtle but unmistakable ways. I navigate toward natural fabrics, finishes and textures, and furniture that is comfortable yet elegant. Pops of color in accents pieces help make the listing photos more engaging on the internet. Windows should be dressed lightly or not at all to allow for views of the outdoors and to show off sunny interiors. Gourmet kitchens, landscaped exteriors, and outdoor living spaces decked out to the nines all contribute to the expectation of ease of lifestyle that your home for sale should portray. Professional stagers know how to achieve all of this, netting you a great return on your staging investment.
Remember, no one wants to buy your house. They want to buy their own house.
Allegra Dioguardi is the owner of Styled and Sold Inc., a home staging and interior design firm located in Westhampton Beach. styledandsold.com