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The psychology of home staging - it's all about detachment

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

That's right, home staging is not just about strategically placed plants and bowls of fruit, it burrows deep into the psyche of the buyer. But guess what? It's as much, if not more, to do with the emotional state of the vendor. "How so?" I hear you ask. Great question!

Buying a home is not only the biggest financial investment you'll ever make, but also the biggest emotional investment, and we all know that emotions cloud judgements. But it's not just buyers that are ruled by their heart over their head. Quite often a vendor is blinded by their own emotional state and degree of attachment to a property. The reasons for selling a property are many and complex, especially right now, and that can leave emotional scarring which can manifest itself in various ways.

One type of vendor may be struggling with the enormity of moving and be overwhelmed by the whole process. This type of vendor will remain frozen until a home stager like me helps them move forward both literally through action, and also emotionally. This vendor has lost all positive emotional ties to their property and that negativity will be seen by other people in how the house is presented.

Another type of vendor believes that everyone will love their house as much as they do, or they will at least see the potential, and therefore if they wait long enough, someone will make an asking price offer. If this type of vendor doesn't employ a home stager like me to help them see their home through the eyes of the buyer then they risk their home being for sale for a long time, and maybe not selling it at all.

So you see as a home stager, I am as much a psychologist as a faffer of home accessories. It is my job to politely, honestly, and non-judgementally guide vendors through the process and declutter and stage their homes appropriately so that they can move on to the next stage of their lives.

Most buyers spend time creating a list of all their 'must-haves' for their next home, along with a wishlist of 'nice-to-haves' so that when they go to viewings they are mentally ticking these things off the list. Vendors beware: they are also mentally deducting money from your asking price for every 'flaw' they see.

If you don't stage your home in any way then the family pictures, the timetables/meal planners on the fridge, the piles of kids' toys, will make the buyer feel like they are intruding and they will be distracted from all the great features we want them to look at. They will also want to get in and out as quickly as possible as they will feel uncomfortable. If you don't change anything about your home when you put it on the market then you risk alienating your target audience and that means at best a low offer due to the amount of 'perceived work' to be done, at worst, no offers at all.

So, how do you go about eliciting a positive emotional response from potential buyers, get them to linger, and see all the positives? It's all about detachment. As a seller you have to see your property through your target audience's eyes. It's no longer your property, it's potentially their home. Everything you do, from jet-washing the path, to carefully placing colourful pots either side of a freshly cleaned/painted front door, to cleaning the windows, must play to a buyer's emotions.

Think about what your target audience is looking for and try to supply it. Perception is everything, and you need to sell the buyer their dream property, not the property you no longer want.

I have come to realise that 'having vision' is actually quite a rarity and that I'm very lucky to have it. I look forward to sharing my vision with you so that you can present your property to get the best possible return on your investment and move on with your life.

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