A good friend of mine just sent me a lengthy email asking me if I think it is price or beauty that really drives sales. As I started to debate that it is price I began to wonder if it is really the attractiveness of a home that wins out in the end. And thus the debate began in my own head. Of course, in the end, price and beauty are tied together. Sort of. And that is when it really hit me......I know what I have been accomplishing with my staging all along however I guess I have never really put the right words to it. It is emotion. Plain and simple. Emotion.
Of course, I find this almost ironic. A house from a financial standpoint is likely a couple's (or an individual's) largest source of debt and biggest asset. And yet, I cannot think of a single conversation I have overheard from buyers that reflected this in the decision making process. I always hear things like "I looooooovvvvveeee the jacuzzi in the master suite" or "this is a fantastic great room - we could have great parties in here" or "the back yard is amazing - lots of barbeques here in the summer". I cannot think of a single time a buyer has asked about the home from an investment perspective. Questions like "will the pool help us or hurt us when we try to sell in a few years" or "does our proximity to that major highway make this space undesireable to most buyers?" and on and on.
Essentially, what I am getting at here is that home buying, above all else, is emotional. Staging plays on that emotion. Well, good staging does. I know what is important to buyers at different life stages and at different income levels. This is key. Bad staging is worse (in my mind) than no staging at all. Actually, I guess you could say they are about the same thing.
And I am sure there are a handful of buyers out there that are unaffected by the emotion of it all. You know, the buyers that are just buying that apartment in the city so they have somewhere to stay on the weekends when they are in town shopping. Or flippers or other investors. But I would venture that the majority of buyers, across the board are considering the quality of their lifestyle in the home before taking the plunge.