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Staging: You’re Not Selling “Your” Home – They Are Buying “Their” Home

Staging: You’re Not Selling “Your” Home – They Are Buying “Their” Home

  • Matt Shrake
  • 06/26/24

When homes sell quickly, or with multiple offers, or well over the asking price with an all-cash offer that closes in two weeks, observers can hardly be blamed for thinking, “That was easy.”

But easy it almost never is.

These kinds of great sales invariably happen when a knowledgeable, experienced real estate agent packages the property with the right messaging and right images to the right market at the right price.

One of the most critical aspects of getting this kind of blockbuster sale is how the property is staged.

The art of staging involves telling a story about this home to the future buyer. What could this home be for them? And the critical part of that sentence isn’t the home, it’s “them.”

Too often sellers who have a great home believe the things they love and enjoy about their home are what the right buyer will love and enjoy about the property.

This is rarely true.

Yes, some things are unchangeable. But Matt Shrake says so many buyers are invested in the things they will change about a property as they tour it. And Shrake has seen too many homes he’s sold to sellers – and all the changes they’ve made through the years – to know that how a seller is living in a home is usually not the best way to sell that home.

For maximum selling impact, the home must be “staged”, either partially or fully.

The right staging allows the many different buyers who will view the property online or walk into a showing to imagine how THEIR lives will be in that home. Doing this is an art.

Packaging for the Right Buyer

A good example, Matt Shrake said, happened when another agent was struggling to sell a condo in a highly desirable building in the Gold Coast. After 11 months with no offers, that agent came to Matt asking if he would co-list the property, with a promise that a price drop could also be agreed to.

“First of all, we shouldn’t have to drop the price,” Shrake told his colleague.

But Shrake insisted they would need to build out a new marketing strategy - stage the condo, get new photos, write a new description, and establish a better showing strategy for buyer tours.

“We rebranded the property,” he said, “Before I was brought in as a co-lister, I had shown the property to two of my own buyer clients, but when we went, they had no interest because the property had been such a mess of different styles, furniture, wall coverings, etc.”.

When the condo first re-emerged on the market after its rebranding, the eventual buyers were waiting outside on a cold, snowy day for the first showings to begin. Within hours after this tour, the sellers had an all-cash offer in hand, and closed the sale two weeks later. The buyer had seen the property online, fallen in love with it, flown in from New York specifically to see only this property, and bought it due to the lifestyle they were looking for when visiting Chicago.

“The key to doing that was realizing that the typical buyer for the property was buying it as a second home.”

Staging for the buyers means nice, often generic, finishes. Or it could mean eliminating as much as possible of the specific details of the people living there. If a buyer walks in and sees too many specific, real details, their fixation becomes too much about the people who are now living there, and less about themselves moving in and making it their own.

For example, the buyer viewing the property may see the clothing of the homeowner and like it or dislike it. Either way, it makes it psychologically harder for many buyers to imagine themselves in this home because the specific details have them imagining the person who already lives there, and some even feel uncomfortable about intruding into someone else’s personal space.

This is why homes that sell for top dollar, or quickly, or easily, are almost always staged at some level by an interior design professional. Shrake works with select designers to modify the seller’s existing belongings, by bringing in staging furniture, or by a hybrid of the two. 

Because the right listing tells a story, a story of a future, not a story of the past or present.

Stage Your Home for a Big Sale With Matt

Matt has done this many times. He has the market perspective, the strategic savvy, and the perfect people to help prepare your home for maximum impact in your market, whatever it may be.

Nobody can absolutely guarantee how the market will respond, but if you want to put the best face on your property to sell quickly and for top dollar, trust Matt Shrake’s expertise and contact him at 773-294-2667 or [email protected].

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