One of the most common expressions that most people know to be true is: What you see is what you get! This truth also applies to the world of real estate. If you are a property seller and you are planning to put your home on the market for sale then you should carefully read this article. The psychology of real estate buyers is that they believe what they see is all that they will get and this determine what they will pay. The biggest challenge that all sellers including developers and builders face is to sell an empty or bareshell apartment to buyers because very few people have the imagination to visualize beyond what they are seeing. If your property is in very bad shape very few buyers will be able to envision how the same property will look when its in a better condition. And even if they could they would rarely want to take the effort to renovate a house.

If you are a smart seller you will realize this beforehand and you will work hard to show your property in its very best light to others. Even when the market is bad and fewer homes are selling, savvy sellers recognize that their home must look better than similar homes in the market and thus outshine the competition.

Basically to make the house go you must show!

Whenever we say that pricing is the number factor that decides whether or not a house gets sold what we are actually saying is that the “price must match it’s condition.” The price of a house and the condition of a house are forever intertwined. When you say a house is “priced right” it means that its priced right for you are getting. “Overpriced” means a house is overpriced for you are getting. Its as simple as that.


This is where we get to the word “Staging”. Staging a house means showing off what you get in that home in the best way possible so that the seller can get the best price for his / her house. Staging a house is all about dressing it up for success and highlighting its best assets to potential buyers who visit the house.

Staged Apartment in Mumbai India

To Stage or not to Stage

A seller should never ask, “Should I stage?” The question they should be asking is, “How should I stage?!” Staging a home is an essential part of the marketing process of selling a house. By staging a house you can entice buyers to take a look and perhaps get hooked to your house! The time and process of preparing a house for the market is time well spent whether it’s a simple deep clean-up of the house to extensive repairs and improvements. This effort, time and money spent will directly impact how quickly a home will sell and for what price. Make no mistake – staging a house is that important! Research has proved that staged well-done up homes on average sold in half the time that shabby non-staged homes did. The sellers with staged homes also ended up with over 6 – 7 % more than their asking price on average. In other words, staging will help sellers get what they desire – to sell their homes in the least amount of time and for the maximum amount of money. Let me underline this fact by explaining how home valuators arrive at a fair price for a property. In finding the right price they try to make all the other variables equal: location, size, amenities and condition. The first cannot be changed and the second is difficult to change. The last two points can and should be changed whenever a serious seller wants to sell his property. Staging a house plus adding cost effective amenities and improving the condition of the home via cleaning, repairing, painting, floor treatments etc. achieves one of the below two things:

`1. The house becomes more valuable than the other comparable properties in the same price range.

  1. The house gets upgraded to a higher price range category of homes where it becomes the lowest priced in its class.

In either case, the house now has better “face” value than it’s competition and that is exactly what a seller wants.

Beauty lies in the Eyes of the Buyer

Strangely enough while almost any seller understands the necessity and the logic of staging a home few venture out to do the needful. After all most sellers think that they have spent many lakhs and crores fixing their house, improving it and filling it with their favourite things. They have their own tastes and decorate their house according to their tastes. Of course and that is how it should be. It’s the sellers house, they live in the house and they should have it as they please. But the moment that a home hits the market for sale, the seller’s taste must not be the main thing. Its now time to do up the house as the buyer would like it. The house must now appeal to the largest segment of buyers in the market.

Staging Home in Mumbai India

A Picture is Worth a 1000 words

One of the most effective ways for sellers to become convinced to stage their house is also one of the simplest. If you are a seller go and take some pics on your phone of a cluttered closet and an uncluttered closet, a cluttered kitchen and an uncluttered one and so on until all the areas of a house are done. Now show the photos of before and after to a friend or relative and ask them, “All things being equal which rooms and ultimately which house will catch the buyer’s attention?”  Most people will invariably choose the photos of the staged rooms.

Buyers are always looking for a great deal on a house. So the home that they choose must look like a good deal. Buyers are also looking for a great value on homes – so the homes they buy must also look like it has great value. The home must look like its worth what the buyer is asking. A property seller will rarely get a second impression to make a great first impression. Sellers are in competition with dozens of similar homes in the market and their home should be in the top category of homes that buyers want to see.

Sellers should also note that before putting their home on the market and before fixing the price they should also tour similar properties for sale on the market first and make a note of the look, standard features and amenities that other sellers are offering in the same price range. Thus what these other houses are offering becomes the minimum what buyers will expect from the seller and if the seller truly wants to sell they will have to meet and exceed expectations.

Remember that in almost any market whether it’s a buyers or sellers market, home buyers want great-looking homes that is in ready-to-move-in condition. As a resale home buyer remember that you are competing with the spanking new homes that developers are offering to home buyers. If your resale property is not in great condition then home buyers would rather go and buy new homes in the market because they have more appeal.

How to Stage

Staging always follows the “3 P – 2 F” formula viz. Plants, Paint, Pictures, Fixtures and Furnishings. So where do you begin?

Good staging works like a great novel – it grabs your attention on page 1 and grips you till the last page. Page 1 is what your house looks from outside. In the case of a bungalow it would be the exterior paint, the condition of the gate and the tiles, neatly trimmed plants, bushes and hedges etc. For an apartment building it would also be the same. Of course in the case of the apartment complex it falls upon the society management to keep the exterior of the building and the amenities in tip top condition. If the house or building isn’t appealing enough on the outside to coax a buyer out of his / her car then it doesn’t matter how beautiful the house is from the inside. Fresh coat of Paint and plants are the cornerstone of good curb appeal and will lure buyers inside your house.

Staging starts at the street. Inspect everything from lawn maintenance and landscaping to trimming back overgrown trees and shrubs to create better views of the house and building on the outside (and possibly better natural light on the inside). Does the exterior need power washing or a fresh coat of paint? Does the roofing need to be repaired? Its actually amazing how much the outside maintenance of a house or building reflects the love and attention that a owner gives to the inside! You can usually tell a book by its cover. Even though it may not be fair but this is exactly the impression that buyers carry. If the external look sends a negative signal then a potential buyer will tend to look more closely inside the house expecting to find or possibly inventing some problems that will prevent the house from selling.

Exterior of Suburban Home with Garage and Lawns

Next the entrance or foyer area says a lot about the house. It’s the first impression of the inside of the house – so it should be a memorable one. Next in priority are the areas of the house that are the most relevant to the buyer – the kitchen, the master bedroom and then the other bedrooms. It doesn’t require more than common sense and a good sense of timeless design wisdom. First and foremost is to make the house looking inviting. The best stagers not only make the house look great but also create an idea and vision of what the experience of living in the house would be for the buyer. From candles and place settings on the dining room table to a good book and reading glasses on a nightstand, the goal and idea is to sell the experience. Personal items of the seller like family or wedding photos can break the spell and should be the first things to pack up before showcasing the house to sellers. If something isn’t necessary or does not add to the charm of the house then it needs to be removed and stored for the sellers next new house.

Next one should clean up and minimize as much clutter as possible. Sellers need to box up personal items in the house as much as possible and store them at warehouses for the time it takes to show and sell the house. Rearrange and remove some furniture to create an impression of spaciousness and have a natural flow throughout the house. Also for sellers who are truly motivated and move out of the current house adopting this attitude of boxing up excess furniture and goods can help shift their attitude and help them to “psychologically” move on.

How Do I find a Stager

Good question! Remember if you are a seller you don’t have to be the person to be doing all the staging recommendations yourself. If you can then its great but you have other options. A stage is usually a young interior designer or architect which you can either find through references or by doing a quick online search.

Some Final Words

Staging accentuates the true value of a home bringing attention to what is most important – its amenities and features. When done effectively staging can actually create true value. The smartest and most experienced property sellers know this secret and use their knowledge to enhance the value of their home and also increase the odds of quickly selling their house at the highest possible price. The truth that any home seller must know is that in the end –

Pricing gets you in the game – staging gets you the offer!

Real Estate Agent at Gupta & Sen
Chloe is a real estate advisor with Gupta & Sen. With a combined experience of over 15 years in varied industries, she is a vocal and knowledgeable ally for buyers and investors who want to make informed choices when buying a property in India. With superlative communication and marketing skills, Chloe handles our PR, real estate marketing strategy and client management.
Chloe Dodd