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— by J.R. Maddox

The Importance of First Impressions

First impressions mean a lot. As a photographer, that’s what I focus on. How can I ensure that your presence is brought into view in the best possible lighting, in an interesting scene, with characters you want to get to know… A house really isn’t much different. Buildings have character, and a feeling you get in one simply won’t be the same as you’ll get in another building. Like anyone else, you will gravitate toward one style or the other based on a preference. One thing I doubt you’re attracted to is a hollow, cold and unexpressive space. 

This is the experience a new home buyer gets when they walk into a home that hasn’t been staged. You’ve gotten the buyer all excited, they drive up and see a pretty front yard, walk in the front door and… nothing. Your buyer’s eyes sweep from end to end of the room and all they see are blank walls, power outlets and scuff marks that used to be hidden behind furniture. The space feels oddly small, even though you could dance through the floor plan with room to spare. Suddenly your bubbly attitude seems over the top, and the discussion goes from an excited conversation into a murmur of quiet words to avoid the oppressive echoes. 

Holding that image of awkward tension in your mind, consider the same scenario, but after opening the front door, your buyers are met with a nicely dressed up couch, art on the walls, a set dinner table, and a couple rugs to soften the expansive floor plan. The excitement of potential stays high, and you’ll be speaking with buyers that are much more comfortable… The reality is, your buyers feel like they’re in a home, not in a series of boxes with doorways. 

This is the purpose of staging a home. You want someone to know that this is a living space. It hasn’t been vacated, it hasn’t been fled for unsavory reasons, and it certainly isn’t a harsh and unaccommodating place. So, why isn’t it the standard practice?  Generally, the expense of staging causes significant apprehension on behalf of a realtor. The factor that is rarely considered is the turn around of buying or selling the home. Consider the uphill battle of selling a home on the cheap, or the faster, more enjoyable experience of selling the home (as well as others) in the less hostile environment. As a side benefit, a more satisfied buyer is willing to spend more on a home in order to secure a home that they really like. Give your potential buyers every reason to choose this home, and they’ll fight to outbid the competition. 

As a photographer, I walk into all sorts of homes. Some are small, others are grand and expansive. The job gets significantly harder when I have to find ways to make a unstaged home look inviting. The better the photos I can take, the more people will arrive and look through your listing. This means that a small investment in staging makes your photos look better, offering you more potential buyers, a faster process, and happier customers. 

Check out how other LabCoat Agents have handled first impressions in the following articles:

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