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The concept of professional home staging is not new. In fact, it became a popular marketing tool among West Coast real estate communities over 30 years ago. In light of the recent downturn in the housing market, homeowners are struggling to find creative ways to sell their home. Many real estate agents and homeowners are seeking the services of “home planners” to professionally prepare their homes for sale. What exactly is home staging? While there are many different “taglines”, from various sources within the industry, it can be summarized as “using what the owner already has to prepare and ‘position’ the home to appeal to the masses. A marketing tool used to facilitate a quick and profitable sale.”

With dozens of new shows on HGTV, the homebuying population is becoming aware of this so-called “staging.” So the question remains: does it work? What does psychology have to do with this? The answer is yes, it works, and psychology is a key element in preparing a home for the market. Let’s first look at the definition of “psychology.” Webster’s dictionary definition is: “the science of the mind or mental states and processes.” How does this apply to buying or selling a home?

It’s quite simple actually! A professional home stager will typically have the seller of the home save photos and personal memorabilia, remove clutter such as knick-knacks, countertop appliances, and other items that reflect YOUR lifestyle and the way YOUR family lives in the home. The scenario will start with a clean slate, so to speak. Through the placement of updated furniture, lighting, accessories and artwork, and a psychological charm called ’emotional hotspots’, a mental process is brought into play. By creating “vignettes” or brief scenes of what life is could look like a person could use a space, a buyer, for example, “mentally move” into the house. It’s psychological persuasion. Here is a mental exercise to prove this point. Relax and close your eyes, imagine in your mind a long and stressful day at work. You come home, fill the master bathroom’s whirlpool tub with hot water and clouds of scented bubbles.

Head upstairs for a relaxing bath, sipping a glass of wine while watching the dancing reflections of the candlelit room… Well, you can get out of it now! The point is that by using psychology… the “science of the mind,” a home stager can attract a potential buyer and help them imagine living there. By “staging” the master bathroom with fluffy towels, beautiful candles around the tub, and a serving tray with a glass of wine, the buyer “emotionally connected” to this space. This is just one example, but there are many. emotional connection that can be strategically implemented throughout the house.

While there are still some “non-believers” in home staging, it has been proven to be TO very valuable marketing tool. It’s not just about painting the walls and storing extra “stuff.” In order to be successful, there is that critical element of the human psyche that needs to be addressed.

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