Home staging still very important in hot markets

One person in this industry, Gregg Dickson, says buyers make their decision on a purchse within 30 seconds

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      One might think that home staging is not important in a hot property market like Vancouver.

      When there are multiple bidders and buyers demanding no conditions, some may ask why even bother dressing up a property with quality furniture and furnishings.

      But as many probably know, buying a home sometimes involves more than just things like location, price, and resale potential.

      People occasionally pick a home over another because they feel some a kind of emotional connection to the place right away. It somehow feels right to be in there. They simply like it.

      For professional home stagers like Andrea Foxman and Gregg Dickson, their job is to make sure that a property listing appeals to the greatest number of potential buyers.

      “I’ve always been passionate about design and homes,” Foxman told the Straight in a joint phone interview with Dickson.

      Foxman founded and owns the staging company Home Ingredients. Dickson works as general manager.

      Foxman started the Vancouver-based business in 2007, which focuses on providing and arranging rental furniture and furnishings.

      Home Ingredients also advises clients to declutter, and possibly add a new coat of paint before staff members come in to stage the residence.

      Foxman has seen how home prices have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic due to stiff competition among buyers. “Because the pricing is so high, we want to make their property feels like it’s valued for that price,” she said about the value of home staging for sellers.

      Dickson explained what usually happens at the other end, when a buyer comes in. “We know that people make their decision on a home within 30 seconds of entering a property, whether that’s walking up the driveway or through the front door,” Dickson said.

      As with a lot of situations, a successful home sale may turn on the first impression. “We want to have an immediate impact on people’s perceptions of the home,” Dickson said.

      One of the things home stagers try to do is create the feeling that a home is “move-in ready”. As an example, Dickson told about a recent West Side condo sale, in Kerrisdale, that Home Ingredients furnished.

      A woman in Australia was looking online to purchase a property where she could live when she moves to Vancouver. She so liked the way the apartment was styled that she asked for the furniture to be left behind.

      Home sellers typically include only basic appliances like the stove or refrigerator in the sale and take out everything else when they leave.

      Dickson also noted that this particular example also demonstrates the value of quality photos or images in a home listing.

      When working with real-estate photographers, Dickson said, his company would suggest “emphasis on the right areas” as part of “highlighting the uniqueness and…quality of the property”.

      “Our job is to come in and elevate a property and make it feel like your million-dollar purchase is exactly that,” Dickson said.

      The Home Ingredients general manager also mentioned a recent sale involving a downtown loft condo. The apartment had been on the market for four months, and after the company came in, the property sold in a week.

      With the new furniture and décor, Dickson said, the vibe of the property “connected to a young buyer”.

      The North Carolina–based Real Estate Staging Association named Home Ingredients as one of 10 finalists in the best luxury-staging-team category in its recently concluded 2021 industry awards.