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Home Staging Secrets: The Psychology of ‘The Home’

By Guest Author | February 26, 2016

A home is meant to serve as an oasis from the stresses of the outside world, an extension of ourselves where we can feel free to just be. For many, personal identity is intricately tied into the home; pictures depict loved ones held dear, art hung on the walls is a direct extension of personal tastes, even paint selection is a method of self-expression.


Home is meant to be a safe place, and if you’re wanting to convince buyers to consider your property, the right staging is essential. Recent studies have shown 81 percent of realtors believe staging helps buyers visualize a property as a future home, and a whopping 46 percent said staging encourages prospective buyers to walk through a home they saw on the Internet. With staging playing such a large role in the real estate game, understanding ideal home staging techniques is essential.

Encouraging People to Think About Making Your Place Their Home

As potential buyers tour your home, the question they’ll be asking themselves is “Can I see myself living here?” Your job is to make sure the answer is unequivocally “yes”.

Leave Some Space for Imagination

Stage strategically, but leave sparing amounts of empty space. Your staging should serve as the inspiration for your buyers, not an unchangeable atmosphere that reads like a stranger’s home. By leaving some areas of your property open, you invite viewers to implant their own decor ideas into the space. Ask them questions about how they might decorate and encourage a dialogue. The longer they stay, the more time they have to consider how they could make the home their own.

The Power of Scent

Scent is one of the most powerful senses and has strong ties to memory. Marketing with scent has long been used in various hospitality industries, including retailers, banks, and hotels. There have been numerous studies indicating the right scent can actually encourage individuals to stay in a space longer. In retail environments, these scent studies showed that shoppers will spend up to 31 percent more time browsing. Don’t rely on plug-ins to create this essential scent effect; instead, place fresh flowers around the home for a light floral scent, bake cookies beforehand, or cut the grass the morning of the showing—focus on everyday smells that are apt to remind buyers of home-based activities and memories.

A Neighborhood Walk

Use the neighborhood to your staging advantage. Amenities in surrounding areas improve the desirability of a home, and the more time you give buyers to consider your property, the more time they’ll have to come up with questions. These questions can translate to essential talking points that may help you secure the sale.

The Loved Ones Factor

Emphasize the aspect of family when you show the space. Ask potential buyers if they will be hosting friends and family; if the answer is yes, highlight spaces that would serve as prospective guest rooms. Help them imagine entertaining their guests within the home by pointing out “staged” features, like an outdoor barbecue pit or ping pong table. People enjoy talking about themselves; asking questions about the people they love most is sure to create more of a connection—both to you and the space you’re showing.

Stage Some Activities

Set up activities to help your prospective buyers further imagine themselves and their families utilizing the space to its full potential. This will help them envision utilizing the space for their own needs; whether it’s sports equipment in the backyard or a painting easel on the sun porch, allowing them to see lifestyle practices “in action” will further your goals.

Staging Practices to Avoid

Staging isn’t without its pitfalls. Make sure you avoid these common staging practices to avoid losing what would have been a promising buyer.

Nix the Controversial Décor

While it’s beneficial to add décor that will help guide your buyers in seeing the home’s potential, make sure you don’t put up anything that can be taken as offensive. It’s best to leave any religious, political, controversial, or confrontational art off the walls and out of the home. This will help you appeal to a wide demographic and keep you from alienating any clients who come to see the home.

Avoid a Barren Wasteland

Less is more, but this isn’t always the case when it comes to staging a home. If there’s too much empty space, buyers might be more inclined to hone in on various flaws within the house. The lack of personality will also result in a cold, sterile feel—the opposite of the warming, homey effect proper staging should create. It’s all about balance; overdoing the decorations will turn off potential clients, but so too will empty rooms.

A Colorful Mistake

Avoid loud colors at all costs. The former residents may have enjoyed their fuchsia kitchen, but your potential buyers probably won’t be overly impressed. Stick to neutrals; from beige to grey to white, these safe colors will better help visitors imagine putting their own spin on the area.

Final Notes

According to psychologist Linda Papadopoulos: “The notion of ‘home’ is about the place you feel safe and where you feel connected to other people you like. From an evolutionary point of view, it was about keeping warm and safe and having somewhere to gather and to bring up a family.”

Highlight these feelings of warmth, help potential buyers visualize putting their own spin on a space, and emphasize family to create the perfectly staged home. All staging pieces and actions you make should culminate in an open and inviting property that buyers will be jumping to purchase.


About the author: Sacha Ferrandi is the founder of Source Capital Funding, Inc., and is a 15-year veteran in real estate, hard money lending, and finance. Source Capital Funding, Inc. is based out of San Diego and licensed in California, Arizona, Minnesota, and Oregon.

  • 2 comments on “Home Staging Secrets: The Psychology of ‘The Home’”

    1. YEAH! I agree 100% We stage to attach the emotional side of the potential buyer! Not to fill the property up ...but to give their imaginations a boost!

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