What’s Important In Staging And Styling A Home

August 2nd, 2011

Joshua Vensel of Atlanta sent me the results of a study performed at Duke University in association with the American Society of Home Staging Professionals that is of interest to real estate photographers.

The study results are here. Staging and styling a home is a huge factor in selling a home. And is also a huge factor in getting good photos of a home. Any top listing agent understands this and will routinely doing all these 15 things on this list. Since my shooting is mostly for my wife’s listings and my wife has been to Barb Swartz’s classes and is a big advocate of all these staging items, I routinely got in trouble for not removing shampoo bottles from showers, tooth brushes from bathrooms and coffee makers from kitchen counters. Most high-end architectural shoots include a stager or stylist to setup the room for a shoot. This is just part of getting the best interior shots possible.

As a real estate photographer you will not always be working for a Barb Swartz trained listing agent but you can have a “how to prepare for a photographic shoot of your home” handout that you give to your clients. And you can easily take time to move aside all the clutter. This can make a huge difference in what the photos look like.

My experience is that very few home sellers are good at getting their home in shape for a shoot. It takes a pushy listing agent to be on site while you shoot and help remove garbage cans, pet dishes and the like. If your client, the listing agent is not on site helping with this activity, you need to be pushy with the home owner to make the home looks good. Of course there are limits to what you can do. A strong handout that reminds the agent and the home owner of all the standard de-cluttering that needs to occur before the shoot starts will help.

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4 Responses to “What’s Important In Staging And Styling A Home”

  • I have been working with professional stagers for about three years now and I can say with confidence that it makes all the difference in the world, both in terms of how effective my photography is and the ratio of offers to showings. I find photographing a vacant home can actually be more of a challenge than even a modestly furnished one because there are few items to compose around or give the space scale. More importantly, the marketing is designed to just get people in the door. So even if my photography did its job and generated a showing, if the home doesn’t deliver the goods when they are there in person my marketing in essence only brought a visitor, not necessarily a buyer… Conversely, a poorly photographed home that is in fact staged well still has a chance to capture a prospective buyer’s emotions. Not everyone needs 25 magazine worthy images of a home to make the decision to go and see it, they may just need an iphone shot of the front of the house to get them motivated to take a closer look. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating poor photography in any way. The point I am trying to make is good photography or not, a well staged home greatly increases the chances of an offer. In my opinion, photography “sets the nail” and staging “drives it in”.

  • It does make it much easier to photograph a staged home. I do have a handout I give my clients for the homeowners because I got tired of moving those trash cans, tissue boxes, etc all the time. I still do move things around for the best photograph, but more houses are being staged every year and more homeowners are aware of the fact that makes a huge difference.

    I do think well staged good quality photos get more potential buyers to the home.

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