Baby in the Basement?! Leave Home Staging to the Professionals

Staging your home without first determining the most likely buyer is a waste of your time and money. To find out why, read last week's blog Don't Home Stage to the Masses.

We recently had an example of what happens when a home owner or inexperienced home stager stages a home without first determining who they are marketing to.

A few weeks ago we consulted on a condo that was located in the heart of downtown Cambridge. It was a beautiful space that had the master bedroom upstairs and two additional bedrooms in the finished basement. One of the bedrooms located in the corner of the basement was being used as a home gym that contained weights and workout machines. The home owners asked us if this needed to be shown as a bedroom, but because we knew this home would be purchased by either a young couple or a single man/woman, we thought the gym was acceptable. It was not worth their time and effort to remove all the equipment and purchase or rent furniture to show it as a bedroom. Unfortunately, this couple chose not to stage with us. We looked at their MLS listing and saw that the basement gym was staged as a baby's room, complete with a cradle, rocking chair, and stuffed animals!?!?!

Let's look at why this was a mistake:

  1. This home isn't set up for a family. Not only is the neighborhood not ideal to raise small children, but more importantly, you would never put a baby's room in the basement when the master bedroom is upstairs. No new parent would find this to be an acceptable situation. Not only would it be unnerving to have your baby so far away from you, but that is too much distance to walk half asleep for midnight feedings.
  2. This condo would appeal to a bachelor/bachelorette who may have a roommate or rent out the downstairs, since it contained a full bathroom. This group of people will be enticed by the location and access to the busy night life of downtown Cambridge. A baby in their future is the furthest thing from their mind. Instead of seeing the potential for rental or roommate income, they will see the baby's room and will assume this house is suited to a family – not for them.
  3. A young couple is the other most likely buyer for this property. They probably aren't looking to start a family for 3-5 years. Again, seeing the baby's room in the basement will subconsciously tell them this isn't the right home.

It is too soon to tell how this staging mishap will impact the sale of the home. Staging should always increase the chances of the sale of your home by creating a visual of how the new buyer could live in the home, and in this case it only confused them. This is why it is important to hire a professional home stager who is familiar with the market and has the experience to effectively market to the appropriate buyer demographic.