The Right Model

No matter how functional a floor plan or impressive the curb appeal, the key to selling a newly built home is inspiring families to picture themselves living in it and loving it. Homebuilders simply can’t do that the way we used to. Gone are the days of empty or sparsely decorated model homes that showed the house as a blank canvas full of possibilities. The truth is, people simply don’t relate to empty homes. Seeing that blank, empty space doesn’t just leave them uninspired – it can actually leave them feeling cold and unwelcome.

The last thing new homebuilders want is for customers to view their product as a “house.” They want potential homebuyers to see the models as a “home,” places where families want to live. That’s why turning the house into a desirable home that captures the imagination of the homebuyer is just as important as any other part of the sales process. With that said, expert staging is vital.

In order to succeed, staging has to be done to some degree. Some builders might choose to stick to tight budgets and strict deadlines, while others will throw caution to the wind and furnish the home with the latest trends in interior design. The latter approach has proven to be the far more effective of the two.

But, regardless of your approach, there are several tips you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure your project is a success:

  • Inspire everyone – While doing research on your target market is important, it’s best to stage a model home to appeal to a broader audience and inspire every person who walks through the door. Include décor that is trendy, but not extreme. Using atypical fabrics and textures will add interest while still appealing to the masses. Will every person who walks through the door love every single detail? No, but when done well, every person will be inspired by the design.
  • Know your budget – Home staging can be expensive, but when done right, the impact will end up paying for itself. Homebuilders can choose to hire expert designers who will be able to turn model homes into livable works of art. This is usually what works best. Yes, decorating an entire home can cost a pretty penny (sometimes more), but you truly get what you pay for.
  • Know what you are willing to spend and let the designer know the budget up front. Just know that a bigger budget will make for a more stunningly decorated home in most cases. Additionally, spending money on a good designer is key. A talented designer will know where the budget needs to be spent to make the biggest impact without going overboard on cost.
  • Keep it mostly neutral – The goal of any home staging project is to produce an interior design plan that has mass appeal. Neutral colors are a great way to appeal to anyone’s tastes, but these colors can’t be left alone. Use neutral tones or more muted colors on the walls, and then add appeal with lots of bursts of color. Brightly colored curtains, rugs, accent pillows and ornamentation will add warmth and interest.
  • For a bigger impact, try an accent wall with a bold color in a room, but leave the other three walls in neutral shades. Stick to colors that will transcend sexes – avoid bright pinks and browns in living spaces. When it comes to children’s rooms, abandon the neutrals. For those, bright walls, comforters and accessories work well.
  • Limit clutter – There is such a thing as over-staging a home. Builders want their models to look large, yet functional and livable. Avoid stuffing them with too many objects. Rooms should look clean and inviting with no large empty spaces, but don’t overdo it, either.
  • Limit the number of items on shelves and tables and make sure everything is cleaned regularly. The end result of staging should be a home that looks carefully designed with not too much or too little space for a buyer. For larger rooms, include larger furniture and more accent pieces. For smaller spaces, keep furniture to a minimum and avoid bulky pieces.
  • Don’t forget the kids – Model home floor plans have changed dramatically in recent years. A notable change has been the addition of bonus rooms, more finished basements and places for children to play. If your model home has one of these areas, show it off. Highlight the kids’ work and play areas in the home.
  • Having kid-friendly spaces will appeal to couples and the children who often come with mom and dad while they’re house hunting. You want the kids to pull at mom and dad’s heartstrings a bit by choosing which room they like best and mentioning how “cool” they think the home is. Adding that little something extra for the kids will be a beneficial investment for homebuilders.

The bottom line is that staging is important. If it’s done well, a staged model home will appeal to a variety of people, allow families to picture themselves living there and inspire their own decorating decisions if they decide to build.

Builders should make sure their homes appeal to the masses with the latest trends, are decorated with the assistance of a professional, use lots of neutrals along with pops of rich color, limit clutter and include space for children to enjoy. That’s how to appeal to customers. Stick with these tips and you’ll have an impressively staged home that will be memorable to buyers and in turn boost sales for home builders.

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