As you prepare for a pending move by sorting and packing, you may also want to consider the benefits of home staging.
In today’s real estate market, “staging” a home for sale is not only an accepted practice, it’s expected.
For many of our clients, ‘staging’ is a new term, but the concept of ‘curb appeal’ and getting your home or property
ready for sale has always been important to sellers who want to get the best possible price for their home.
The terms “stage” and “staging” were coined several years ago by realtors who often found themselves “setting the
stage” for potential buyers as they prepared properties for open house events. Fluffing couch cushions, polishing stair
rails, turning up the lights and baking cookies in the oven were all tricks of the trade designed to help potential buyers
feel welcomed and relaxed as they toured a property. Model homes, with all their upgrades, comforts and flair, have
always been “staged” so they appeal to potential buyers seeking the perfect place to call home.
Over the past 15 years, the art of home staging has reached new heights. As the market becomes more competitive, the
importance of listing a “buyer-ready” property has increased. Today, preparing a home for placement on the market
involves much more than straightening magazines and adding the smell of fresh-baked goods. Staging has become the
norm, and realtors and professional home stagers make serious and sometimes costly recommendations to
homeowners that include everything from aggressive decluttering and furniture rentals to complete room “makeovers,”
including kitchen and bath remodels. They stress the importance of viewing a property through the “buyers’ eyes.”
Return on Investment
As with any investment, sellers should proceed with caution before accepting just anyone’s word for the amount of
staging that needs to be done before their home can be listed. Experienced professionals will provide suggestions, and
they will have a solid grasp on the seller’s position in the marketplace, including an evaluation of recently sold properties
and the potential return on investment if expensive repairs are included with the recommendations. Initially, staging work may seem costly; however, when you compare spending $5,000 on staging to dropping your list
price by $15,000, it may ultimately be the less expensive way to sell your house. According to recent Real
Estate Staging Association statistics, staged homes are on the market 67% less time than non-staged homes.
Basic Home Staging
If you are a skilled or impartial seller, the basic steps to home staging are not difficult to follow; however, many
homeowners find it easier and more effective to hire a professional or work with an experienced realtor to get their
property ready for listing. The following steps may help you get started:
1. Understand that living in a staged home is different than living in your home. It is no longer about your comfort
or decorating preferences; it’s about the buyer’s perception.
2. View every room from the doorway to evaluate clear entryways and a spacious feel. Move or eliminate
furnishings to improve those items.
3. View every room for the amount of natural and artificial light. Take steps to add light, clean windows and open
up window treatments.
4. Evaluate your paint colors (neutral is best), busy wallpaper patterns and any structural damage. Hire
professionals to make improvements in these areas.
5. Thoroughly clean everything. Cobwebs, skylights, windows, brick work, baseboards, flooring, carpets, corners of
6. Declutter rooms by removing extra furniture, old storage items, electronics, collectibles and other items that
create a “cluttered” feeling. Hold an estate sale to optimize the value of your possessions and offset other costs.
7. Don’t fill your storage spaces to help clear out other rooms. Buyers want to know how much space is available.
8. Depersonalize. Taking down refrigerator magnets, family photos and religious items may be emotionally
difficult, but your ultimate objective is to allow potential buyers to imagine their life filling the space, not yours.
When older adults have decided to downsize or move to a senior living community after living in the same home for
several years, it is recommended the client choose their furnishings and items for their new residence first, then move.
The house should only be staged and placed on the market after they have moved. This gives the client a chance to
settle into their new home while still having the opportunity to downsize their family home and get it ready for sale.
According to the National Association of Realtors, about 50% of older homes require repair and will require additional
work prior to sale. Relocations later in life are stressful, and trying to repair and stage a home while the client is still
living there often adds to feelings of discomfort, confusion and anxiety.
Of course, it is not always financially possible to move before the family home is sold. In those instances, changes to a
house may need to be made slowly. The client’s ability to navigate change, while feeling safe and comfortable should be
monitored throughout the home staging process.
Preparing a house for market is a big event. As we work with clients, realtors or home stagers on
decluttering or downsizing projects, we always focus on maintaining environments that help reduce stress while helping
everyone achieve their objective – a quick sale at a great price.
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