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Does Staging Work?

Staging can involve minimal effort on the part of a seller. Merely rearranging furniture can show a house off to advantage. For some sellers, however, staging a home for sale is a major production. It might include hiring a fix-up-for-sale decorator and renting a house full of furniture, complete with house plants and decorative art work.

Homes that are staged for sale tend to sell faster, and for a higher price, compared to listings that have not been staged. Staged homes are more appealing. You may find more demand and possibly multiple buyers for a well-staged home.

A homeowner in Oakland, California learned the hard way what a difference staging a home for sale can make. She listed her home for sale last year with an agent who told her to do nothing to get her home ready for sale. The agent insisted that it was a waste of time to fix a house up for sale because the buyers would surely want to redecorate to suit their own tastes.

After months on the market without even a nibble from an interested buyer, the home was withdrawn from the market. The owner then consulted a different agent. This agent detailed all the cosmetic improvements that needed to be done in order to sell the home.

The home was re-listed after all the suggested improvements were completed. It sold with multiple offers the first week it was on the market--the second time. It also sold for more than the list price.

First-Time Tip: Ask your agent if your home needs staging. If so, your agent may be able to help you if he or she has expertise in home decorating. If not, your agent should be able to recommend someone who can help you stage your home for sale.

Fresh flowers are a nice touch inside. Outside, use flowering plants at the front entry for added color, and to show off the yard. Don't forget to paint the front door so that it looks fresh and inviting.

Buyers like homes that are cheerful and bright. Open curtains and drapes, unless the outlooks are poor. Buy inexpensive window coverings that let light through if the windows have an unsightly outlook, or if they look directly onto neighbors.

Leave lights on when the home is shown, even when the sun is shining. Add lighting to rooms that are dark, or increase the wattage of light bulbs, if the fixtures will allow it.

Make sure that the heating or cooling system is set at a comfortable temperature. A frigid house is uninviting, and so is one that's too hot on a sweltering day.

Small staging efforts can make a big difference. Buy a new shower curtain to replace the old one that's mildewed; change out-dated cabinet pulls in your kitchen or bathrooms.

Outdoor living is important to most buyers. Stage your yard, patio or deck with outdoor furniture. The outdoors then becomes an extension of the living area. This adds value in the buyers' mind.

An unused cubby-hole can be turned into usable space with a little staging. An extra large walk-in closet can become a computer room. A sun room can be transformed into a den or home office.

When you sell a home, you're selling a fantasy. Even though the buyers won't live in your home the way it looks in its staged-for-sale condition, they'll be attracted to it because it presents a lifestyle they aspire to.

The Closing: Buyers pay for homes that look livable and inviting, even though the furnishings will be moved out with the sellers.

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