The Dallas Morning News

Should you stage your home for sale?

- Erik J. Martin, CTW Features

“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespear­e famously wrote. That may be true, but some areas serve as a more important stage than others, especially when it comes to marketing, showing and selling a home.

Home staging is the process of preparing a property for sale by making it appealing to prospectiv­e buyers. The experts agree: Staging your for-sale home can make all the difference in attracting buyer interest and higher offers.

“The goal of home staging is to create an emotional connection with the buyer and to showcase the home’s best features. This may involve rearrangin­g furniture, declutteri­ng and adding or removing decor,” said Larry Weideman with Dazzle Home Staging.

In the digital age, a buyer’s first impression of a home is what they see online. To get them in the door, the objective is to make the residence as picturesqu­e and visually attractive as possible and stand out versus other homes for sale, noted Gregg Menell, CEO and managing broker of Pendulum Property Group in Scarsdale, New York.

“The advantage of staging is to let buyers see the home, not the owner. For example, the owner may love their flowered window treatments covering their new windows and the gorgeous window casings. The buyers, however, may be turned off by the decor and may never truly see the aesthetics of the house,” he said. “When discussing the home later in the day, you don’t want the buyer to remember the house as ‘the one with the ugly flower curtains.’”

Staging used to be more focused on in-person open houses and private showings, which is why the emphasis was more on declutteri­ng and cleaning in years past.

“However, now the emphasis is on the digital aspect, which means that maximizing the light exposure and rooms has become a major staging strategy, and positionin­g the furniture is something that can make a room look much larger in photos,” Maureen McDermut, a real estate agent in Santa Barbara, California, explained.

Weideman concurred, noting that home staging approaches have evolved to concentrat­e more on creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

“For example, some stagers now use virtual staging to create 3D renderings of a home that can be used to showcase the home’s potential. Another example is the shift toward minimalism and neutral colors to appeal to a wider range of potential buyers,” he said.

A good candidate for home staging is anyone seeking to sell their home quickly and for top dollar. Properties that are cluttered, outdated or have a less-than-desirable floor plan can also benefit from home staging.

The cost for a profession­al stager, which can span several hundreds of dollars, is usually paid by the homeowner, although some agents/Realtors may cover the cost as part of their marketing services. Still, this expense may be factored into the commission they charge.

Sometimes, home stagers will recommend removing existing furniture and replacing pieces and decor with borrowed upgraded replacemen­ts that go back to their source after the home is sold. But often, if the seller is currently living in their home and has their own furniture in place, the real estate agent and/or profession­al stager will help them find ways to reposition furnishing­s and add pieces that show better in photos and in person, according to Tyler Draheim, a broker associate with Coldwell Banker Realty in Denver.

“Many times, our agency will have its own staging partners come in with their furniture and decor to completely transform the space. This can make a huge difference and increase your selling price by a significan­t amount over a similar home that is not staged,” Draheim said.

The key to successful staging, in his opinion, is to position furniture in a way that enables buyers to walk through the home easily and to ensure the home is well-lit and uncluttere­d.

“The declutteri­ng, cleaning and depersonal­izing – meaning removing of all photos and personal items – is typically done by the homeowners themselves,” said Menell.

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Getty Images

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