By Amanda N. Wegner
First impressions are formed in just a few seconds. Does your home have what it takes to make a good one?
If it’s not staged, it might not.
The profession of home stager grew out of the work many real estate agents already do to help sellers market their homes. In some cases, you may get enough staging tips and assistance from your real estate agent. In others, you may want to have an additional pair of hands helping with this step of the process.
“The fact is, the way we live in our home and the way it should be prepared to sell are two very different things,” says Gerri Downen, an accredited staging professional with the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. She owns Unity Staging in St. Charles, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. “Home staging is a process of setting the stage for potential buyers. I look at the entire theater of your home to create a consistent mood, enhance its best features and help the buyer immediately begin to mentally move in.”
Professionally staged homes, says Downen, are de-cluttered, depersonalized and neutralized. They’re also cleaned from floor to ceiling. Accessories, artwork and furniture—and not necessarily your own—are used to showcase unique architectural details, create an inviting ambiance and increase space and flow.
All this helps move the house faster. In fact, a national realty agency tracked 2,772 properties, ranging in price from $229,000 to $4.8 million in eight U.S. cities. Their study found that while the average home was on the market for nearly 31 days, the staged homes sold, on average, in just under 14 days.
Though staging costs vary based on a home’s size and geographical location, research shows the expense may be worth the investment. That same study mentioned above found that staged homes can sell for as much as 6.3 percent above listing price.