Staging to Sell

I love what I do, and staging a house is one of the best perks of the real estate part of my life. I get to plan, decorate and design for an entire home, dialing up the home’s appeal and making buyers fall in love with it. (And more than once I’ve had the homeowners say they might buy their own house and not move because it looks so good, haha!) And for a great client: no, not the home seller, but the unknown future buyer. It’s like looking into a design crystal ball and staging for the ideal life of the eventual new owner.

These days everyone seems to know about staging, but some people don’t even know why it’s necessary. “Isn’t the buyer going to put their own stuff in here anyway?” A fair question, but if I’ve learned anything in my real estate life it’s that people love to dream, and the way I stage is a big part of letting them have that dream about the specific house I’m showing.

Believe me, if you want to sell your home faster, staging a house may help. Staging a house gets your place showroom-ready and allows buyers to imagine themselves living there. Home buyers are used to seeing picture-perfect houses—in person, on home decorating shows (guilty as charged!), decor magazines, and on-line home design websites. When those same people come to a home and it’s not staged they can feel let down. So I really know the power of staging a house as it can make a big difference when selling. And I’m not just a stager, I’m a lifestyle stager. More on that in a moment…

Staging a house is the process of strategically arranging furnishings and decor to make a house look its best while selling. This may involve paring down and refreshing your own belongings, or moving all of your own stuff out and renting furniture and decor.

It’s really all about highlighting a home’s strengths and appealing to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers.

I know that buyers prefer the look of a staged home, and that staged homes sell for more, and faster. But don’t take my word for it:

  • A 2017 National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey uncovered that 77% of realtors said it was easier for their clients to visualize a staged home as their own over a non-staged home.
  • Staging can also increase the sales price. In that same NAR survey, 29% of sellers’ agents said the sales price for staged homes were between 1% and 5% higher than unstaged homes.
  • Staged homes sell faster, too—39% of sellers’ agents reported that staging a home reduces days on the market.

So back to the buyers wanting to dream about their new life in a home…it’s the reason I so strongly believe in creating vignettes. I know that I have to go beyond placing furniture and hanging art, I need to make the home look like it’s livable and lovable. And creating little lifestyle vignettes helps do that.

What do I mean? Adding accessories that help paint the illusion that the perfect moment for that space is about to happen, except the people have stepped away for a moment. The dining table set for a romantic dinner, candles ready to be lit. Whimsical toys tidily arranged in a child’s room. A sun hat and gardening tools by the back door. Pretty dog bowls and a few adorable chew toys by the patio. A wicker bag and beach towels in the laundry room. A good book and reading glasses on the night stand.

Could you picture them yourself just by reading them? Then that’s the power of lifestyle vignettes. And they are a evocative way to help people envision life in the home.

The Homestead, 37 Clinton Avenue in Westport, which goes live to market on Wednesday. It was so loved by the family who are selling it, but my job was to show others how a wonderful life could await them, too. Well, my team and I have a few more finishing touches to go, so I must dash back and finish up.

Staging to sell is hard work, but it’s fun and rewarding. We’re lucky to love our work so much!