Staging a House: What 99% of Homeowners Don't Do

When you decide to sell your home, it's really no longer your home; it's a house, a commodity for sale. It's competing with the other houses in your neighborhood, and if you want the best price, you need to show it in its best light.

But 99% of sellers still treat their house as a home. As a result, their houses usually take longer to sell and put less money in their pockets.

That's where staging comes in.

Staging a house - what does it mean?

Many homeowners know they should de-clutter, but staging a house involves much more than packing up and tossing extra "stuff."

Staging is a production, and the staging expert is the director.  The house is being staged to look like a model home: cozy, comfortable, colorful and inviting, with a personalized look to make it stand out from the rest of the other houses on the market.

Staging isn't just decorating; it's choosing the right props, moving or getting rid of furniture that makes the space look smaller, and creating focal points in main living areas.

Visit a new development and walk through the model; you can picture yourself living there, right?  You should say, “Wow!" You see yourself, your family, your friends lounging in the living room, watching TV, sitting around the candlelit dinner table.  You imagine relaxing in the yard, the bathtub, the gorgeous master bedroom.

You leave with a positive impression created by properly placed furniture, color-coordinated accessories, beautiful rich linens and table settings -- everything evoking a cozy, inviting feeling.

This reaction is the Holy Grail in staging a house.

Beyond repainting and cleaning, staging a house takes it to the next level by making it look bigger, brighter, cleaner, and accentuating the positive aspects of the property. It's all about creating a sense of possibility and potential, about creating an inviting space to inspire buyers, to generate a mood befitting the property.

“Look at your home critically. What's the best feature of each room?  How can you best accentuate that feature?  What kind of feeling should buyers experience when they walk in and how can you create that feeling?” says Karen Parziale, owner of The Real Estate Staging Studio in Hoboken.

Your stager must go room by room, inside each closet and kitchen cabinet and yes, even underneath the kitchen sink, to make the house more attractive to the greatest number of buyers.

When staging a house you have to change your mindset from "home" to "commodity." You may love that couch or TV, but if it's tired, worn or wrong for the house, it needs to go. The key is to depersonalize the space and show off your home as the best on the block.

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