Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence prior to going up for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to sell a home quickly, and for the most money possible by attracting the most amount of potential buyers. Staging focuses on improving a property to make it appeal to the largest amount of buyers by transforming it into a welcoming, appealing, and attractive product for sale. Staging often raises the value of a property by way of reducing the home's flaws, depersonalizing, de-cluttering, cleaning, improving condition items, and landscaping. For vacant homes, rental furniture is used to create a living space the buyer could "see" themselves in. Properly executed staging leads the eye to attractive features while minimizing flaws.

The Techniques?

Many techniques are used to stage a property. De-cluttering, de-personalizing, updating old or unattractive fixtures, painting, furniture rearrangement, rental furniture and accessorizing are just some of the changes used to make a home more inviting to potential buyers.

Since a typical home buyer decides if they are attracted to a home or not in the first 8 seconds of seeing it, curb appeal is generally viewed as a vital aspect of the staging process. Therefore, curb appeal, the practice of improving a home's exterior appeal, is used alongside interior improvements.

It has been shown that homes containing furniture and accessories sell more quickly than vacant homes, because the potential buyers realize what can actually be done with the place. They may realize that the room is actually a lot larger than it would look without furnishings. Rental of furniture and decorative accessories are common solutions used by a home stager when selling brand new properties that have never been occupied, or those where homeowners have already vacated the property.

Spaciousness and light often determine the success of a staged home. Typically, the larger a room appears, the better it will seem to homebuyers. Dark, tight spaces create a poor impression and may prevent the home from selling. Furniture layouts should create an impression of openness and comfort. Non-essential items should be removed to minimize crowding and clutter. Opening curtains and blinds to let in natural light and turning on interior and exterior lights at nighttime are also common staging techniques.

One school of thought suggests that wall treatments and flooring are most appealing when presented in neutral colors and subtle patterns. Paint colors should be neutral whenever possible, as bright or bold colors and strong patterns detract from the universal appeal of a space. This rule, however, does not always hold true, particularly in the luxury home market, where unique fixtures and bold finishes - such as stained concrete flooring, deeply colored textured paints and artisan fixtures - are often considered highly desirable.
Religious items, personal photos, awards, certificates and cultural items are often removed to downplay the presence of current homeowners. This helps potential homebuyers to not only feel more at ease during viewings, but allows them to focus on the property itself while also imagining their own belongings in the space.

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The History?

Since the 1970s, real estate professionals have used staging as a marketing tool but not until the 1990s did staging became a separate endeavor adopted by professional designers, decorators and stagers and home based career seekers. More recently, the trend of do-it-yourself home staging has become widely popular, as many staging books have been published on the subject.

Staging is viewed by some as a necessary step taken prior to selling a home, and many real estate professionals and home sellers alike hire a professional home stager or home staging company to stage their homes prior to sale. Statistics show that it makes a dramatic difference on the amount of days a property is on the market and how much it sells for.

Research has shown that a home stager can reduce a listing's time on the market by half and can result in an increase of 10-15% in the selling price versus an empty home.

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