When done well, home staging can make a significant difference when selling your home. Research clearly shows that professionally staged homes sell faster and for higher prices than non-staged homes or vacant properties. This is true no matter the prevailing real estate market conditions.

So, what exactly is home staging and what are the best strategies to use as a home seller? These are the questions I will answer in this article.

Goals of Home Staging

The objective of home staging is to get the house ready for sale on the open market. You want it to look good in pictures and videos used for marketing the property. You also want it to feel inviting for potential buyers who ultimately tour the home.

Home staging is not just cleaning up, decluttering and slapping on a fresh coat of paint, though those are all helpful steps to take when selling your house. There is a real art to staging, and there is a lot of careful strategy involved. That is why there are professionals who specialize in home staging, as well as designers—like our own partner, Mark Liddell—who spend years and years crafting their staging skills.

Designer Style with Neutral Appeal

If done right, staging will give your home a true “designer” feel while also neutralizing its style. This is where people often get confused. Home staging is very different from interior design. They are both design methods to improve the look and feel throughout the house. However, the ultimate objectives are not the same. Interior design is about injecting personal style and creating the perfect living space for the home’s residents. Home staging is about removing elements of personal style and making the property appeal to a wider range of buyers. It’s a similar technique as you will see if you tour a model home.

It’s important to note that when I recommend home staging to any of my clients, it is in no way a judgment on their personal style or decorating tastes. I recommend it to almost every single one of my clients because it is a great investment to better showcase and market the property. When you are selling your home, you have to remember it is no longer your “home.” It becomes a commodity. It is a physical product that you want to appeal to as many different buyers as possible. Therefore, you must remove your personal emotions and let a staging professional do what they do best. This isn’t easy to do for some homeowners, but trust me when I say it is worth it to make this mental shift when selling!

A professional home stager will design the living spaces strategically and highlight the best aspects of each room. They will typically use a neutral color palette. They may utilize some or all of your existing furniture and décor, or they may bring in their own pieces. If your house is vacant, you definitely want to stage it before listing on the MLS. If you are living there until it sells, then be prepared to sacrifice a little personal comfort and style. It won’t quite feel like your home for a little while and that’s okay. That’s because multiple potential buyers can walk in and imagine themselves living there because the space is very inviting, yet neutrally appealing. This is what drives better offers and bidding wars.

Hiring a Home Stager

When you are hiring a home stager there are certain things you want to look for. They should have a quality portfolio of staged homes and a track record of success. Ask your real estate agent or talk with people you trust to get referrals. Don’t be afraid to interview several stagers and find one you think will do the best job.

Not all interior designers make great home stagers. Remember they are used to capturing a certain style for the homeowner. Staging requires a different outlook and approach, so make sure that any designer you talk to is well-versed in the art of staging and can provide you with a portfolio of houses staged for sale—not just their flashy interior design samples.

As you can imagine, there is such a thing as bad staging. The design can be overdone, underdone or too stylized to a specific visual motif. There are some rare cases where bad staging can even be worse than vacant rooms. In most cases, however, professional staging is much better than simply cleaning up the room or leaving them empty.

Check out my Spotlight video about the magic of home staging:

If you are looking to sell your home in the Los Angeles or San Gabriel Valley area, contact The HD Group today. We can refer you to some great local home stagers and help guide you through the entire selling process to ensure you get the best return on your investment.