Tracy Ellis

Real Estate Magazine

Edition 7 Features

From Staged to SOLD!

Your home is probably your largest investment and selling it can be one of the most important and stressful times in your life. Staging is the process of getting your home ready for market. Staging is the only service performed in preparation for selling a home that actually brings measurable value. By following the steps and recommendations provided by a professional stager you are much more likely to secure the most equity for your property with fewer days on market. Your first showing is typically online as 92% of buyers shop online before they ever step foot into your house. Remember, buyers buy the way they want to live, not how they actually live.

  • Staging is preparing the property to appeal to the widest range of buyers.
  • Staging is NOT interior decorating. Decorating is PERSONAL.
  • Staging is designed to appeal to the buyer demographic that will be looking at your property.

You must be committed to getting your house ready for sale. It is not easy living life “on stage” but your property WILL sell faster and for a higher price if you take the following steps to create a fabulous first impression. Buyers want rooms that are light and bright, meticulously clean, fresh and uncluttered.tracy-ellis-issue-7-web

The more you do to prepare your house, the faster it will sell.

Start at the curb and look at things like your mailbox, driveway, landscaping, front steps/porch, front door, welcome mat, exterior lighting, paint, siding, and trim. Don’t forget to look up…looking for cobwebs, insects and debris. Look at each area of the home, garage, deck, back yard, and all interior living spaces with a critical eye. Ask yourself “would I accept this if I were buying this property?”

Inside and out.
Don’t forget the basement, garage, porch, patio, cupboards,closets, baseboards, light fixtures, ceilings, fireplaces, carpets, curtains.
Even if YOU can’t smell it, the potential buyer may. Many times we get used to the smell of our homes – dogs, cats, mildew, SMOKE, pungent ethnic foods, etc. Clean and deodorize.
You may need to have your air ducts cleaned.

Clutter happens! It comes in one piece at a time and eventually closes in on us. Clutter eats equity. A cluttered home is stressful, and in America we are cluttered to death. Clutter will be one of your biggest challenges in preparing your home for sale. Plan to
tackle one room at a time or it can become overwhelming.

WHAT IS CLUTTER? It’s the stuff your spouse wants you to throw out and you refuse to part with — newspapers, magazines, stuffed animals, clipped coupons and recipes, figurines, and the things your friends say are “so you” and show your personality”.
When you stage you need to pack these items away. Now is a good time to ask yourself “Do I really NEED to keep these items?”

Painting is one of the least expensive ways to prepare your house for sale. Remove wallpaper, touch up smudges, freshen up baseboards and trim.  When preparing your house for sale, select neutral, light paint colors in pale grays or beiges.

In many cases sellers have too much furniture or furniture that is too large for the space. This is another case where less is more.  Be sure you have at least a 3’ walkway in all areas throughout the home.  Store excess furnishings either off-site or in an area of the basement or garage where it won’t look cluttered.  In other cases, sellers have sparsely furnished or unfurnished rooms. It is better to leave these rooms empty than partially furnished. The best scenario is to bring in rental furnishings to round out the design plan so that buyers can envision the space.

KITCHENS. One of the key areas you can invest is in the kitchen.  Buyers pay particular attention to kitchen FLOORING (in a home over $200,000 they do not want vinyl).  Replace with tile or hardwood. COUNTERTOPS are another key area.  Buyers are looking for solid surfaces such as Granite, Quartz or Silestone.  APPLIANCES may need to be updated – stainless is still the most requested appliance type.

LIGHTING. LOOK UP. WHAT DO YOU SEE?  If major lighting fixtures are dated, they can be replaced easily and inexpensively.  Drum light fixtures (with fabric or neutral shade) blend with most existing fixtures.

HARDWARE. This is another inexpensive update.  Replace brass door handles.  Replace dated knobs and pulls on kitchen cabinets.

MASTER BATH. Along with the kitchen, the master bath is a key area where buyers want luxury.  Carpet is a negative in wet areas.  In a home over $200,000 buyers are looking for tile.  If you replace carpet with vinyl, be sure to use a heavy vinyl that looks like tile.

MASTER BEDROOM. Replace floral or patterned bedding with fresh “Hotel Collection” white bedding.

Preparing your home for market requires detailed planning.  There are so many elements that need to come together prior to putting your property on the market it can be daunting.  Remember, if you pack it now you won’t have to move it later when your house
sells.  Put together a schedule and rely on an array of industry professionals to assist with the process.

This is where a professional staging company like INhance IT! comes to the rescue.  We select furnishings, artwork, plants and accessories to enhance each key room of your home.  We select the furnishings, move them in, merchandise the home, and move them out prior to closing.

Vacant home staging fees can begin from as little as $2,000.  Pricing is based on several factors including the square footage of the home, price of the home, location, type of property (condo, high rise, single family) and rooms to be staged.  It may sound high, but
think about it – each home will have approx. $20K of furnishings when staged – high quality, selected to accent the home and designed to sell your home.

If you don’t stage your home as soon as you move out, it WILL sit on the market longer and you will still be making the house payments.  Statistics show that staged properties sell 83% faster than un-staged properties.  Recent RESA (Real Estate Staging Association) reports show 120 days (4 months) for un-staged properties vs. less than 40 days for staged properties.

Whether you will be living in your home while it is on the market or moving on to your new home, be sure that your agent arranges to have your home professionally photographed once it is staged and ready to go.  The old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words, still holds true today.  You only have once chance to make a first impression and in today’s marketplace that first impression is typically on-line or on social media.

Real estate professionals agree that the cost of staging is less than the cost of a price reduction.  Stage first and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your home will be sold and begin to reap the rewards of your labors.

Contact INhance IT! Home Staging…the cost of our service is less than your first price reduction!  314-486-5354 |

Prepared by Liz Connolly, MIRM, MCSP, INhance IT! Home Staging