Stage your home for more money, quicker sale

Liz Bankston

There’s one piece of real estate advice that holds true whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. If you want to sell your home for more money and in a faster amount of time, stage it.

Buyers make their decisions with emotion when purchasing a new home. If the house isn’t staged — just blank unwelcoming space — buyers feel no connection to the aspirational life they’re looking to have. They have a hard time even envisioning such a simple thing as where to place their furniture.

Perhaps Buyers should consider more of the property itself but that isn’t what usually happens. Statistically, a home that is well staged will sell within 45 days for 3 percent to 5 percent more than one that isn’t staged.

Homes that aren’t staged will typically face several price reductions over several months. Sellers then find themselves on the stale bread aisle, just like in a supermarket under the manager’s special for quick sale, which means at a large discount. This is where no seller wants to be, frustrated and empty handed.

Think of it this way, when you go to a friend’s home for a party, do they have the outside lights on, welcome you at the door, have soothing music playing, candles lit, the scent of great food cooking and your favorite beverage waiting for you? How does that make you feel? The answer is they prepared for you and made you feel special. It makes you want to take your coat off, stay a while and enjoy yourself. The same goes for when you list your home: Make sure to get ready for the party.

We believe in the power of staging so much that we hire a Professional stager for a two-hour consultation with our seller. The cost is included in our marketing package.

During this consultation, we ask if there is a budget for any recommendations made. Small budgets of $100 to $500 are typical, and usually cover paint, curb appeal, brighter light bulbs and accessories.

Many times, the stager uses what the seller already has, just placing furniture and accessories in their optimal positions. It’s generally agreed that most people have too much “stuff.” One of the best things you can do is de-clutter your rooms, closets, drawers, pantry and fridge. It gives the impression of extra space.

It’s nice to have a few family photos to add some warmth, but keep them to a minimum and only keep the photos that are more like art work than class picture style. You don’t want buyers to become more interested in the photos than the house.

One other important key component not to be overlooked while staging comes with just a little elbow grease — a super deep clean of the house, because everyone else’s dirt is dirtier than our own. If a house doesn’t look and smell clean, the buyer quickly exits the house and moves on to the next property. For extra resistant odors, we recommend using an ozonator to purify the air.

Photos are very important. The best time to take photos is once the home is staged. The first showing happens online. A buyer makes a decision at this point whether they’re interested enough to make the effort to see the home in person. Hire a professional photographer to take the photos. Blurred, shadowed and crooked photos look awful. And worse yet, deter a buyer from making a showing appointment.

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Liz Bankston is owner and a broker at Bankston Brokers ( and The Real Estate Butlers (