To Stage or Not to Stage

According to the National Association of Realtors, Twenty-eight percent of sellers’ agents stated that there were slight decreases in the time on market when the home was staged. Twenty-five percent reported that staging a home greatly decreased the amount of time the home was on the market, while 12 percent stated that staging a home did  not affect the time on market. Only nine percent of respondents reported that staging a home
greatly increased the time a home was on the market.

Staging is a part of being a real estate agent that I absolutely adore. I love using the skills from my interior design days to help my clients sell their homes. As to the type and depth of staging a home owner may choose depends upon whether or not they will be living in the home or if the home will be vacant.

If you will be living in your home you may look at doing at what I call “Pre-Listing Suggestions”.

First, remember you have to live there. It isn’t about it not looking lived in. It’s about playing up the home’s best features and allowing a potential buyer see themselves living in the home.

  • De-personalize: remove standing family photos, kids’ artwork, personal collections, memorabilia, etc. Family photos on walls may be left up unless they overwhelm the room. You can always buy calendars and other inexpensive photos to place over family photos in the wall frames so you don’t have to worry about nail holes or too many personal photos if you choose to do so.
  • De-clutter: put large kitchen appliances/little used items away; blenders, toasters, etc. If possible, store out of season clothes in order to play up the built-in storage and show the spaciousness of those areas. This goes for kitchen cabinets as well. If there are items you rarely use, store them if there is room in your garage or attic. It creates a feeling that there is plenty of cabinet space, etc. Place lotions, makeup, etc. in drawers or cabinets.
  • Accessories: Pare down accessories on tables, dressers, etc. Remember, the human eye is drawn to odd numbers and flow. Leave “resting” space to let the eye “fall” to the table before it reaches the edge of the table, dresser, etc.
  • Organize: Have cubbies or a toy box for the play room and kids’ rooms to “stash” when you have showings. Baskets for bills/paperwork help make things feel more organized even if you have them on the counter. Just be careful about leaving out personal information.
  • Paint: A bit of paint to create that fresh feeling when a potential buyer walks in your home. Repaint neutral colors that appeal to the most potential buyers.
  • Appraisal: Get an appraisal so you know what to expect and don’t spend time with your home off of the market while under contract only to find out it doesn’t appraise for the offer. OPTIONAL
  • Inspection: If you have any concerns about problems, go ahead and get an inspection. It is the buyer’s responsibility but sometimes it can make a buyer feel more confident about making an offer. OPTIONAL
  • Paperwork: Find paperwork for appliances, etc. (manuals, warranties, etc.) They can be placed in the Information Book I will provide to be kept out for buyer’s and their agents to view.
  • Furniture: Spaciousness matters. Sometimes furniture items we have because we love them, not necessarily because they are functional, may need to be stored or moved to a different spot in the house.
  • Blankets and towels: Arrange throws over the sofa. You don’t have fold them! Just hang loosely over the back of a chair or sofa. Hang used towels neatly on the rack/rod, side of tub, or shower door.
  • Put jewelry, medications, and other valuables away. Ensure the front porch and walkway are in great condition. This is the first “in person” impression. The actual first impression in the online photos!
  • Spruce up the yard. Make sure everything is neat and tidy for showings as well as “drive bys”.
  • Make sure all light bulbs work.
  • Check the grout in any tile work. Make sure it is clean and has no gaps.
  • Repairs: An example are cracks in the walls. This could make a buyer wary as to the condition of the foundation. Check for leaky faucets, squeaky doors, etc.
  • Clean: It sounds like a no-brainer. It’s not! Buyers are much more apt to look more closely than the current home owner.
  • As a former interior designer, staging is one of my favorite parts of this job. I am available to help!

Many of the same ideas from above will be used when staging a vacant home. Most choose to stage major rooms such as the living room, dining room/area, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bath.

The kitchen and baths are easy-peasy.  A set of three beautiful clear apothecary jars filled will pasta, rice, and faux fruit. NOTE: I am not a fan of faux fruit, florals, or plants. However, in apothecary jars they won’t get dusty and won’t seem as fake. I believe faux items are needed here as the home is vacant and no one may think to exchange them out as they over ripen. Place a wooden cutting board with a nice cheese knife on top on the counter. Place a clear glass pitcher and a couple of clear glasses in the corner of two counters with the pitcher in back and the two glasses angled in front. I like using clear as it allows the kitchen’s finishes to be the focus, not the accessories. Add a succulent and white (or off-white) towels in the bathroom and bam, you are done in there. A white shower curtain is great for fiberglass showers/baths. Whether or not you use a rug or two depends on the shape the floor is in. If you are trying to play up a magnificent tile floor, nix the rug!

Furniture should be in scale with the room. A sofa and one or two chairs (depending upon the size of the room) and an ottoman anchored with a rug together with a couple of side tables that are minimally accessorized with a lamp (that can be turned on for showings: light is a showing’s friend) and one or two small items such as a magnifying glass, architectural object, or a book can finish off a living room. A set of shelves and/or a console table with a few accessories may be needed (again depending upon the size of the room). If there is a mantel, I like to lean a large clock or piece of art rather than hang it.  Have a corner that seems empty? Add a small accent chair and floor lamp.  Placing a tray with wine glasses or tea cups on the ottoman is a nice way to finish it off.

A luxuriously made bed with a great headboard in the master is a must. Use an old door laying against the wall at the head of the bed is a great headboard for a farmhouse, coastal, or shabby chic look. Don’t hang it, just lean it. No one is sleeping there! The pillows and shams will hide that it is leaning. A gorgeous upholstered headboard can work with almost any style…also leaning! Side tables with lamps, a pair of glasses, and a book on one. Place  a lamp and a glass and carafe on the other. (Again, turn on those lamps for showings if possible.) Add a bachelor’s chest or dresser and maybe a bench at the end of the bed and/or a chair in a corner and you are done. If you use a dresser or bachelor’s chest, you can lean a piece of art or mirror on them if you don’t want to hang anything on newly painted walls.

The dining room is also a relatively easy room to stage. A dining room table with chairs and a sideboard are really all that are needed. I do like setting the table and accessorizing the sideboard. I do not like, however, a table cloth as it seems to distract from the room itself which is what you are selling. A rug may or may not be needed.  Again, if you are trying to show lovely hardwood floors, nix the rug!

A quick easy way to decorate a small bedroom or bonus room, is to place a writing desk with a fun chair angled in from of it in the center of the room. Add a desk lamp, a beautiful pen, and stationary.

Plug a few lamps into timers set to different times (one at night and early morning and the other two during two different major showing times) and there is a an added element of the home possibly seeming occupied. Changing up the times the lamp is on a night and early morning from time to time helps with this.

As your Realtor®, I offer staging services for both occupied and vacant homes. I truly believe it helps to sell your home and I love doing it!



Occupied: used “Pre-Listing Suggestions”

Occupied: used “Pre-Listing Suggestions”

Occupied: used “Pre-Listing Suggestions”

Occupied: used “Pre-Listing Suggestions”

Please contact us at (910) 262-1452 or for pricing.

Services include:

  1. Occupied Home Staging Plan: After a consultation, I will create a plan which you will implement. The plan will include items in the home that need to removed or re-positioned. It will also include items you may want to purchase as well as thoughts on the color palate of the home. As your Realtor®, the staging plan is a part of my agent services.
  2. Occupied Home Staging Plan and Implementation: I will create the staging plan and implement it as well. Again, as your Realtor®, this is a part of my agent services.
  3. Vacant Home Staging Plan: After a consultation, I will create a plan which you will implement. The plan will include items that need to be purchased and floor plans for positioning as well as thoughts on the color palate of the home. As your Realtor®, the staging plan is a part of my agent services.
  4. Vacant Home Staging Plan and Implementation: I will create the staging plan and implement it as well. Items I bring in for staging will be rented on a monthly basis by the home owner unless you choose to purchase them. Once the home sells, I will remove the items not purchased.

About the author

Jodi Crumpler

Jodi Crumpler


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