If you sell your house looking like a model home, chances are you'll sell it for a good price. This technique is called home staging. Sellers acknowledge the importance of home staging that it has become a fast-growing profession.
"Staging is not decorating. Decorating is optional, staging is mandatory in order to sell the house for the most possible money in the shortest amount of time," says home staging instructor Joanne O'Donnell. She has been teaching home staging courses for several years.
The concept was started by Barb Schwarz in 1972 who was then a realtor. She realized that houses that were prepared to be sold prior to putting it up in the market, sold better than those that were not. Today thousands of real estate professionals understand the importance of home staging.
"When we put your home on the market it is no longer your home; it is a product and we're marketing it," O'Donnell tells her students.
Home stagers start by taking a close look at the house inside and out. O'Donnell encourages her students to go around the house with the seller. As they go through the house, they should take notes of the things that need to be moved or taken out.
Even though home staging is about improving the appearance of the house, O'Donnell emphasizes that it's different from interior decorating. "You can't go out and buy new things for every problem that you have with a house," she says. Home staging is about decluttering in a way that it looks attractive to the masses. "Clutter eats up equity", O'Donnell often reminds her students. "The whole idea of staging is that you want to market to the largest number of people to get as many offers as possible," says O'Donnell.
There are five important points to remember in home staging. O'Donnell refers to them as the Five C's of staging - clean, clutter-free, color, creatively staged, compromise with the sellers.
Gerin Canin, a lawyer from New York is transitioning into a home stager. She says, "People don't see that a lot of things that are in their houses are part of themselves and when you try to sell a house you want to make it as neutral as possible, not necessarily in the colors, but in the way it's presented."
"I think that when people sell their homes they don't necessarily see their house as a potential buyer would see their house. They become attached to things. [The seller] doesn't notice things that other people would notice. So I do think it's important to have an opinion from someone else," explains Canin.
Here are some tips from professional home stagers:
Inside the house :
Outside the house: