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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 8:18 pm | Fair 52º


Why the Art of Staging Can Make Your House a Hot Property

Sellers may be skeptical but temporary décor is designed to create a sight that will get buyers to bite

Professional stagers suggest it can be difficult for do-it-yourself homeowners to get beyond the personalization of their interior design choices. “We go in and make every room about the house itself so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in it,” says Meredith Baur of Meredith Baur Home.
Professional stagers suggest it can be difficult for do-it-yourself homeowners to get beyond the personalization of their interior design choices. “We go in and make every room about the house itself so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in it,” says Meredith Baur of Meredith Baur Home. (Meredith Baur Home photo)

If you’ve lived in your house for a while, you see it in a certain way.

It’s perfectly natural that you like your décor. The personal artwork, photos and tchotchkes are evidence of a life well-lived, and they should reflect well on the house and the life a potential buyer could expect to have in the home, right?

Maybe ... Maybe not.

The Association of Property Scene Designers says that “staged homes sell 43 percent more quickly than unstaged homes.” This is a statistic that should give pause to anyone seriously considering putting a home on the market.

But first, what is staging exactly, and why is it worth considering if you’re planning a sale?

Staging a home involves having a design professional rethink your décor to make your house more appealing to a potential buyer. It usually involves a lot of de-cluttering; often, a homeowner’s furniture is swapped for furniture that a stager has in inventory.

To understand more about home staging, Noozhawk talked to Meredith Baur of Meredith Baur Home, one of the largest professional staging companies in the country, with warehouses of furniture on both coasts, and with stagers and projects throughout the Central Coast.

Noozhawk: Why should your average homeowner hire a stager?

Meredith Baur: The National Association of Realtors found that staged homes sell 80 percent faster and for 11 percent more money than unstaged homes.

It’s difficult for homeowners to stage themselves because many people don’t realize the difference between interior design and home staging.

Interior design is about personalization, whereas home staging is the opposite. We go in and make every room about the house itself so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in it.

Noozhawk: How is cost figured out?

MB: Our services range from $5,000 to $200,000, depending on the size of the home and the work we need to do.

Noozhawk: Is there a guarantee that hiring a stager will work to sell a house more quickly?

MB: There are no guarantees, but we’ve staged many homes that have sold in less than 30 days. Earlier this year, we actually staged a house that received multiple offers before it went on the market!

Noozhawk: What is a stager’s training?

MB: I was self-taught! Design was always a passion of mine.

My team of stagers has a background in interior design, but I train them to master the “Meridith Baer look,” which is very comfortable, casual and California-chic.

Noozhawk: Are stagers paid for by the homeowner or the Realtor?

MB: The homeowner typically pays for staging.

Noozhawk: What would you say to someone concerned about the up-front cost of hiring a stager to help sell his or her home?

MB: In many cases, it can cost more to pay the mortgage and keep a house on the market than it costs to hire a stager and make the sale!

Noozhawk: What is the average cost to stage a 3,000-square-foot house within 100 miles of a Meredith Baer warehouse?

MB: That’s a difficult answer because square footage is only one of many factors in staging cost.

Everything is based off the neighborhood, home size and the furniture we use. Every house is different, so we provide free quotes for everyone!

                                                                 •        •        •

It is often a homeowner’s real estate agent who will suggest a stager to a seller.

Realtor Lisa Culp Taylor discusses staging in her blog.

“Many sellers balk at the idea of hiring a stager for their home prior to listing,” she shared. “They think it’s too expensive, too much work and they like their décor as is.

“I recently worked with a client whose home had been on the market for several months with another Realtor. When her original listing expired, she contacted me and asked me for a consult. Her home had great bones, but she was selling due to a recent divorce. To complicate matters, her ex-husband had moved with much of her former furniture ...

“She was, understandably, worried about the cost, but quickly realized that four months’ worth of mortgage payments was significantly more expensive than hiring a stager. So, she took the plunge. Her home sold four days after the staging was complete.

“Now, if this were a print advertisement, I’d have to include an asterisk to say that those results are not typical of all staging stories, but you know what? It’s not that unusual either.”

When selling a home, there are a lot of considerations, staging being just one of them. There is also conflicting information about how effective staging really is in the sale of a home.

Sometimes an experienced real estate agent can make recommendations that a homeowner can do on his or her own and spare the homeowner the cost of hiring a stager.

But when considering the cost of the first price reduction when a house does not sell, it makes sense to at least ask the question of whether a fresh eye and designer’s touch could be the key to a quicker sale and therefore worth considering.

— Noozhawk contributing writer Hilary Doubleday can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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