Contrary to what you might think, it's about more than preparing your home for sale. Staging is what you do after you've cleaned, decluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it's all about dressing the house for sale.
What is a Professional Home Stager?
Professional stagers are highly skilled artists. They can take a blank canvas and paint a sensuous portrait without ever lifting a paint brush. Stagers possess the skills of a top-level designer and they create dramatic scenery that appeals to all five senses. Here are some of their secrets:
Arrange sparse pieces of furniture in an appealing grouping known as a vignette
Showcase a generous usage of soft fabrics such as silk, lambswool, satin
Display unusual knickknacks in units of 1, 3 or 5
Drape window coverings with simple lines
Add unique elements to shelving, bookcases and fireplace mantels, which draw attention to predetermined areas
What Accessories Does a Stager Use?
Stagers bring in a vast array of items to spruce up the house. Here is a small sampling of items professional stagers often use to dress each room. How they are utilized is limited only by the creativity and vision of the stager.
Professional Staging Tricks & Tips
An artist for 35 years, Dawna Johnson, is an Accredited Staging Professional Master (ASP) and owner of Sacramento Staging Solutions. She says the idea behind staging is to allow rooms to show themselves. "If your home is vacant, it's soulless," Dawna warns. "Without staging, it will probably remain on the market for many months." She calls the kitchen the "heart of the home," and offers this practical advice for making that space sparkle:
Apply orange oil to cabinets that appear dry, which will renew their original luster
Put out large bowls of fruit such as polished apples, bright oranges, luscious grapes
Arrange colorful and fun cookbooks on the counters
Dawna believes in bringing the outdoors inside through the use of greenery and plants; in creating clean, crisp spaces and arranging furniture with plenty of room to walk around. She says bathrooms are essential to dress well. "Bathrooms should look open, airy and delightful," says Dawna. One of her favorite tricks is to add baskets filled with spa treatments such as:
The back yard needs staging, too. For patios and decks, Dawna brings in plants and potted flowers, and adds additional color by setting the picnic table with bright, plastic dinner plates.
How Much Does it Cost?
Prices vary depending on where you live and the local demand for professional home staging. Coastal areas and large metropolitan cities where home staging has been prevalent for years command higher prices. Most listing agents agree, however, that vacant homes show better with staging and will encourage sellers to hire a professional stager. Fees range from $500 to $5,000 or more, depending on square footage and the number of rooms staged.