Home staging is the process of rearranging or bringing in new furniture and other items to better show off the potential of a house when trying to sell it. Many real estate agents say the difference that a professional home stager can make can help potential buyers better visualize themselves living in the home.

Home staging is the process of rearranging or bringing in new furniture and other items to better show off the potential of a house when trying to sell it. Many real estate agents say the difference that a professional home stager can make can help potential buyers better visualize themselves living in the home.

Photo provided by Debbie Corey


Home staging can provide an edge for those selling their homes

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published January 31, 2018

 Decluttering a home and tailoring the look of the house for buyers helps a real estate agent better show off and sell the house.

Decluttering a home and tailoring the look of the house for buyers helps a real estate agent better show off and sell the house.

Photo provided by Debbie Corey

METRO DETROIT — Selling a home can be a virtual minefield of issues, complications and red tape, and that’s before actually finding someone to buy the house.

Real estate agents are offering a different option for helping people attract those buyers and maximize the home’s potential. Called home staging, it’s the process of arranging the existing items inside a home — or bringing in outside items — to make the presentation of the home more appealing to visitors.

“The purpose of staging is really to show the most potential for a particular room and show off the features of the room,” explained Debbie Corey, an associate broker with Kee Realty, which is based in Rochester. “Stagers will make (potential buyers) feel more at home, help the buyer see how they might arrange furniture, and give them an idea of how the home can best be furnished and feel like home.”

Many real estate agents say hiring a professional stager can give the seller an edge and be the difference between finding a buyer and not. Those selling their homes know the challenges are more than enough to begin with.

“I was not sure where to start. I knew I had to talk to someone about my mortgage and find a Realtor and get my house in order,” said Bob Biegun, who is currently selling his Warren home. “People need to be prepared for it to take a long time. Don’t think you can jump in and get it done in a month or two. A lot of it is out of your control, and that can be very frustrating.” 

Home stagers will come in and make some seemingly small differences, such as moving a couch to the center of a room to provide more space, or rearranging a table and chairs to make a room seem more welcoming. Such adjustments can change the tone of the house.

“Before I became a fan of home staging, I was a naysayer, but I saw what significant outcomes a seller could get by doing it and having it done by a professional,” remarked Nancy Robinson, a Realtor from Century 21 Town & Country, based out of Royal Oak. “It can be the difference between showing up to a job interview in a clean shirt versus a dirty shirt.”

Some real estate agents even offer virtual home staging, where they will take a photo of a room in the house and add in potential furniture and appliances to show to those looking at the home. This retains the advantages of home staging while eliminating the need for adding or removing furniture and personal items.

Real estate agents generally have a professional home stager whom they regularly work with. Some will simply rearrange the seller’s possessions, while others will bring in new furniture that they think will seem more attractive to potential buyers.

“Most Realtors have a stager they work with. Sometimes it can just simply be done with the seller and the Realtor working together,” said Corey. “We see a lot of people who have really good taste, but who aren’t using their things in the best way to show off the room. They might put furniture against walls when floating furniture in the middle of the room might look better, or they let more light in. Some stagers can bring in their own furniture to do this.”

There are some basic steps that homeowners can take on their own without hiring a professional, said Corey. She suggests that people clean and declutter their houses, which not only helps in sales, but will also help in moving. 

“Now is the time to purge,” she advised. “Plan to do a deep cleaning. Don’t forget to clean your windows too. Prep your family on the benefits of showing a clean home to a prospective buyer. It’s a huge benefit.”  

She also suggests that people make repairs, such as fixing any leaking faucets and running toilets; replacing caulking around tubs, showers and sinks; replacing burned-out lightbulbs; and replacing damaged window screens. Corey said doing the same thing outside the house and improving curb appeal can be just as helpful. Trimming bushes and trees, especially so they aren’t touching the roof or siding, can be a big help. So can repairing gutters, doing some basic landscaping and planting some season-appropriate flowers.

Basic organizing and tailoring the look of a house to the buyers can make an enormous difference.

“I would for sure take down family photos and other things, which personalize it too much for their family, and you want the buyers to imagine themselves in there,” suggested Corey. “Eliminate bright colors from the walls, and not including furniture that is too memorable, because you want the house to be memorable, not the items which would be removed.”

Whether doing home staging on one’s own or hiring a professional, Robinson said the process can be the tipping point between finding a buyer and not.

“If you’re at a place where the house isn’t moving, and you’ve done everything right marketing-wise, and people aren’t getting a warm I-want-to-buy-this-home feeling, staging it can change it from an empty space to a full space,” said Robinson. “To stage a house costs $1,700 to $3,500 for an average home. Changing the selling price by that amount almost gets you nowhere, but investing that same amount in staging often will.”