Stage your home to sell

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published October 7, 2015

 When staging a kitchen, updates could include replacing old wallpaper and countertops and painting the cabinets.

When staging a kitchen, updates could include replacing old wallpaper and countertops and painting the cabinets.

Shutterstock image

METRO DETROIT — Spending a small amount of money to stage your home for sale can deliver big returns, according to local real estate professionals.


“Statistics have shown if a seller invests 1 percent (of the home price) on staging, they will get 8 to 10 percent of their money back and sell their house 75 times faster,” said Corie Conroy, owner of First Impressions Home Staging in Bloomfield Hills.


Staging is mostly a matter of decluttering and making your home look its best.


“Clutter is a big deal,” Conroy said. “When you look at a room, it must have space in it, the furniture must be placed correctly and be the right scale for the room.”


“My saying — it is always that less is more,” said real estate agent Debby Nelson, who works in Birmingham and the Rochester area with Berkshire Hathaway. “Sometimes people have lived in a home for 20, 25 or 30 years,” Nelson said. “If  there is 40-year-old furniture that you are not taking with you, let’s donate it now. A lot of people can’t see the vision.”


Nelson said she recently spent four weeks staging a home that had been languishing on the market for months. She went through the home room by room and recommended simple updates for items such as countertops, window treatments, paint and appliances.


“It wasn’t a lot of money; it was just time,” she said. “I sold the house in three days.”


Staging should begin with a home’s entranceway, including a manicured lawn, clean gutters and sparkling windows.


“I once had someone hire a service to cut their neighbor’s lawn until their house sold,” Nelson said.


Kitchens and bathrooms can be updated without spending a fortune, Conroy said. Invest in a ready-made stone countertop that slips over the existing countertop, paint the cabinets and install new light fixtures. 


“Make your old bathroom look like a spa,” Nelson said. “Take everything out — wallpaper comes out. The more neutral you can make your house, the quicker it will sell. Most people aren’t into color. The colors that are in now are grays and neutrals.” 


Potential homebuyers usually have a checklist of specific things they are looking for, Conroy said.


“Buyers buy on emotion,” she said. “But when they go into a house that is staged properly, they may overlook things it may not have.


“Staging helps the seller sell faster and get top dollar,” Conroy said. “It is a newer concept in Michigan, but in California there is rarely a home that goes on the market that isn’t staged.”


“You have to make your house stand out,” Nelson said. “When you spend the right amount of time in the right areas, the paybacks are huge.”