Stage a Room, Sell the House

By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine

Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House By Lori Matzke, Photography by James Gross (Center Stage Home Inc., 2004)

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Good first impressions are crucial when you’re selling a house. You have to wow potential buyers from the moment they walk through the door and help them envision the property as their own—a difficult job if it’s cluttered, crowded with furniture, or stamped with eccentric decor. That’s where staging comes in. Lori Matzke’s book uses hundreds of before-and-after photos to show how you can highlight the best features of various housing styles, from a tiny urban condo to a country farmhouse. You’ll also find universal staging guidelines that will make any home shine and learn simple tips that can make a big impact at open houses. The goal is to appeal to the majority and increase your chances of an offer.

Tips From the Book:

  • Pay attention to lighting. Make sure lighting sources are clean; most homeowners never realize the subtle effects of dust and dirt buildup on their fixtures, but prospective buyers will. Cleaning them isn’t enjoyable, but the sparkling lighting will pay off. Also, don’t think you have to keep every light on for a showing. No one looks their most flattering in stark, bright light, and the same goes for homes. For the best effect, use a balance of natural, overhead, and table or floor lighting.
  • Downplay your decorating tastes. Sellers should keep in mind that not everyone shares their sense of style. To ensure that their personal decorating tastes don’t come between the house and a potential buyer, minimize the impact of furnishings, artwork, and accessories. Using less can result in more offers.
  • De-clutter kitchen counters. The more spacious a kitchen appears, the more it will impress. Pack away unnecessary items, such as any appliance that you don’t use everyday. Box up clutter to give potential buyers a better idea of how functional the space can be. And always conceal liquor bottles, which can produce a negative image for some.