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Oct 3, 2017

Staging is a very important aspect of getting your house ready to put on the market. While the home-staging professional can come help and bring their wisdom, every home seller is a stager. In today’s episode, Monica and Helen Bartlett will discuss some inexpensive ways to stage your home so it’s ready for buyers, as well as virtual staging and some other aspects of staging and the processes involved.

Home staging is preparing your house to go on the market so that it sells quickly and gets the highest dollar by appealing to the most number of people. Some examples of staging are painting, cleaning, making repairs, or updating your home — the goal is to create a warm and welcoming house that will capture a buyer’s attention. Buyers want to see how they can live in that house.

Home staging is more than just decorating. The difference between the two is a house versus a lifestyle. Staging allows the buyer to focus on the house and their emotional and psychological connection to it. It is especially important to stage a vacant house because when there’s nothing else to look at, the buyer may start to focus on the negative things. Once a buyer is connected to a house, they are willing to pay more for it, and a staged house may sell more quickly.

When a professional stager comes into a house that’s occupied and needs attention, one of the easier ways to highlight a home is to “edit” existing pieces of the house and de-clutter the house of things that can make the space feel outdated. Painting and updating the light fixtures are two of the least expensive ways to make a home seem relevant. These types of updates can make a home feel move-in ready, and when a home feels move-in ready for a buyer, they are willing to pay more.

What are some of the types of ways a stager can bring value to a transaction? They bring their wisdom and experience to help pick good paint colors or appropriate light fixtures. A first consultation might be getting the feel of the space and setting a plan for staging, and then another consultation might be helping the seller move things around.

Everyone selling their home should at least have a stager consultation. In a consultation, a stager can give advice to a homeowner about things to put away. An hour-long consultation could lead to value in the thousands of dollars and runs at a reasonable rate. For REALTORS®, you can make a consultation part of your business model, especially if you don’t particularly have an eye for decorating.

When Helen is getting people ready for staging, her advice is to take out things they don’t want in their next house, personal pictures that could distract the buyer, or collections. Everything left in the room should serve a purpose. There are also things that should be taken out to prevent them from being broken or stolen.

Vacant staging is a bit more involved, but it’s equally important for helping a buyer to connect with a house. Adding furniture will allow buyers to see how they might utilize the space for the stuff they have and their lifestyle. There is a lot of upfront work involved in vacant staging, including what needs to be done to prepare for  the staging days and then getting the inventory back out after it sells.

Staging usually costs anywhere from .5% - 3% of the list price, depending on where you are in the country.Typically, a staged home will net anywhere from 7% - 10% more than an unstaged home, which will likely more than cover the staging cost. The home will also likely sell more quickly, which will save you money on holding costs.

Every home can benefit from some level of staging. Though it is a seller’s market in many places in the country right now, with a little bit of staging, you can get multiple offers or even over asking price.

As a REALTOR®, having a stager as part of your team can be beneficial for both you and the seller. You will be appealing as an agent if staging is something you can offer your seller, and the stager can also help to share their best advice for the sellers, and that can help preserve the relationship between seller and REALTOR®. Home stagers are on the same team as the real estate agent, because it’s about making a successful transaction for the REALTOR® and the homeowner.

With the rise HGTV and DIY, many people feel that they either don’t need to make any changes to their house or feel that they can stage it themselves. While the latter may be true, many buyers are not looking for houses to which they would have to make updates. They often don’t have the money or the time — there aren’t as many people that are into fixing up houses as there used to be.

When a house is competing with new construction, staging becomes even more important. While being the first homeowner of a house is exciting, many existing houses may have more amenities for the same price. Staging can help get your house ready to compete with new construction homes.

Virtual staging is when someone is working digitally online, and they add furnishings or different paint colors to the pictures of the house. Personally and professionally, Helen feels like virtual staging could be good for new construction plans. For existing homes, virtual staging may not be the best route to go. As a buyer, when you go to see a house that was virtually staged, you may feel like you weren’t shown what was represented through the virtual staging, because it may not always be an accurate representation.

Helen’s final advice on staging: Sometimes it can be hard as a homeowner to have a home stager come into your home and tell you the things you should change. As homeowners, it’s important to keep an open mind, because, in the long run, it’s a service that will help them. Everyone benefits from successful staging — the seller benefits from a quick sale at top dollar; the buyer benefits because they’re excited about making the space work for their lifestyle; and the real estate agent benefits from the referral business that could come from the successful transaction.

Guest Links:

Links for Helen Bartlett:


Book: Home Staging — The Power That Sells Real Estate, by Helen Bartlett


Twitter: @refinedinterior

Instagram: @Kansascityhomestager

LinkedIn: Helen Bartlett


Additional Links:

Visit the Center for Realtor Development Online Learning Platform:

Onlinelearning.REALTOR® Coupon Code: Podcast

Find a Live Classroom Designation or Certification Class at

Center for REALTOR® Development

NAR Conference

Host Information:

Monica Neubauer