Thinking of selling your home? Read this first.

The cost of staging before going on the market is usually far less than the first price reduction!

Liz Pensiero

#BTS of Home Staging

HGTV, “Fixer Upper”, “Flea Market Flip” and “Property Brothers” are now household brands and have been the catalyst for the home design frenzy. As a result of this trend, the home staging industry is a current must for those considering putting their home on the market. It has become a vital piece of the selling puzzle and is a tool that cannot be overlooked, especially in our current housing/real estate market.

What is home staging? First and foremost, home staging is not interior design. Stagers will not spend 6 months choosing upholstery fabric or finding the perfect dining room chairs.  They will not ask the homeowner to assist in choosing paint colors for the family room or their favorite light fixture for over the kitchen island. A home stager’s sole purpose is to neutralize the home from personal taste. When a homeowner makes the decision to put their home on the market, it becomes a retail product and therefore must be able to compete with other properties listed while reaching a wide market of potential buyers

So, what is home staging? Home staging for the real estate market is the act of reimagining and redefining spaces that will appeal to the mass market. By utilizing neutral and mid-range paint colors; decluttering personal belongings, arranging current furnishings and adding contemporary finishes; a home can be transformed from cluttered and taste specific to a welcoming and useful space.  

It is important to remember that we live in our homes very differently than we sell them. Every one of us has “that stuff” that defines our home. Whether it be backpacks, sports equipment, toys, pet bowls, winter gear, grandma’s china or dad’s book collections; it all needs to disappear once the photographer arrives! Home staging helps with decluttering, editing and organizing; all designed to help the homeowner with the separation process. Buyers are only interested in the space and not your vintage art collection or family photos.  Therefore, it is imperative to thoroughly remove anything that may identify who lives in the home such as religious items, diplomas, financial information, children’s names and family photos.

2 types of Home Staging:

Occupied Staging

Occupied Staging is preparing the home for market while the family is still living in the house. By utilizing the homeowner’s belongings and blending with a carefully chosen inventory consisting of up to date items such as pillows, throws, artwork & bedding; a curated and sophisticated look can be achieved.  Homeowners will begin to declutter, donate, discard or put into storage any items that will not be needed in staging the home. Utilizing a stager for an occupied project allows the homeowner to update their space without committing to buying new pieces for a house they are preparing to leave. Most stagers will offer a rental service of these items.

Vacant staging:

Vacant staging is a full staging of an empty house. Whether the current owner has already completed their move or it is a new construction, a vacant staging project requires a full inventory of furniture for all designated rooms. This gives the stager full design authority over the space. They are not designing the space for the homeowner but for the buyer. Decisions will be made with regards to who will be looking at the home and how they will best envision their lifestyle in the space. 

Why stage?

Remember the age old saying . . . you only have one chance to make a first impression. Many homeowners make the mistake of going on the market first; only to realize that low foot traffic and no offers means their online presence and marketing efforts are not effective.  The listing becomes stale and showings become scarce. Today’s worldwide real estate market is driven by an online presence and fueled by social media platforms. Realtors base their marketing strategies heavily on the internet and buyers will potentially see your home for the first time online.  For this reason, staging and photo styling are imperative to making a strong online connection. A stager will make sure the furniture is placed properly, avoiding any obstructions in front of windows or walkways. A stager will ensure that color schemes complement each other; that miscellaneous items aren’t exposed in the photos and beds are made perfectly. A stager will make sure the room doesn’t photograph too over stuffed or sparse. Lamp wires disappear, bathroom items are put away and toys will look strategically placed. A stager will turn the “original” kitchen and baths into a “sought-after-vintage” space that the buyer just must have!

The cost of staging before going on the market is usually far less than the first price reduction! Invest in a stager and home renovations prior to listing so the house shows at its best from the start.  In 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors; 85% of staged homes sold for up to 25% more than un-staged homes and nearly 50% of all agents reported that staging a home increased the dollar value offered.  I just had a client receive an offer of their staged property at nearly $40K over asking and it was the first offer!  I have had clients receive multiple offers within the first 12 hours of listing; garnering over-asking. These were homes that would never have demanded a second showing, let alone multiple offers.  

Bottom line; invest in a home stager and do the necessary work before hitting the market.  The real estate industry has changed and we must ebb and flow with it. Gone are the days that homes sell “as is”. Turn-key properties that are well maintained and provide a “lifestyle” upon entry are in demand. Any buyer that has to struggle to feel comfortable in the home will move on to the next.  And there goes your chance to make another impression! 



Liz Pensiero Staging and Design has been in business since 2014 and specializes in occupied and vacant home staging within the Lower Fairfield County markets.