Staging the occupied home

The way you live in a home is not the way to sell the house. Every house can benefit from staging before it hits the market. Life happens and things get messy daily.

The assumption is staging is for vacant properties only where a stager rents furniture and accessories creating a lifestyle. Many can’t visualize the potential of an empty house.

An occupied staging is when the homeowners are living in the house while on the market.  Sellers may need minor tweaking before listing while others need an action plan. A consultation with a professional stager will cover this.

The Consultation

During a staging consultation, the stager walks through the house with the homeowner giving instructions verbally or by written report. Who pays for it? 60% of the time the Realtor pays for my staging consultation with an immediate timeline for preparation of the home. The homeowners I work with directly have a longer timeline anywhere from one month to a few years before listing.

Some homeowners with no immediate intention of selling but want their home to look and feel better will bring me in for a fresh eye. My best advice in this situation: refresh and enjoy your home for yourself keeping resale in mind. This will give you a better product to sell.

Occupied Staging

Once instructions are implemented that may involve cleaning, repairs, paint and removal of small and large items from each room, it is time to stage the occupied home.

The stager will use the homeowner’s belongings to stage the house. I get to shop the home with the owner. I’ll ask if they have a bowl/vase/tray or whatever is needed to set the stage. It is a fresh eye for their home.

The stager will rearrange and remove layers. This process brings the attention back to the architecture of the house, not the stuff in it.

Sometimes the stager will bring in decorative accessories to appeal to the target market. The seller can rent the inventory from the stager, which is tax deductible to the seller. The stager can also make suggestions on what the homeowner can buy to stage, which is not tax deductible as it is considered decorating.

What is the best return on investment?

That is the million dollar question along with ‘what color should I paint my house?’ The answer is different for each house. It is best to consult with a professional stager for a customized plan for your house. The best return on investment may not include all the things you think you have to do. Most instructions are affordable and do not involve remodeling unless it is an investment property.

Photo day

After the consult, repairs, deep cleaning and editing, the home stager can set the stage for professional listing photos, now considered the first walk through for potential buyers. A room-by-room action plan is discussed for photo day if the stager does not return.

If you think home staging and professional photography is only for luxury listings, think again. The cost of staging, whether occupied or vacant, is less than the first price reduction at any price point and can get your house sold quickly and sometimes for more money. Seek the advice of a professional.

Featured listing: 46 Edgemere Ave, Greenwood Lake, NY, Dean Diltz, Green Team Home Selling System

Photo Credit: Steve Belner of Photovisions

“It’s such a delight to watch Claudia stage a home. Her vision for what looks best and most inviting is uncanny. The end result is literally a picture perfect home. My client and I were both thrilled with the outcome. I encourage all my clients to stage their home when listing for sale, no matter how big or small the home, as the return on investment is significant.” – DEAN DILTZ, Green Team Home Selling System, Warwick