Design & real estate: Stage it. Sell it.

By Nahid Holmes

The need for staging homes is in high demand. In today's economy, selling a house can be a challenge. There are so many homes on the market, so it is crucial to set yours apart. Staging your home is the best way to draw buyers in and decrease the time it takes to sell. As a designer, I have seen what a difference staging makes for people both selling and buying homes. In the last 15 years, I have not staged a home that my agent could not sell quickly and for a high profit. When your staging is successful, you will leave a lasting impression on the home buyers and give them the feeling they have walked into their future home.

In my experience, I have learned many secrets to staging a home well. I try to approach staging in a different way. My aim as a designer is to entice the buyer's emotions. The average home buyer will decide within the first eight to ten seconds whether they can see themselves in the home or not. I want the prospective buyers to walk in and immediately fall in love. I want them to look at the dining room and see themselves having Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family. I want the bedroom to evoke romance. I want to turn an ordinary guest room into something extraordinary. I want the family room to say, "Come in. Put your feet up. You're home!" I am not just trying to sell a house, but a lifestyle. With staging I try to create future memories and leave the buyer with a lasting impression. I have often asked clients what made them buy their home. And I get the same response most of the time. "It's not what I saw, it's what I felt." So make them feel at home!

Home staging shifts the focus from you to the future owner. It should be interesting to a buyer, and allow them to envision themselves living there. The goal is to meet buyers needs before they even know it. When staging, pay attention to the details. For example, organize your closets: group similar colored clothes together, remove excess shoes, add baskets to keep small things tidy. Prepare the party areas: throw some colorful, outdoor dishes on the back patio table, put some martini glasses downstairs on the bar, place a bottle of champagne next to the master bathtub. Make your home fun. Bring in some additional life: put fresh fruit and flowers on the kitchen counters.

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