Ready for your close-up? You want your home to show like a model, and you want buyer's agents to enjoy showing your home to prospective buyers.  As they say, "You only have one chance to make a first impression.” So what should you do, what’s the first step? Learn how to make more money and sell your home faster, by staging your home.

We all know the basics, get rid of clutter, clean your house so it shines from top to bottom, be sure you have good lighting, repaint or refresh if needed using neutral tones, and replace worn fixtures. We get that, we know appearance is everything when selling a home. But do we go far enough, do we as sellers do enough to sell our home quickly and for the price we want?  Research proves we don’t!  Truth is, we can’t, it’s impossible!

Photo by Carlyn Bullock - Bayshore Bolevard, Tampa

In a 2015 study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 2,300 real estate agents across the country were polled on the benefits of staging a home for sale, who pays for the staging and why they recommend staging to their clients. In this article we share those results and information on staging from local Luxury Real Estate Concierge, Lynn Richey, a Sotheby’s International agent and President of Richey Homes, and local Interior Design and Staging expert Stephanie Cutlip, from Beyond The Door, as we learn more about the value of allowing a professional to stage your home for sale.

Stephanie recently staged two homes, one listed on Tuesday and had a contract on it by Sunday, both sold in less than 6 days, at full ask.  One home in Clearwater sold for $389,000, the other, in South Tampa, sold for $335.000.  2015 estimates put realtors who utilize a staging company at 34%;  as realtors like Lynn continue to use their services as a 'tool' for selling a home, that number is sure to grow.

Staging Your Home Creates Focus

Beyond making clutter disappear, Stephanie adds the importance of removing personal items, family photos, religious items and more.  She often rearranges furniture, repostioning couches and chairs creating cozy conversational groupings, and improving traffic flow as she begins to tell a story with your home.  She may find that overstuffed armchair you bought for your living room and move it to another part of your home to anchor a sitting area, grab a small table she sees in the hall and prop it in front of a window, topping it with a buffet lamp and accessories, turning it into a library table.

She will redesign places in your home that catch junk into areas that add value. She often creates relaxing bedroom settings with luxurious linens and soft colors, inviting home buyers to envision themselves living in the space.  As Lynn put it, "Stephanie creates desire among buyers. She makes it easy for them to see themselves living in the home. She pays attention to the small details homeowners no longer see, things prospective buyers immediately notice." said Richey.

Make More Money and Sell Faster Staging Your Home

After studying the results from 3500 professionally staged homes, 50% or more of them sold for 10% more than unstaged homes in the same neighborhood.

In a recent Real Estate Staging Association survey, professionally staged homes spent a whopping 72% less time on the market than non-staged homes.

According to NAR, last year 95% of all buyers looked at homes ONLINE before calling an agent to arrange a visit.  Following proper professional staging of your home your photos will perform as they should, capturing the imagination and interest of prospective buyers who will want to see more.

81% of buyers who shopped staged and non-staged homes said it was much easier to visualize themselves living in the staged home versus the non-staged homes they visited.

According to NAR polls, approximately one-third of all home buyers miss or overlook a homes flaws when the home is staged by a professional.  Stephanie shared ways she minimized a bad view by adding heavy draperies to a window, drawing attention away from the window with 'interest grabbing objects' she then added to the room. 

You can spend hours online reading "Tip & Tricks" for staging your home, shop, spend, repaint, clear the clutter and do everything you discovered on a DIY site to stage your own home.  Fact is, it is impossible for you to look at your home the way a stranger would.  You need a fresh set of eyes.  Someone who comes into your home and sees the possibilities.  Someone who DOES NOT know the story behind every object and who will confidently tell you what needs to go.

The Nar study showed, when sellers spend an average of 1% of the value of their home on professional staging, they realized on avarage a 1000% return on their investment! Bringing to mind the old addage: "You gotta spend money, to make money!"

Stephanie points out, "Staging is different than living."  Your personal items will be stored away, your furnishings moved about, things will be foreign, and slightly unfamiliar but that's OK. You can sit back and relax knowing you hired the right team to sell your home, and did everything you can to ensure a quick sale without leaving any money on the table. 

The agents at Richey Homes important part of competing is professional staging, it aides with online presentation, drives buyer traffic to homes through buyer's agents who enjoy showing the property and results in qualified offers. According to a 2014 study of realtors on Zillow, 'Staging 'was the Number 2, TOP necessity for quickly selling a home for top dollar. 

The competition is stiff, and buyers these day expect a lot! If your realtor suggests staging your home, it is something you should do! Whether it's minor tweak, or major changes, the time and money spent is recovered, and then some.  Stephanie put it this way, "Why drop the price of your home $15,000 or more to sell it when you can spend a few thousand staging it and sell for full ask?  Staging your home is sound financial advice.

If you or a friend is looking to buy or sell a luxury property on the West Coast of Florida, follow this link to Richey Homes to make more money and sell faster.

To read more about Lynn Richey and Richey Homes check out her website and read: 

Tampa Real Estate | Choosing a Premier Luxury Concierge Service

Spotlight on Luxury Condominium Living | Tampa's Bayshore and The Islands