Staging – for lack of a better definition, is preparing your home for sale. Home stagers have gained incredible popularity in the past few years due in part to the popular HGTV series Designed to Sell.  Staging neutralizes, freshens, and gives your home that “I love this place” feel buyers expect.  In my experience, it is absouletly essential to being competitive and it sells your home at a higher price in a shorter amount of time. Staging also helps your home compete with the flashy developer models buyers are considering.

The market is competitive and buyers are picky and my investment of time and money is best spent on a home that has been staged.

I stage ALL of my listings.  

Who pays for staging? 

That depends on your Realtor.  I pay for the initial consultation.  This is usually $100- $150.  I request the stager send an email enumerating the suggestions he/she makes to my client and to me.  I also request an estimate of costs to implement the changes.  My seller and I then discuss the list and go forward accordingly.  The seller usually pays for the changes.

How detailed or involved is home staging? 

Again this depends on the condition, price point, home owner furnishings and art available to the stager and over all cleanliness. Stagers generally will use clean, timeless furniture, art work and accessories the homeowner already has.  Purchased items usually included towels, linens and paint.

Here are the ten secrets of selling from Marelene Wharmby, a successful home stager.

Freshen up the home by painting walls a light, neutral color, such as antique white. Lighter colors appeal to a wider range of buyers and make each room look larger.

Take a close look at the floor coverings in each room. If you have hardwood floors under the carpet, you will always make money by removing it, even if the floor is not in perfect condition.

Allow as much light as possible to enter the room. Open up or remove all draperies, blinds, shades or other window coverings.

Removing the clutterof everyday life – all utilitarian items, stacks of papers, toiletries, kitchen utensils, electronic equipment and television sets.

Remove furniture from each room that does not go with the decor, such as items that stand out too much and items that are worn or of an unappealing color.

Place the remaining room furnishings in a way that makes best use of the character of the space. A room should be balanced so that people do not focus on one particular piece of furniture.

Now that you’ve removed the clutter from your home, adding some nice but inexpensive accessories will greatly elevate the perceived value of the home.

Clean, clean, clean. Every crevasse within the home should be spotless and gleaming. Even your normal weekly cleaning can not come close to the quality of clean you need.

You can’t over spend on fresh plants and orchids, elaborate floral arrangements and landscape plants. All these provide a strong addition to the ambience you want to create.

Go on vacation! The houses that sell for much higher prices are homes that do not have the slightly disheveled look which comes with showering in the morning and cooking dinner in the evening. Being gone also will lower your level of stress and make the house easier to sell. Think of it this way: Your vacation will actually make you money.

To find an accredited home stager, ask your Realtor for a recommendation or check out the Accredited Home Stager Website. It is well worth the investment! 

My favorite fun thing in Chicago for today is:

The shops of Oak Street (1000 North & Michigan Avenue).  Rodeo Drive has little on us!  Whether a spending spree or just window shopping, enjoy this premiere shopping district then pop in to The Drake Hotel  (140 East Walton) for afternoon tea in the Palm Court.  (Reservations are recommended.)  A perfect afternoon!