Anatomy of Staging a Home for Sale

Staging a Home for Sale May be More Involved Than You Think!

staged living roomBecause we are professional home stagers who are always meeting homeowners and real estate agents, we are often asked many questions about staging a home for sale, such as:
  • "How do you decide how to style the house?"
  • "How do you decide which colors to use?"
  • "Where do you get the inventory?"
However, the most common question we're asked is, "What really goes into staging a home for sale?" So, we thought we'd share the process of a typical home staging with you because it covers these questions and a little more.

1. Consultation

When we are first called to meet a potential client we schedule an appointment. Then meet with them to understand their needs and explain what home staging is and how we work as home stagers. We then tour the home and take measurements and photos. We also look for repair issues that might deter a sale.The consultation generally takes about an hour.

2. Writing the proposal

When we write a proposal, the first step is to go over the photos we took at the home. We then discuss what furniture will be needed (if any), and we estimate the price of that furniture. We then estimate the time it will take us to research the buyer demographic for the area, pick the exact furniture pieces, plan which décor items to bring and then pack and load these items.Writing the proposal generally takes about hour.

3. Research of the Buyer Demographic

When the proposal has been accepted, we begin researching the buyer demographic. We thoroughly believe in staging a home to appeal to the most likely buyer for your home. We research census data and other sites to find out the demographics of the people who live in the town. We look for answers to the following:
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Median income
  • Number of children
  • Ages of children
  • Commute time
  • Do they work from home
  • School ratings
We analyze our research data and apply it to the particular home we are staging. This not only helps us determine the style of the buyer, but it helps us answer questions about whether to stage a bedroom like a home office or a guest bedroom or child's bedroom.This research takes an hour or more.

hands resting on a laptop computer4. Writing a Home Preparation Plan

There is much more to staging a home for sale than making it pretty. We look through the photos we took at the house and write a Home Preparation Plan for the homeowner that lists all the things we want removed, decluttered, repaired and updated before we come to stage the home. This comprehensive report also includes links to recommended purchases and a list of trusted vendors that can help them get the tasks completed.This report takes about 3 hours to write.

5. Formulating a Design Plan

Once we have determined who the most likely buyer is for your home, we discuss what style will most likely make them feel comfortable. We strive to show them a home that they will feel is a "step up" from the lifestyle they currently have – even if they may be downsizing.When staging a home for sale, it is critical to determine the most optimum furniture layout for each room, taking into consideration what the focal point of the room should be, the architecture, and traffic flow of each space. From this determination, coupled with the conclusion of the buyer demographic, we choose the furniture in the appropriate style and scale for the home. If there are colors in the home that can be highlighted, we will build our design scheme around those colors. In the first photo above, the room is neutral, but the front door is a beautiful Paprika color. So, we brought that color into the living room, and used it in smaller doses throughout the home, to unify the space.A large part of formulating our design plan is to choose items from our inventory, or shopping for items that we want for the home but do not have. We have a large warehouse of décor items, and an inventory system that lets us know exactly what is in stock. From our computers we will choose the décor items to incorporate into our home staging design plan. We go through photos of every room along with our furniture list to determine which accent pillows, décor items, faux plants, lamps, artwork, etc. should be brought into each room and where they should be placed. We consider every surface in the home to determine placement of décor. We ask questions like:
  • What is the lighting situation in the room?
  • Is there a fireplace with a mantle?
  • What is the height between the mantle and the ceiling?
  • What is the width between the windows, and do we need to place art or furniture there?
  • What should go on the coffee table – are there side tables? If so, what is their purpose? Do they need lamps?
  • How many towel bars are in the bathrooms?
Once all these questions, and many more, are answered, we chose the inventory that best fits our design plan.before and after stagingOur goal when staging a home for sale is to highlight the architectural details that make your home special. When coming up with our home staging design plan, we look at the home with neutral eyes and are able to determine what features to highlight and what things to draw attention away from. You can read more on the subject in our blog Home Staging vs. Interior Design. What's the Difference? for more information on the subject.The design and selection process takes about 4 hours.This is a photo from our warehouse in Acton, MA.

6. Packing it up

Once décor is chosen, we drive to our warehouse in Acton, Massachusetts and pull it from our shelves and pack it up. We pack items by room, and the bins are labeled accordingly. This makes the staging day more efficient. Then we carefully load it in our van.This usually takes about 3 hours.

7. Home Staging Day

Once we arrive to the home we are staging, we unload our van and place our bins of décor in the appropriate room we get right down to business. In the case of a vacant home, we need to wait for the rental company's truck to arrive. Once the truck is at the home, we direct the workmen where to place the furniture. We then get to work arranging decorative pillows and décor, making beds, and hanging artwork. Setting up the home usually goes fairly quickly once the furniture is in place – about 6 hours – because we are so prepared. However, we spend lots of time placing everything so it feels "just right". In many instances, we will place things in a few different locations or arrangements to be sure we are maximizing the space. It is our thoroughness and attention to detail that makes our company special. We realize that just because we planned something doesn't mean that our plan can't be adjusted once we get to the home. We are constantly "tweaking" the design to make it perfect. We frequently get comments from our clients and their real estate agents expressing that they didn't think it would be done so quickly. Staging a home for sale seems to be a relatively quick process, but in actuality, there were many hours behind the scenes that the homeowner and agent don't see.Staging usually takes between 4-8 hours, depending on the size of the home.

8. Destaging

Destaging your home after you've found a buyer is a relatively quick process. It can usually be done in about 2 hours. If we have to wait for furniture to be picked up, of course it can take longer. Once everything is packed up, we drive it back to our warehouse where we check every item back in to our inventory, steam clean all soft goods and put away all decor items. This takes about another 2 hours.Destaging, in total, takes about 4 hours.

In Conclusion

So you see, staging a home for sale is not as quick a process as you may think. We meet with our clients and tour the home, write a well thought out proposal, plan the design, select furniture and décor, and then stage the home. When the time comes, we destage the home, pack up the décor, and clean it and put it back into our warehouse. We put in about 25 hours on average into each home we stage – and that's with a minimum of 2 people – working on most facets of each project. So, in total, about 50 man-hours have gone in to staging your home (not including driving time). Phew! It's a good thing we love what we do, and get a thrill out of helping our clients sell quickly and for top dollar! Home staging is much more than a business to us. Home staging is our passion!Download our FREE guide "10 Most Important Questions to Ask a Home Staging Company" for more information about what to look for in a home staging company. Click to Download Call us at 781-489-8489 for a FREE in-home consultation to learn how we can help you sell your home faster and for more money!SaveSave