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Selling Your Home? Staging Matters!

What is Real Estate Staging: Selling versus Dwelling

Are you selling your home or do you know that someday you may have to sell? Consider this….buyers are looking for their future home and buying a home is a very emotional process, plus it’s probably the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. They don’t want YOUR home…they may want your house…a product. Local Realtors have heard me say this time and time again: “The way that you dwell in a home is not the way to sell a house.”

Over 75% of buyers make decisions based on their emotional connection to a home and what they see in the first 15 seconds upon entering. Regardlessof the listed price or the location, (both are very important for selling) your listed house has to appeal to their desire for their home. It really doesn’t matter how much you love your home or how much people tell you that you have a nice home.

Please reconsider if you think your decorating style will appeal to the majority of potential buyers for your home. Ask yourself honestly: Will the decor of your house increase the value or cause buyers to give you a low-ball offer?

Consider this local listing: It’s a large home, on large acreage with sweeping 180 degree views of the Sierras. Those positive features could not overcome the negative feelings that this was grandma’s house and that nothing had been done to it since grams and gramps moved in, in the early 80s. Grams had spent a lot of money on custom window coverings throughout her home and their son cringed when I suggested removing the valances in this room so that the views became the focal point.

The twin recliners said to potential buyers “welcome to grandma’s house”. Those recliners, plus many other items added no value and in fact detracted from this house. Personally, as a real estate investor who has flipped many homes, I could see that this house had great potential, but the money needed to bring it into this century turned off buyers and out the door they went.

DICI3-2Next, consider this master bathroom in an upscale Oakhurst area neighborhood. If this house were on the market, would the whitewashed oak cabinets, white contractor grade tile, large plate glass mirror and brass increase the value of this house? I can tell you, they will not. The target buyers for this home would probably be in their 40s-50s. These buyers are savvy about décor and design trends and they don’t want a house from the 90s.

Will the outdated features of this one room keep buyers from making an offer, if they LOVE the rest of the house, probably not. However, those buyers will likely reduce their offering price so that they can re-model this room. If you want top dollar you must consider what’s necessary to get that.

Even if you paid top dollar to a professional to help you design and decorate your home, as a stager I would probably suggest some changes are needed. Here’s another local example:


This massive crystal chandelier, no matter how expensive it was, will NOT help sell this house. Telling this to the owner/seller wasn’t easy but it’s what I have to do as a stager and I am trained and experienced in doing it.

Here are a few more before and after examples of dwelling versus selling.


The florals and ruffles in this master bedroom were replaced with more updated linens and complimentary artwork.


In staging a home for sale, knowing just how much furniture, accessories and artwork to add is crucial. The goal is to highlight the features of the house not to feature the furnishings. As with so many homes in our beautiful mountains, the view out of this front window was a selling feature and so nothing was placed in front of that view and furniture was placed on the deck to draw potential buyers outside.

As a decorator I truly believe that you should live with what you love. However, as a stager I know that when it’s time to sell, changes are necessary in almost every house and that holds true for my home too. Staging is a marketing tool that shouldn’t be ignored.

(Ginger will be posting new, valuable information every few weeks, so be sure to check her column in the Home tab under “Living.”)



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One comment

  1. I used Ginger to completely decorate my new home, from paint scheme to furniture to accessories. I’ve received dozens of compliments about her style and taste.

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