Austin home selling: staging your home is a key part of the home selling process regardless of whether your part of the Austin real estate market is faring well or poorly. A February 2009 study from the Real Estate Staging Association claimed that vacant homes sold in 85% less time when staged.

This number seems quite alarming, and I don’t have insight into their methodology or how they chose homes to base their statistics on. Suffice it to say that I’m a firm believer in staging.

There’s more to staging than decluttering and moving furniture around. It takes a keen sense of design to adapt a room to a target buyer. It can involve removing furniture, renting furniture and changing key elements of decor. A good staging will result in much better photos, and hence more buyer interest.

I performed a brief interview with Knisely Gee – the interior designers I use for home staging to get their take:

Staged Home Austin1. When do you advise renting furniture to stage a vacant home?

We feel a vacant home should always be at least partially furnished before the first potential buyer walks through the front door. A lot of sellers wait until a property has been on the market for an extended period of time before considering staging and by that time the opportunity to make the best first impression on potential buyers is long gone.

2. What are the key areas /rooms to stage when selling a vacant home?

The entry and living/family room are key areas to stage when selling a vacant home. The entry is key because homeowners need to create a beautiful and inviting introduction to the home. Make a buyer want to see more!

Living/family areas should be staged because this is the room where people spend most of their time and you want buyers to be attracted to this space. These are generally large areas where a seller can make the biggest and best impression.

The dining area is a third space to consider when staging a vacant home. A beautifully set table will have buyers visualizing family meals or entertaining in their new home. Any areas that are ambiguous should always be staged. Don™t force a buyer to guess at the purpose of a room or area.

Bedrooms are rarely staged unless there is a question about bed size. Will a queen fit? Always have the front exterior of a home looking it™s best because none of the staging inside will matter if buyers are turned off before they even enter a home.

Austin Contemporary Staging3. When you stage an occupied home, which rooms are the most important?

When staging an occupied home all areas need to be considered because every room will be furnished with the current owners personal items and often times over furnished.

Make sure the furniture in all the rooms is in the correct location creating a pleasing design and spacious feeling. You want buyers to visualize themselves in a home not the current occupants.

4. Are there any special staging tips for occupant home-sellers who have pets?

Ideally, pets should not be seen or smelled in a house that is for sale.   Place pets in a kennel or arrange for a friend or family member to keep them for as long as you can be apart from them. Of course, if you are having an open house or a showing, by all means have pets off the premises for those times.

Staged Austin kitchen5. Do you have a staging success stories you’d like to share?

Our most successful staging project involved a contemporary condo in central Austin. A young couple purchased the property and were so impressed with the staging that they hired us to stage their current home that they were putting on the market. After that property sold we were hired to arrange all of their furniture and extensive art collection in the new condo.

Knisely Gee can be contacted through their website or at 512-453-2456 if you would like to find more about their interior design services.

An Austin Realtor is an Austin EcoBroker ®, and provides a free third party staging consultation to qualifying sellers. Get in touch for a FREE consultation on the value of your Austin home.

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Karen Highland · May 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

Garreth, these are very good questions to ask about staging. Austin Home sellers will glean some very useful information from these tips.

Brandon · May 22, 2009 at 10:11 am

This is a great list of staging tips, Garreth. You’ve covered some key points here. We recently expanded our home staging tutorial at the Home Buying Institute, and I thought your readers might enjoy that as well:

Have a good weekend. ~Brandon

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