Setting the Home Stage
Turning an empty house into a purchased home
Photos by Don Risi
A few years ago, Glen Hubbell got a call from a client who was prepping a Belle Isle house to hit the market. The higher-end home needed some attention, and Hubbell, as an experienced and accredited staging professional, knew what he had to do. He walked through the house, developed a plan of action and set to it. Late that afternoon, his work was finished – and by evening, the seller called and said the house was already under contract.
Staging a house means bringing in furniture, artwork and accessories to give an empty space a lived-in look. It also often means the difference between a house that sells quickly and one that sits idle.
“As clichéd as it may sound, people don’t just buy homes anymore, they buy lifestyles,” Hubbell says. “A well-staged home with the right photography will capture buyers’ attention. Staging is a key factor in the equation. I can only speak to my own results, but staged homes sell quicker than empty ones. I can confidently say [that] eight or nine out of 10 vacant homes I have staged sell in fewer than 30 days, and many in just a few days.”
Stagers often act as the buffer between agents and sellers, he said, and staging vacant homes generates interest among online shoppers.
“I mean, what does an empty room with four blank walls look like in pictures, right?” Hubbell asks. “Staging will also help buyers imagine how their own furniture will look and fit in the house. I think in vacant, unstaged homes, buyers start looking for all of the imperfections.”
Using the right amount of furniture and placement is vital, he added. He will also walk through the house and think about where he needs to draw a person’s eye using wall art, or by suggesting certain areas with furniture.
Hubbell has been in the real estate business for about three years, and is an agent/owner at eXp Realty. He took a course in staging and became an accredited staging professional, thinking that it would give him an edge over other Realtors.
“It certainly did not happen that way,” he laughs. “I formed the staging company at the same time I started real estate. The original plan was to offer free staging to my real estate clients; thankfully, it’s taken off in another direction. I did not do much staging during my first year, because I had no idea how to market myself and I was so focused on real estate.
“Staging a home is so incredibly important if you want to sell quickly and get the most value,” he says. “Staging has evolved beyond decluttering, depersonalizing, deep cleaning and deodorizing. Remember, when you put your home up for sale, it’s no longer about you. The biggest part of my job as a stager is to get sellers excited about the process. The prep work is the hardest part, and it’s my job to make sure they see the light at the end of the tunnel.”