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Setting The Stage To Sell Your Home

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Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a house or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to seattle@curbed.com. Today, home staging expert Maren Harrington of BackDrop Setting explains the importance of home staging when it comes to selling your house or condo.

Curbed Seattle: For a first-time home-seller, can you explain the value of home staging?

Maren Harrington: We want the home to tell a story to buyers, to show the potential to live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle in that house. Buyers first encounter the staging online when they look at the listing photos for a house. Good staging should give the rooms a sense of scale and purpose, as well as highlighting the features of the house and minimizing any less desirable aspects. The photos are used to draw potential buyers to the house and then once in the house, a buyer can experience an emotional connection with the space. Bring in details such as a bottle of wine and 4 glasses set up on the dining table or a spa candle in the master bathroom, leads the buyer to visualize themselves living in that space.

CS: What are the most important aspects of home staging, i.e. the details that make the biggest difference?

MH: One, Light and Bright sells. Good lighting and cleanliness are basic, but they make a big difference. This includes fresh paint, clean carpets, and bright lightbulbs in all spaces. Two, scale and style of furniture that are appropriate for the space. Three, placement of furniture to create a good flow through rooms with open pathways to doors and around rooms.

CS: Are there kind of staging that don't add value or might detract from value?

MH: The staging should be appropriate for the home. For example, large cosy, overstuffed sofas perfect for a mountain lodge, wouldn't be helpful to selling an urban condo. Also, you want the look to be current and fresh, dates items such as old lamp shades or faded towels and sheets can detract from the value.

CS: What is the biggest mistake you see in generic real estate listing photos?

MH: Darkness- good photos make room light and bright so you can really see the room. Real estate photography is tricky with the bright windows and darker rooms, it's challenging to get them both exposed correctly which is why it's really important to have a good professional photographer with the right equipment and experience.

CS: Why does it make sense to hire a company for staging rather than trying yourself?

MH: The way that we live in a home tends to be very different than marketing it as a product to potential buyers. It's great to bring in a professional stager that is familiar with the current trends/ styles, and has experience setting up a room in a way that will be good for the photos. Also, a professional stager has the added benefit of not being familiar with the home and sees it as a buyer would, with fresh eyes.

Thanks again to Maren, who added that the house featured in the above images sat vacant for months. When her team staged it, it received an offer that weekend and is now pending sale.
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