Staging With Style

Helping Potential Buyers Imagine a Home for Their Own Style of Living is the Goal.

Article by Renee Clark with Michael Beightol

Photography by VHT Studios and Provided

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

"Home staging is the preparation of a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling the property more swiftly and for more money." (Source: Wikipedia)

Renee Clark, a prominent local Realtor — and owner of Renee Clark Homes — has worked with hundreds of families on her way to becoming a top producer for At Properties in Barrington. She understands what buyers are looking for in a home, and importantly, what they don’t want to see.

SW Lake talked to Renee about the right way to stage a home to meet the twin objectives of a timely sale for the right price.

SW Lake (SWL): Let’s start with why stage a home that is for sale?

Renee Clark (RC): The process of staging a home is somewhat counterintuitive, as we "undecorate" a home to make it easier for a buyer to imagine their own furniture and accessories in it. This involves not only choosing neutral colors but knowing where to put pops of color — artwork, plants and accessories — to create a feeling of peace and serenity.

SWL: What's the goal with staging?

RC: First and foremost is to set the stage for the best possible photographs. Especially in this market, where prospective buyers may only get one look at the property in person, photography has become more important than ever.

SWL: Does staging lead to quicker, higher-priced sales?

RC: According to the Home Staging Institute, staged homes sell 73 percent faster than homes that are not staged. More than 65 percent of 900 Realtors surveyed believe that home staging helps sell a house for more money. In fact, most real estate agents believe that home staging increases a property’s selling price as much as 10 percent.

SWL: How does staging work?

RC: I bring the stager to the home to see everything there, and then make recommendations to the seller. Then the staging company comes back for "hands on staging" to make final tweaks with furniture placement, adding artwork and pillows, arranging shelving, and more. By the way, Renee Clark Homes covers all costs for staging which, depending on the home, can be significant.

SWL: Can you share details about any especially challenging stagings you've done over the years?

RC: Staging is something most people don’t understand until they experience it. Recently, we worked with an older couple who initially felt that the staging was inconsistent with their home's stature. We explained that the staging was designed to put their home in the best possible light so that it appealed to younger buyers. As it turned out our extra effort paid off and the sellers were delighted to accept an offer that met their expectations. 

SWL: Thinking about somebody who's not quite ready to sell, does staging still provide value for anybody staying in their home?

RC: If someone is planning to sell within 6-12 months, it may be worthwhile to have a stager come in for a consultation sooner rather than later. That gives sellers the time to "pre-pack" items that are no longer needed on a regular basis. And if someone is considering selling during the winter months, or even in the early spring, we suggest reaching out to us now. We can schedule the outdoor photos while everything is beautiful, and we can take photos with summer/fall foliage showing through the windows instead of the typically stark views of winter.

Learn more about Renee Clark by visiting ReneeClarkHomes.com.

(Captions for page 4)

Row 1

Left: In this bedroom, everything was a bit too haphazard and lived-in.

Right: The lovely bedroom set was kept, repositioned and clutter swept away. Window treatments were changed to flood the space with more natural light.

Row 2

Left: Too many personal touches. Heavy drapery, tablecloth and smallish photos detract from the stately furniture.

Right: Light floods in, and the furniture really shines. A statement art piece and pop of color on the table make the space much more inviting.

Row 3

Left: In this family room there are items stored under the pool table and a general sense of tiredness.

Right: Now the space seems larger with the clutter gone and a "temporary" area rug adding a bit of flair.

Row 4

Left: This entry is chock full of personal objects that detract from the appealing nature of the flooring and staircase.

Right: Now the same entry has a certain "wow" factor enhanced by a big statement mirror.

Staged homes sell 73 percent faster than homes that are not staged. Most Realtors believe that home staging helps sell a house for more money.

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