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Seal the Deal: Secrets of Home Staging

In 2017, Ada Pizon got her real estate license. To gain actual experience in selling homes, she started by selling her own home. “Until you do it yourself, you don’t realize how hard it is,” she says.
Like all homeowners, she loved her house and wanted to get top dollar in the sale. Another local agent gave her a pivotal piece of advice: Get the home staged. Not sure of the meaning, Pizon turned to Google for help. “I found some articles talking about staging and even videos teaching homeowners how to stage their home for sale. I was very excited,” she says. “I thought, ‘now I get why when I go to open houses, some homes always look so pretty...they’re professionally staged.’”
Pizon followed the tips, staged her home, and took great pictures. After three days on the market, she received multiple offers. The house sold for 10% over asking price. The next year, Pizon started her own business: Home Edition Staging.

“Staging is a proven method of arranging furnishings to produce positive impressions for buyers. The sale begins where the eye rests,” she says. A person’s first impression of a home for sale is within three seconds of seeing it, according to Nastassja Bowman, marketing manager and design consultant at Urban 57 ( “Right now, initial viewings are primarily online—people make the decision to see a home in person after that first impression. By creating a positive first impression with home staging you increase interest in the home dramatically.”


Potential homebuyers want to be able to envision themselves living in the home. “When they see the space in person and can imagine themselves sitting on the couch watching TV, enjoying dinner at the dining room table, and sitting by the fire pit outside, they can make a more confident and concise decision about putting in an offer,” Bowman says. “Home staging can cut a home’s time on the market in half and increase the buyer’s offer on it.”

Danielle Miller, owner of Studio D Staging & Redesign (, says staging helps a home stand out among other listings in a competitive market. The process of home staging starts with a professional stager coming to the home and assessing what changes need to be made, discussing the homeowner’s time frame, giving options in staging packages, and then arranging for the transformation to be implemented before professional photos are taken. Miller suggests homeowners inquire about staging services and getting quotes about two weeks before the listing goes on the market.


Costs of staging depend on the amount of work performed by a stager. “It can include simply advising sellers on what changes should be made to the home; bringing in furniture, art, and accessories to enhance the home’s appearance; or providing an entire vacant home with furniture, artwork, and accessories,” Miller says. “In considering the cost of staging, since staged homes typically produce a higher return on investment, staging will pay for itself. There is a saying, ‘the cost of staging is typically less than your first price reduction.’”

Cheri Eggleston, owner of Eggleston Designs (, shops locally to build her home staging inventory. “Since home staging is temporary, the use of expensive art is not typically needed unless a home warrants it,” she says. “Most of the art I procure is from local home décor shops. I do purchase pieces online, as well, when needed. As stagers, we make the home look expensive and elevated with our extensive inventories.”


Eggleston believes “less is more” with home staging. “We are third-party experts, because the realtor may not want to be the one to telling clients that their home doesn’t look great. Professionals are specifically trained to edify the homeowner’s furnishings and décor and help them ‘release their things’ to better market their home.”

If you’re planning to sell your home, Eggleston shares a few tips for homeowners. “Declutter; remove personal photos, religious, or political items; neutralize strong colors with paint; make any obvious repairs; and get it professionally cleaned, as this shows the home has been well-cared for,” she says. “One of my easiest suggestions is to add a new doormat and place fresh bark in key areas outside. [The latter] evokes newness, smells great, and gives a great first impression and curb appeal!”


As for things not to do when preparing to sell your home? “Don’t think that someone will love your grandma’s collection of teacups on the hutch or that the mural of a jungle scene will have people wanting to immediately move in. Another no-no? Burning a potpourri candle during tours. Strong scents are [never a good idea], since a potential buyer walking through the door may associate that scent with something bad,” Eggleston says. “Remember, less is more, clean is crucial, and emotional appeal is paramount when selling!”


by Kourtney Jason

Photos by Primelens Media, courtesy of Studio D Staging & Redesign.