“Staging Your Home to Sell” by Julie Dana and Marcia Layton Turner is a “must read” new book for home sellers and their real estate agents. Especially useful in the current buyer’s market, it reveals details how to increase a homes net sales price and shorten its time on the market for sale by “staging.”
This “how-to” book explains the concept of staging, which is unknown to most home sellers (and even some real estate agents). The basic idea of staging is to make a house or condominium listed for sale into a model home. Prospective buyers can then see, rather than just imagine, how attractive a home can be.
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According to the authors, the cost of typical home staging should be 1 percent to 3 percent of the home’s market value. They are not talking about major renovation. Instead, they recommend “decluttering” homes to make them appear as attractive as possible without spending major amounts of money.
This new book provides a room-by-room look at the most profitable staging for each of the major rooms in a typical home. Heavy emphasis is placed on the entry foyer, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. Curb appeal also receives special attention because many prospective home buyers won’t even inspect a house that isn’t attractive from the exterior.
The dozens of before-and-after photos show the results of tasteful home staging. Although few homeowners actually live in a “picture-perfect” staged home where everything is in its place and there is no junk, the book’s goal is to show how a staged home will appeal to a wide group of buyers.
Home staging, in addition to cleaning and repairing, often involves purchasing or renting furniture to make the rooms appear brighter and larger than the way the seller actually uses the home. Because most home buyers have little or no imagination with how nice a home can look, home stagers solve that problem by showing buyers the residence at its best.
Dana and Turner report the most profitable home-staging steps include lightening and brightening rooms, cleaning and de-cluttering, fixing plumbing and electrical, landscaping, and kitchen or bathroom upgrades. Although many home sellers do the work themselves, the authors emphasize that home staging costs money, but it is very profitable when done right.
But a glaring fault of the book is it presumes the home seller wants to do the home-staging work without hiring a professional home stager. Although the book mentions these professional home-makeover specialists, it completely fails to explain how home sellers and their realty agents can locate and hire successful home stagers.
Ironically, co-author Julia Dana is an accredited home-staging professional, but she fails to explain what to look for and avoid when hiring a home stager.
Chapter topics include “What is Staging?” “Setting Budgets and Priorities”; “To Declutter is Divine”; “Curb Appeal”; “Entrances and Exits”; “Living and Family Rooms”; “The Dining Room”; “The Kitchen”; “The Bedrooms”; “The Bathrooms”; “The Closets”; “The Home Office”; “The Basement, Garage, and Attic”; and “Staging the Exceptional Home.”
In today’s very competitive home-sale market where buyers are kings and queens, home staging often determines which homes sell first and for top dollar. This guidebook counsels home sellers and realty agents about the importance of showing off homes at their most attractive potentials. On my scale of one to 10, this new book rates a solid 10.
“Staging Your Home to Sell,” by Julie Dana and Marcia Layton Turner (Alpha-Penguin Group, New York), 2007, $18.95, 251 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.Amazon.com.
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