Home Staging

Alex T. from Pasadena wrote to us asking about the importance of staging a home prior to a sale. In order to answer that question, I decided to seek the expert opinion of Yolanda Flanders, co-owner of NeoV, an interior design firm located in Pasadena specializing in home staging for private individuals and builders.

Katalina: Yolanda, before we delve into the question asked by Alex, can you please explain to us what is meant when people say that they are staging their home or their office for a sale?

Yolanda: Staging a home means that the home owner or realtor calls in a designer who works with the existing space and usually the existing furniture and repositions things in order to maximize openness and space and will then add accents that help accentuate the feeling of comfort and inspire the buyer to feel engrossed in the space.  For me staging is all about creating a dream and an inspiration. The simple way to describe staging is “merchandising a home, space or office”.

Katalina: So, going back to Alex’s question: “why is staging important”?

Yolanda:  It is important because staging raises the perceived value of the home. By giving the home a fresh look, clearing out all the knickknacks that are too personal and not useful to the target market, removing furniture that looks to be below the value of the home, bringing in certain quality pieces that enhance what is already there, mixing in textures that are comfortable and warm, the designer makes the home look more luxurious than the price it is selling for- therefore increasing the perceived value.

Katalina: So when you take on a staging project, is it important for you to know the target market?

Yolanda: Absolutely. That is where I work closely with the real estate agent who has already taken on the listing and put a listing price on the home. It is important to me to understand the neighborhood, the demographics and get a general profile of the target buyer.

Katalina: What are all the elements you consider before you begin to stage a home?

Yolanda:   The size of the home is important, the architecture, the neighborhood and the listing price are all considerations. For example, a five bedroom home will be staged more deliberately for a family with children. An older home with many rooms and a closed floor plan will need to be staged in a way that creates space, therefore staying away from large pieces of furniture and too many accessories. I always follow the style and architecture of the home and make it more current. Colors are also important in staging. I always go for the softer and neutral colors that are not offensive to the general public and throw in accents of color and texture that are warm yet contemporary. When staging a home, I have a buyer in mind, not the seller. The idea is to capture the buyer’s fantasy and them comfortable and happy to be there. The more the buyer engages in his/her surroundings by touching the wood, the textures, the more they will feel connected to the home.

Katalina: Who pays for the staging?

Yolanda: It’s really a negotiation between the home owner, the designer and the real estate agent.  The more expensive the home, the more a realtor is motivated to participate in the staging costs, but usually the home owner pays for the services.

Katalina: Is there a contract drawn between all the parties? Are the fees paid all at once?

Yolanda: Yes, I have a standard contract that I use and all parties have to sign. A portion of the fees are usually paid at the beginning of the job and then the remainder is paid monthly until the home sells. A lot depends on whether the designer has had to rent furniture and accessories.

Katalina: I would think that some home owners would not want to spend the money to stage. Do you have any statistics on how likely and fast a staged home sells versus one that is not staged as well as any figures on whether a staged home is likely to bring more money than a non staged home?


Katalina:  Is there ever an instance when home staging is something a homeowner should not hold back on on?

Yolanda: Yes, here is something to think about. Let’s take the example of someone who is selling an older home in a neighborhood where there are new developments nearby. The older home is now in competition with the newer homes for possibly the same target buyers. The newer homes in the development have model homes that are staged exquisitely. This is an example of when staging your home like a model home becomes quite necessary. The designer will want to show the buyer that the older home can have the same comforts as the new home, with added benefits for ex: a larger lot. The goal is for the buyer to not walk away believing that they if they were to buy the older home, they would be giving up comfort.

Katalina: Can an experienced real estate agent stage the home, avoiding additional fees?

Yolanda: Definitely, a real estate agent can help clear the home of too many personal items and recommend neutral colors; however a real estate agent is not a designer, in the same way that I for example am not a real estate agent. Many times a realtor will notice that something is a distraction and not right, but they may not know how to remedy it.  A designer becomes a member of the sales team and adds value to the process. A good designer is familiar with the trends of interior home furnishings and interior/exterior space planning. For example pergolas and outdoor use of space is an important emerging trend, because the homes now tend to be smaller. I remember in one project I worked on, I removed the doors of a closet that was located near the kitchen and turned it into a small shallow office workspace with a desk and bookshelf because the home did not have room for a home office, which is now also an emerging trend with more people working from home. The trend of bonus rooms which were in vogue years ago has died off because of how expensive homes are in our area. A nice size bonus room means that one is paying a premium for dead space. Bonus rooms are now being staged or converted into in home offices.  In other words, an experienced home stager knows the market trends and makes sure to bring them into play when staging a home.

For more information on home staging you can reach Yolanda directly at…………………

I look forward to answering your next question at www.realestate-consult.com/ask-experts/


Katalina Klein.