6 Misperceptions About Home Staging

By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

Staging your home involves creating an environment that house hunters can envision themselves living in and can help to facilitate a speedy sale and for top dollar. Quite simply, if potential buyers don’t feel an emotional connection with your home, they won’t feel like they belong there and they’ll be inclined to look elsewhere.

That said, why would home owners make the selling process more difficult for themselves by choosing NOT to stage their property in order to make the best impression? The following are some misconceptions that sellers have about home staging.

master bedroom

1. It’s too expensive.

Staging is an investment in getting a house sold for top dollar and always less than the first price reduction on a home. According to the Association of Staging Professionals (ASP), 95 percent of staged homes sell in 11 days or less and sell for 17 percent more than homes that are not staged. When compared with the carrying costs of a home that lags on the market (monthly mortgage, utilities, landscaping/snow removal, etc.), the cost of staging is far less.

2. Our home has been professionally decorated.

Decorating and staging are completely different. Although home owners may love the way their house looks and it suits their needs perfectly, it may not appeal to the tastes and style of today’s buyers. An accredited home stager has the experience and objectivity to prepare a home for mass appeal in the current marketplace to engage as many buyers as possible — no matter what their personal style.

family room

3. We don’t need a stager to declutter and clean.

Although these may seem like easy tasks, there is a lot of emotion that goes into depersonalizing a home after so many years of accumulating personal belongings. An accredited stager will provide a detailed action plan to neutralize and remove any items that will distract from the home’s features to get the house sold.

4. We can’t stage the house if we’re living in it.

Staging is absolutely not just for vacant homes. Every home can be staged while it’s occupied and a professional stager will provide home owners with tips for keeping the home in show-ready condition while the home is on the market — and still feel comfortable in their own home.

5. We can wait and then stage later if needed.

There is a lot of truth to the popular phrase “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” If you don’t stage before you list, you will inevitably lose time and money.


6. Staging won’t hide all the problems.

Before beginning the staging process, sellers should address basic repairs such as leaky faucets and broken lights first so buyers won’t have a reason to turn away as soon as they walk into a home. Once this is done, a staging company will handle superficial imperfections such as repainting walls and removing outdated wallpaper to make the home aesthetically inviting and comfortable.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home- staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers. Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.”


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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. Diane Ellen Grant

    Homeowners see their space from a personal perspective. Stagers see it to display the SPACE along with flow, eye appeal and to declutter the space so that the home buyer can see THEMSELVES in the space.

  2. David Bennett

    We have 3 dogs, 2 minis and one 60 pounder. I am retired and my wife is not. I can take the dogs out when potential buyers come or I can move out with the dogs to another house we own in the next state. What is the best strategy with dogs? I also collect orchids, best strategies for plants in a home for sale?

  3. Peri Sue Robyns

    Definitely remove the dogs and any visible dog toys or beds, and clear the yard of waste. Same with cats. Be sure to let your realtor know you live with pets in case a potential owner and/family has allergies. As for the plants…arrange them sparingly in the house. Set an area on the covered porch area or screened porch and make it visually pleasing, but not too much over the top appearancee. You don’t want the home buyer to be overwhelmed by the visual; they will forget to see the house. Staging is to make the house achieve a visual concept of how they and their things fit into the house so it can be their home.

  4. My passion about remodeling and real estate took root after my 1st home purchase, and off course, by watching all those DIY shows. I became an expert in stretching my dollars and coming up with very clever options to make my own home nicer and upgraded….I just started offering my selling clients my extended expertise and $1,000 of my own money in home staging…I must say, staging is a must. Without staging my clients homes would look just like any other home…

  5. Gretchen Alice Olsen

    Patti Stern,

    You’ve addressed the common misconceptions perfectly. Even for those on the smallest budget, visually pleasing aesthetics draw people in. Pleasing yet neutral colors with accent lighting and creating spaces that are balanced, I’ve found that buyers are more encouraged to feel welcomed and engaged with a home that is well staged and of course very clean. Thank you for the great article. LOve the before and after images!!!

  6. Great article until I read #6. As a Professional Home Stager, I don’t remove wallpaper or repair walls. The painter does that. In my area I don’t know of any Home Stager that repairs walls and removes wallpaper. We use the trades.

  7. I am glad to know that an accredited stager will give a detailed action plan of what items need to be removed that could distract from the home’s features to get the house sold. I did not realize that it could be such an emotional process to depersonalize a home after living there so long. My friend’s realtor said that taking down personal pictures would be a good thing to do to make the home feel more open.