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  • Writer's pictureLiz Shalala- Pensiero

Staging in a hot real estate market

Nationwide, we are experiencing unprecedented real estate markets, plagued with low inventory and multiple-bid situations. Sellers, whether they are "testing the waters" or motivated to move their property are in control, while buyers are racing against the clock to submit their "best and final" only to lose to multiple bids when the bell strikes end of day. So when houses are selling so quick, often with cash offers or sight unseen; why is staging so important?

Staging is very often mistaken for design. Beautiful furnishings in stunning homes, complimented with pretty colors and high end accessories. Home staging is actually less about design and more about marketing & presentation. Home stagers are consultants within the real estate industry. Partnering with agents and homeowners to market properties effectively & efficiently. Armed with a unique understanding of the local housing market and current buying trends; home stagers use design as a selling tool. Color choices, lighting, furniture placement and neutralizing the property help create a retail product that must not outlive it's shelf life.

This hot market has motivated many homeowners to finally consider selling their home. Whether it's time to downsize, upsize, move across country or just across the street; homeowners are capitalizing on what the market is offering; many realizing this wave may not last forever. Recently, many of my Senior clients; those who have been in their homes for decades, are making moves. These homes are very often the right price point for first-time buyers. It can be difficult for the younger, first-time buyer to picture their future in a home that is filled to the brim with another family's past. Often times, these homes can be dated, may need some renovations and are filled with years of life. These homes are the most important to stage! This type of property sells quicker and higher when buyers can see beyond "the past". Breathe fresh life into a home with new paint, refinished floors and on-trend staging inventory that speaks to today's contemporary buyer.

Some homes speak to a different target market such as the downsizer. A ranch style home or homes with first floor Master Suites are exciting to buyers that don't want traditional stairs any longer. In these cases, the Master Bedroom must stand out! Create a sanctuary-style En suite with luxe fabrics, inviting hues and high end finishes. Remember, this target market often has a higher purchase budget and disposable income than first -time buyers. They are used to living a certain way and expect to be able to downsize in similar fashion. The Master Bedroom, especially on the first floor, is

a very important factor in creating an emotional connection to the home.

We are all experiencing the effects of Covid-19 and living through an unprecedented pandemic; the likes of something we hope to never see again in our lifetime. Our homes have become our havens, our work place, classrooms, gyms, playgrounds and our refuge from a Covid-weary world. All the more reason, buyers must make an emotional connection to a property immediately if we expect an offer to be made. Staging a home to define use-of-space is very important. Work from home spaces, home gyms, back patios & bonus rooms have become non-negotiable. Especially for buyers moving from the cities to the suburbs. Buyers may be sacrificing life in the city for the safety and security of what the suburb has to offer. Staging can create that emotional experience; drawing a buyer deeper into a home and capturing them with a visual experience. Properly done, they should be hooked by the time they leave.

The process begins with a staging consultation where we walk through the home as the buyers will first see it and make suggestions on how to best prepare the space, both for photos and in-person. It is here we suggest improvements to be made, give referrals for estate sales help or organizational consultants and offer staging advice. I am such a believer that staging is a critical component to prepping a home for sale, I have created a page on my website with links to some of my most common suggestions. Homeowners can now access similar pieces with logical explanations as to the "why" we use them. Home staging is not a hobby, it's a consulting business with real value. It's customer service, inventory management and social work wrapped up in marketing & tied with a design bow. A gift every new listing should be granted before hitting the MLS.

Check out my "Staging Essentials" page at

for more useful staging tidbits and ways to keep your home staged well beyond the sale.

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