While Patti Stern, a decorator and accredited home stager with PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC, says correctly pricing a home for sale is key, she adds that paying attention to aesthetics is also highly important.
“You wouldn’t sell your car without detailing it… That’s one of the benefits of staging,” said Ms Stern. “Staging is really an investment in getting your home sold.”
Two properties under contract with PJ & Company Home Styling — one in New Fairfield and one in South Salem, N.Y. — ended up selling for more than the asking price, according to Ms Stern, thanks to minimum investments to stage the homes first before putting them on the market.
According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, 95 percent of homes staged by accredited home stagers with the association sell on average in 23 days. In contrast, the association also reports homes that are not staged are on the market for an average of 130 days.
While Ms Stern is also a decorator, she said staging a home is the opposite of decorating one. Decorating a home is personalized for the homeowner, but staging a home to be sold means making it appeal a target audience.
If PJ & Company Home Styling is consulted, Ms Stern said she would make sure the home had an updated color palette, updated fixtures, and was completed in a modern neutral style, in line with what is in fashion in home décor.
By investing a little bit of money in staging, Ms Stern said people selling a home can avoid a price reduction once it is on the market.
A Newtown home recently staged by PJ & Company Home Styling had has been occupied for 13 years before going on the market. She noted that styles had changed since the home was last remodeled.
A home on the market now should appear to need as little work as possible for the buyers, according to Ms Stern.
Ms Stern said buyers determine whether a home is right for them within 15 seconds, especially when they are searching through photos online, where a large number of buyers go to look for their next home. If sellers are looking to get “top dollar” for their home, Ms Stern said staging their home before photos are taken is important.
If pricing a home correctly and staging it are the first two components of selling a home, Ms Stern said the third component is having an excellent realtor, who will oversee producing photos of a home.
“If you have those three winning combinations, you are good to go,” said Ms Stern.
The first step in staging a home is a consultation, which includes inspecting a home inside and out. Next, recommendations are made.
“When we stage a home we work with the realtor and with the homeowner to determine who is our audience,” said Ms Stern.
Ms Stern explained her company is a little different than other staging companies. Her company shops for staging items on a budget, while other companies may maintain storage areas stocked with items to stage homes.
Clients of PJ & Company Home Styling get to keep the merchandise purchased for the home staging.
Part of her job, Ms Stern said, is making sure the client does not have to spend a lot of money to get “top dollar” when selling their home.
Her biggest tip for people looking to sell their home is to take their time, and part of that is investing time to stage a home.
“It takes more time, but it is worth every penny,” said Ms Stern.
PJ & Company Home Styling also worked with Toll Brothers Luxury Builders Connecticut Division to develop an staging program that helps people looking to be move to Toll Brothers property, like Newtown Woods, by staging the home they are moving out of.
“The program, Center Stage, has helped numerous Toll Brothers homebuyers sell their existing home for top dollar in record time,” said Ms Stern.
According to Ms Stern, 93 percent of Center Stage homes sell on average in 34 days, and approximately 97 percent are sold at their list price, without a price reduction.
“Staging has allowed our buyers existing homes to stand out from the pack, especially since many people shop online, the pictures have to stand out,” said Jack Lannamann, vice president for Toll Brother’s Connecticut Division. “Knowing that the home is decluttered, depersonalized, and neutral allows potential buyers to envision their own furniture.”
Ms Stern said when she first met with Toll Brothers to discuss the Center Stage program, she thought it was a brilliant idea. No other home building company in New England, according to Ms Stern, offers a program similar to Center Stage.
Mr Lannamann said Center Stage has had a tremendous success since its inception roughly four years ago, and many homes have sold in a matter of days, “to the delighted shock of the homeowners.”
It is clear, said Mr Lannamann, that the staging program offered by Toll Brothers and Ms Stern is what has caused the early success of the Newtown Woods site, as it completely takes away the potential discomfort some people have in selling their existing home.
Ms Stern said Center Stage helps people sell their homes fairly easily while hopefully attaining the top asking price, so they can move into a Toll Brothers home.