If you ask Vesta Real Estate Group, the unequivocal answer is: Stage!

With over 30 years of combined experience in helping clients buy and sell homes, we firmly recommend staging “to present the house in the best light,” says Liz Kelly, a listing specialist at Vesta. “We believe prepared homes show better and sell faster,” she adds. Vesta feels so strongly about the power of staging, that they pay for a consultation in their clients’ homes to prepare for listing each house. Vesta discussed best practices with Michelle Dalton-Roche, owner and principal designer at Citron Staging and Design, to gain expert insight on the staging process.

Michelle believes the primary goal in staging a home is to appeal to the broadest audience of buyers. In order to accomplish this, the homeowner must remove “distractions” from the house. “Homes are vessels of our travels, memories, images of past and present. Things that resonate with us may not appeal to all buyers,” shares Michelle. Dalton-Roche adds that our personal effects may distract buyers from important home details, such as woodwork or a nice window view. One way Michelle believes you can help potential buyers focus on purchasing your home, is to take down all family photos.

The first step in preparing a home to be staged: decluttering. Removing all distractions, excess furniture and accessories is essential. Michelle explains that it is helpful to take emotion out of the process. “When we say ‘move that out’ it is not a commentary on your personal taste – the goal is to appeal to the broadest number of buyers.” Make no mistake, a staged home looks very different from the appearance of a house in day-to-day living. The idea is to make the home appear homey and spacious but not sparse. For example, countertops should be clear of appliances, but not bare. “An accent piece can tie color or themes from another room, and make the decor cohesive,” says Dalton-Roche.

In preparing your home for sale, Citron Staging and Design advises that the presentation not only has to appeal to an in-person visitor, but items should be placed with a view toward good photographs. “The online picture gallery is the first showing in today’s marketplace, and what prompts a buyer to visit the house,” explains Liz Kelly of Vesta, “We hire professional photographers and videographers because your home’s online first impression is so important.”

Staging your house can be an onerous process, but there is no doubt that your hard work ahead of time, will pay off with a faster, more successful sale!