Home Staging Can Add Value Ready for Your Close-up?

The real estate mantra is location, location, location, right? After that, it's price, square footage, condition, state of the market and maybe rooms with a view or available financing terms.

This is all true—but there's a relatively new game in town as well, and it is making more of a difference in home sales than you might expect. "Home staging" is the term used to describe the process that some homeowners go through in order to prepare their property for sale. Staging has gained traction as sellers try to get their asking prices, or more, and is changing the way people think about selling their homes.

Staging Origins

The term "home staging" was coined by realtor Barb Schwartz in 1972. Schwartz was seeking a way to separate her real estate listings from others on the market, so that they would sell faster and command higher prices, and the traditional approach of placing a bouquet of fresh flowers in the kitchen or the entrance foyer was not producing the desired effect. What was needed was a change in perspective.

According to Schwartz, it was using a theater metaphor on a particularly resistant seller that struck the spark of an idea. Schwartz phrased her instructions to the seller in terms of producer, lead actress (the seller), director (Schwartz), and a sell-out crowd (the potential buyers). In order to sell a property for the best prices in the shortest amount of time, it was necessary to put on the best face possible for potential buyers—to "stage" the apartment or home.

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