Home Staging for an Empty House

fresh-cut flowers great for home stagingCreative Director Beth Elzer needed to sell her Washington, D.C., condo quickly. She and her husband had already moved into another home, so the house was empty. Her broker, Joe Himali of Best Address Real Estate, recommended professional home staging for their empty house. Himali's suggestion came based on experience staging another empty house that received multiple offers even before the official open house.

The cost of professional home staging varies, based on the market you're in and the level of sophistication that your home needs to portray to get the asking price you desire. Home stagers may use their own library of furniture and bill you for their time. Others purchase furniture for you, use it for home staging, and bill you for both time and shopping costs.

Here are some tips from the pros that you can use when you're staging an empty house.
Less Is More

If your house is already empty, you are ahead of the home staging game. A clean slate means that you can stage with a specific kind of buyer in mind. If your house is not already empty be sure to put the majority of items, particularly personal items, in storage. A buyer wants to imagine themselves living in your home. Prepare to present only the minimal furnishings and accessories necessary.

Know Your Buyer

Who belongs to your target market? For example, is the ideal buyer a single professional or a family with children? Determine your ideal buyer, then plan your home staging scheme to appeal to that person. Your goal is to present your home with a specific mood.

Remember: It is illegal to discriminate your home's rental or sale based on a person's race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion or sexual preference. You are free to stage your home however you wish, but be advised to avoid items that obviously suggest that you, the seller, has a preference. For example, do not stage your home with references to your religion. It could turn off or even offend potential buyers.

Tell a Story

Let's say that your ideal buyer is a well-traveled young professional. You might choose to display your travel photography on the walls and stage an area specifically for use as an office, even if you previously used the same space for another purpose. Selectively use items you already own and, if necessary, buy accessories that work with the theme.

Curate Carefully

The greatest luxury in the minds of most buyers is the luxury of space. While you want to stage an empty house with enough to evoke a particular mood, do not overfill with distracting items. Choose furniture that is appropriately sized, too. You may enjoy your overstuffed sectional sofa and recliner, but if it eats up too much floorspace it is not a good choice to show off the space in your home.

Define Spaces

Do you have a workout room/office? A den/studio? Many homes have a room that serves more than one purpose. But if you're staging an empty house, you want to assign each room a clear purpose. Make it easy for buyers to understand each room. Remember: You're staging to sell your home, not to live in it.

And how did staging work for Elzer and her previously empty house? Her condo had a slew of visitors and an offer within 48 hours of the open house. Staging proved to be a major advantage when selling during a down market.

"The furniture the stager used made the condo look its best. The condo looked very desirable and the appropriately scaled furniture demonstrated the flexibility of the space," Elzer explains.

Did home staging help you sell your house? Got tips and advice to share? We want to hear from you! Add your comments in the box below.

Want more home staging tips and techniques? These AOL Real Estate guides can help:

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