Corken Q&A: Staging a Home to Sell

Many people know that professional home staging is a valuable real estate tool and often one of the first steps of preparing to list a home for sale. What many people don’t know is that staging is one of many complimentary services offered by Corken + Company.

Every Corken + Company listing receives a free consultation with Shay Michek of Perch Staging and Design to discuss what the home needs to look and feel its best. Home owners are then provided with a list of preferred vendors to help execute Micek’s recommendations, from cleaning and packing to basic improvements like painting and landscaping. Here, Micek explains how proper staging can help sellers get top dollar for their homes.

Q: Why is it important to have professional staging done prior to listing a home for sale?

When people have lived in a home for years they don’t notice how things could look different. Sometime the things that make a home comfortable to live in aren’t the things that make it look great for photos. We stage homes so they will photograph the best, because we know if the photos look great that will get people in the door.

You never want to show an empty home. If the home is already vacant, it’s very important to stage at least some of the main areas, like the living room and master bedroom, because it makes the space feel warm and welcoming instead of cold and empty.

It’s difficult to put an actual number on it, but most realtors agree that homes that are staged sell faster and for more money than homes that are not staged

Q: What does the home staging process entail, and how long does it take?

I start by editing and de-cluttering—I encourage most people to box up half of their stuff. It’s even important to clean out your closets and cabinets, because people want to see what the storage spaces are like. It’s also important to de-personalize—pack up your personal items and replace them with neutral decor so potential buyers can picture themselves living there.

Then, I bring in the “lipstick” items like artwork and accent pieces for fresh pops of color, and items that will help showcase the potential of the space, especially if there is an odd-shaped area. For most homes, this is all they need, but sometimes it’s necessary for the homeowner to move out completely so we can do a full stage.

Most homes only need staging for a few months, but I’ve had some that only last a week because the Denver market is so hot right now. Some luxury homes can take longer, but that is on par with the market as there is generally less demand for homes above certain price ranges.

Q: What can homeowners expect from their staging consultation?

Most home owners can expect us to recommend they take care of any deferred maintenance items—some more than others if the home is really dated. But even small things like replacing hardware on kitchen cabinets, a fresh coat of paint, cleaning grout and getting windows professional washed can make a big difference because they make the home seem well cared for, which automatically increases their perceived value.

They should also be prepared to hear things they don’t want to hear, like that their house smells funny or that their furnishings are unpleasant. It’s such an emotional process, but I have to do my job and be honest with the homeowners in order to get the best results, even if that means I have to be the “bad guy.” If they want to get top dollar, sometimes they have to invest some resources ahead of time.

Q: What features are people looking for in a home these days? What design trends are helping homes sell in this market?

These days people want light, bright, open and airy. They prefer a crisp and clean look as opposed to heavy colors and textures. Grey and neutral color palettes are here to stay for a while. I’m a design junkie and have my own warehouse which I am constantly updating with new inventory to keep up with home trends, so I can hand-pick the best pieces to complement an array of home styles to make them seem fresh and inviting even if the home is a bit dated.

Curb appeal is always important because everybody spends at least one full minute looking around the exterior while the realtor is busy getting into the lockbox. Make sure the front door has fresh paint and good hardware and that the yard is neat. Everyone is a sucker for nice outdoor spaces in Colorado.

Q: Is it necessary to invest the time, money and effort into staging a home in a low-inventory market, such as the one Denver has been experiencing recently?

You would think there would be less demand for professional staging in a seller’s market, but it’s actually increased demand for my services because it’s so competitive and people want to get the best value they can. Even if a house sells within a week, it will probably have more offers and ultimately sell at a higher price if it is staged. It’s become the norm to make every house look nice with staging, and buyers these days expect it.