Never Skip Staging — Tips from a San Francisco Real Estate Insider

Anecdotal evidence and hard stats are clear — staging a home absolutely helps it sell faster. And by staging, I don’t mean cookies in the oven and a few extra throw pillows here and there. True home staging is its own kind of art, transforming your home into a tasteful, inviting space that’s full of potential for anyone who walks in the door. After 25 years selling homes in San Francisco, I’ve had the good fortune of working with professional stagers who know all the secrets.

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Best Foot Forward

Properly staging a home smoothes out any rough edges by eliminating clutter, improving flow, playing up great details, using tricks to make it feel bigger and brighter, and generally creating a beautiful, blank canvas on which potential builders can envision their own lives.

There are best practices, of course, relating to all five senses. Let in natural light by removing heavy curtains and blinds or moving any furniture that blocks windows. Use high-wattage bulbs to illuminate. Declutter. Make spaces feel bigger with appropriately scaled furniture, and remember that less is more. Clear out storage areas — drawers, closets, cabinets — by stashing items in bins you can take with you during showings. Make all necessary repairs (cracked tiles, crooked doors, peeling paint, etc.). Clean, clean, clean. But beyond these basics, the key to properly staging a home for sale is making the kinds of changes that offer the most value to buyers.

Big Impact — Always

In a market like San Francisco, staging a home is the difference between selling over asking price, and selling way over asking price. And it’s accomplished by focusing on updates and changes that offer the biggest impact. Sometimes that means new paint, new flooring, updated light fixtures, switching a dated backsplash, replacing an ugly vanity. Once these pieces are addressed, the staging itself can begin. The goal is to create a space in which potential buyers can’t help but picture themselves, and that’s often accomplished with inspired decor and an informed layout suited to a home’s layout, architectural style, even the neighborhood.

DIY?

It’s not always to look at a space you’ve lived in for the last five, ten, thirty years and see it with fresh eyes. Excusing entirely the expertise needed to sell a home, particularly in San Francisco, there’s something else that an experienced agent can offer you — the right connections. Staging a home properly really is an art, and knowing the best person for the job is no small matter. Sure, you can DIY the whole process from start to finish, but there’s a reason that professional stagers exist.

If you’re planning to sell in San Francisco, great staging is the key to getting top dollar. The most experienced stagers will walk through your home and understand immediately what it needs to look its best. Ultimately, that only works in your favor.

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