Home Staging Advice from Expert Cathy Hobbs (Part 1 of 4)

Jill Valeri

, Baltimore Interior Decorating Examiner

August 1, 2011 –

STAGE IT! SELL IT! – Home staging is a big buzzword in real estate and it can mean anything from painting and minor repairs to renting furniture. Certified Staging Professional Cathy Hobbs shares some home staging secrets in order to get your home sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Q1-Are there any colors that are perceived to be more appealing to a wide variety of buyers?

In general neutral colors are best when it comes to walls, taupe and khaki work well as opposed to stark white.  When it comes to beige, I often caution my home sellers not to pick a tone with too much yellow in it.

Q2-Do you believe that there are regional trends in home buyer’s expectations when looking for a new home?

Not at all, staging is universal and works wherever you live, regardless of if your house is big or small, or what price range it is in.  Staging is the process of preparing a home for sale by appealing to the widest range of buyers.  The key elements to remember in this process are de-personalizing and de-cluttering.  With my clients I always tell them that the key to selling your property is to realize that once it goes on the market, it is no longer your home, but a product.  It is a product competing with other products on the market, and in order for that product to stand out it has to be priced right and have the best presentation and packaging in order to make it stand out.

Q3-Who initiates the relationship between the seller and the home stager? The Seller or the Realtor?

It can work both ways.  Sometimes stagers contact organizations like Certified Staging Professionals (www.stagingtraining.com or 888-STAGING) looking to hire a professional stager. Other times, it is the realtor who works with specific stagers and recommends one to their home seller.

Q4-What are the things that you rely on most when staging a home?

Essentially, I rely on these key staging tips when I begin any staging.

  • De-personalizing
  • De-cluttering
  • Furniture Re-arranging
  • Re-painting
  • Repairs

Q5-When staging an empty house, how much furniture do you usually rent?

As a professional stager, I work with clients to help make sure their home makes a strong first impression that enables potential buyers to visualize themselves living in the property.  Many buyers make a decision about a property in less than three minutes, so a strong first impression is critical!

When a property is vacant, my goal as a home stager is rent enough furniture and accessories in order to highlight the features, function, and live-ability of the home.  We thoroughly research the appropriate furnishings and accessories needed to create the appropriate atmosphere and message for our clients’ particular property.

Thank you Cathy for your insights into home staging. You can learn more about staging by working with Cathy first-hand when she hosts her 3-day certification course in Columbia, MD. Space is limited so register today!

Please join me Thursday when I share part 2 of my 4-part series with Cathy. The next topic:Tricks of the Trade