Q Why stage a house?
A You want [potential buyers] to have an emotional reaction right when they walk in, and you don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish. [Staging] is a marketing tool that has been proven to work. We do a four- to six-month contract—and it’s an upfront fee—but the national statistics show that 90 percent of [homes] sell within [that] period.
Q Are there rooms someone should focus on?
A We encourage people to do the first floor and master if nothing else. If a house feels too serious because an older couple lives there, we may also bring in some playfulness. This may be putting in a game room, a nursery, or something that will appeal to a young family with kids.
Lisa Hynes’ best tips for staging your house and getting it ready for the market
1. Be open-minded.
2. Don’t be attached to things.
3. If you can change only a few things in the house, update the doorknobs in the bathrooms and kitchen, take down dated drapery, paint, and switch your bedding to a neutral color.
4. Pay attention to the entire house. One or two rooms are not going to sell your house if the rest of the rooms look disheveled or outdated.
5. Trust the process. Don’t judge the job until it’s finished.
6. When hiring a stager, check references, statistics, and do your research.
Q How do you start staging a house?
A I always stand in the entryway and pause. I put myself in the potential buyer’s shoes and ask, “How do I feel?” If I’m claustrophobic, or it feels dark, or something is off, I will stand there and think about how I can change that.
I also look to the rooms to the left and the right, which are usually the living and dining rooms. It’s like catnip for a cat; you want to get [the potential buyer] into the next room and the next, and to do that you need a surprise in every room.
Q What is the biggest mistake homeowners make when staging?
A When people become attached to something and they refuse to change it or take it down. The second mistake is when [homeowners] stop at a certain point. We’ve done the first floor and the master, but then the other rooms are completely dated. If you can help it, don’t have a half-staged house.
Q What is the best tip you can give a homeowner putting a house on the market?
A To be open and trust the process. Don’t judge until we’re done and you see the completed product.
Q What about the exterior?
A Photos online and curb appeal are important. I suggest painting [the exterior] when it really needs it—if the colors are bad or the paint is peeling. Sometimes I just suggest power washing. And if the greenery is overgrown, I recommend cutting them back or removing them if they’re covering the house.
For more tips from Lisa Hynes, visit stagetoshow.com