Vail Daily column: How important is ‘staging’? |

Vail Daily column: How important is ‘staging’?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I am going to sell my house soon, and my friend told me that I should get it “staged.” She seems to think that I could get more money when it sells if I pay a professional stager. Is that true? I think my house looks fine and am not anxious to spend a lot of money, since I am already worried I won’t net as much money in the sale as I am hoping for. How important is “staging” anyway?

Dear Reluctant Stager,

You ask a great question that should be asked more often! Let’s define staging first. Staging is the art of making a great first impression. The best example would be a model home or showcase home that has been furnished and accessorized for the sole purpose of attracting a buyer. Since no one lives there, it is easier to stage and to maintain. Presuming you are living in your home, I think the definition would be that your home makes the best first impression possible by being extremely clean and inviting. Often, your listing broker will offer a service to help with you with your staging. We recommend having an interior designer give you written instructions for each room of the house. Once you have your written suggestions, you may not choose to do everything on the list, so it is best to prioritize. Statistics show that your time and money should be spent first in three key areas — Living room, kitchen and master bedroom — in order to maximize your return on investment.

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As far as your question about how important staging is, I would say it is always important and sometimes extremely important. It can give you a competitive edge to get your home sold and for your desired price. Think of it as the shiny apple theory. If there is a barrel of dull, lifeless apples and one is polished, which do you think will be picked first? When you put your home on the market, you are entering a competition with the other homes in your community. The goal is to have the most successful showings so that you might even have multiple offers! One last factor to consider, that you did not mention, is the timing. According to the National Association of Realtors, staged homes not only bring a higher percentage of the listing price, but they are also sold significantly sooner than non-staged homes. I know it is difficult to see your home through the eyes of the public, but you will be glad for the professional help when you sell your home quickly and for more money! Good luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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