Bonus Question:  “What Can You Skip?”

I don’t know that there’s a rule of thumb — or a formula — for determining exactly when a home is (very) well-staged.

The closest I’ve got is this:  “A home is well-staged when all of its unique attributes are identified and optimally showcased, and any Achilles’ Heels have either been muted or — ideally — eliminated.”

Which just begs the question, “Exactly what the $%#@&! is THAT??”

It all sort of recalls Justice Potter Stewart’s line about pornography, in an obscenity lawsuit before the Supreme Court.

“I can’t definite it (pornography),” he averred. “But, I know it when I see it.”

“Knowing It When You See It”

At a minimum, a well-staged home should show off the home’s entry; Dining, Living and Family Rooms; Kitchen; and Master Bedroom.

If the home has an actual Owner’s Suite (private master bath), it should show that off as well.

Ditto such features as a Home Office or Exercise Room; lower level Amusement Room; screened Porch; and any backyard deck or Patio.

Staging extends outside, too: painting the front door a new, sharper color; cutting back (usually) or adding (sometimes) landscaping; and adding or repainting window shutters are also cost-effective ways to punch up a home’s curb appeal.

Virtual vs. Analog Staging

So, should the whole house be staged, each and every time?

That’s a judgment call.

If the home is still occupied, and the owner’s furnishings and accents (art, wall hangings, rugs, etc.) are flattering . . . why not?

However, if the home is vacant — meaning it needs either virtual or analog (old-fashioned) staging — my usual advice to clients is to stop short of doing anything redundant.

Diminishing Returns

For example, once Bedroom #2 of a four Bedroom home is staged, there’s not much gained by also staging Bedrooms #3 and #4.

That’s especially true if the other Bedrooms are similar in size and features (windows, ceiling height, etc.).

Bottom line: when a home is truly well-staged, it just “pops.”

Such homes invariably will get compliments (from colleagues, prospective Buyers, their agents, etc.), but more importantly . . . they get offers! 

See also, “Realtor Compliments“; “Staging Inside, Outside, and Poolside (Poolside??)“; “Staging Secret #17“; and “How to Stage a Closet (at least, in a vacant home).”

Plus: “Home Seller (and Staging Client): “It Looks So Good, Now I Don’t Want to Move!“; “Savvy Staging Strategy #7”; “How Home Sellers Can Tell If They Need Staging Advice”; and “Staging Secret #18.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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