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Look What A Small Investment Can Do!

Home Stager with Preferred Staging, LLC

Look what a small investment can do!

A few weeks ago I did a 2 hour walk through consultation for a home owner that has lived in the house for 45 years.  The house has been very well maintained, but as we see all the time with older clients who are downsizing, updating hasn't been a priority over the past few years.  The house does have a lovely remodeled kitchen, but some other rooms needed attention.  

The best example was the wood paneling in the basement. The dark paneling absorbed all the light in the room, making it feel like a cold, dark cave - and really dating the house.  Once the paneling was painted an off white, some furniture removed and other pieces moved, and some art work rehung, there was a huge difference - it hardly looks like the same room!


Spending even a little money on such updates and for staging is sometimes a hard pill for homeowners to swallow.  We really need to educate home owners that home preparation is truly an investment that they will receive a return on when the house sells.  The return will either be a better listing price, (is it better to sell the house "as is", or at market value?), and a faster sale, which in the long run will reduce mortgage payments, utility costs and general maintenance and upkeep of the property.  A faster sale also means less marketing dollars Realtors have to spend.  

Check out these statistics from HomeGain.com for ROI on home improvements for sellers:


According to the survey, painting, decluttering and reorganizing the basement will bring a nice return to the home seller - and all for about 2 days of work!

All the Best,


Comments (13)

Ken's Home Team LLC. | 360.609.0226 | Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA Real Estate Team
Ken's Home Team LLC. - Vancouver, WA

great job!! Thank you for the post, this is great info and pictures are worth 1000 words.....

Mar 19, 2010 01:40 AM
Dennis Duvernay Broker/Owner
Hillview Realty - Northbridge, MA

well done....so much brighter and inviting.

Mar 19, 2010 01:51 AM
Monica Murphy
Preferred Staging, LLC - Potomac Falls, VA

Ken and Dennis - thanks for the kind words!  The house has only been listed for a few weeks and there's a lot of interest.  Just waiting for a contract!

Mar 19, 2010 01:55 AM
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

Monica....big difference for a small "investment"!  I've also used this article from HomeGain and it's very useful!

Mar 19, 2010 02:07 AM
Mary Lou Teague
Home Style and Staging Knoxville. TN

I have tried and tried to get one home owner to paint the dark paneling and they just will not do it...as a result it is still on the market...your room looks awesome...

Mar 19, 2010 02:37 AM
Monica Murphy
Preferred Staging, LLC - Potomac Falls, VA

Kathy - I know you can make stats say whatever you want, but its hard to fudge these.  It is indeed very useful!

Mary Lou - Maybe you need to send your client a copy of the pictures to show them what a gallon of paint and a pizza on a Saturday afternoon can do for the value of their house!  So many houses have the paneling in the basement and I just don't think people reaize how dark it really is, or how it dates the house.  Of course when you live with it, its hard to step back and see it from the buyers POV.

Mar 19, 2010 02:49 AM
Liz Gallagher
LG Home Harmony - Home Stagers & Organizers - Montreal, QC
Montreal Quebec RESA member

Looks great and clean! Amazing that cleaning and decluttering can give you the biggest return on the investment.

thanks for sharong the stats.



Mar 19, 2010 03:49 PM
Monica Murphy
Preferred Staging, LLC - Potomac Falls, VA

Liz - I wonder how much the value of my own home would increase if I could get my kids to pick up after themselves?!?

Mar 20, 2010 02:01 AM


Yet another example of how staging can improve the appearance of a house for a nominal fee.   Good work!

However, where did Home Gain get the Home Stager rates of $3-400?   That certainly doesn't apply to anything more than a consultation.

Mar 21, 2010 05:51 AM
Monica Murphy
Preferred Staging, LLC - Potomac Falls, VA

Sharon - It is amazing how a house can improve with just a little money - especially paint! 

As for the rates of $300-$400, I have no idea how that number was determined, and that has always bothered me.  Its about the cost of a consultation and then some around here, too.  Maybe this applies only to occupied homes?  Staging a vacant can cost anywhere from 2x to 10x that much - depending on the vacant (size, location, etc., etc.). 

Mar 21, 2010 07:37 AM
Debra Valentine
Designing Details ~ Staging & Design, LLC - Bountiful, UT
Utah Home Staging for, Bountiful, Salt Lake & Surrounding Areas

Nice job Monica! It does look much, much better now. And, great job convincing the clients to paint the paneling - that is a very tough sell here anyway. Also, the Home Gain numbers ALWAYS bother me as I feel they are not realistic.

Mar 22, 2010 04:45 AM
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

We know staging is a great investment but it can sometimes be hard to convince sellers. I have one problem with the homegain survey as the staging cost are so low that they make what we charge to stage look so overpriced when clearly we know it is not...Just my opinion!

Mar 27, 2010 05:15 AM
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

Oh...I just saw Debra's comment so I guess I am not alone in my opinion of the Home Gain survey!!

Mar 27, 2010 05:16 AM