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BOOK REVIEW

Make that listing a model home

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell Julie Dana and Marcia Layton Turner Alpha: 281 pp., $18.95

July 15, 2007|Robert J. Bruss | Inman News

"THE Complete Idiot's Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell" by Julie Dana and Marcia Layton Turner is a must-read new book for home sellers and their real estate agents.

Especially useful in the current buyers' market, it details how to increase a home's net sales price and shorten its time on the market for sale by staging.

This how-to book explains the concept of staging, which unknown to some home sellers (and even a few real estate agents). The basic idea of staging is to turn a house or condominium listed for sale into a model home. Prospective buyers can then see, rather than just imagine, how attractive a home can be.

According to the authors, the cost of a typical home staging should be 1% to 3% of the home's market value. They are not talking about major renovation. Instead, they recommend de-cluttering homes to make them as attractive as possible without spending major amounts.

This new book provides a room-by-room look at the most profitable staging for each of the major rooms in a home. Heavy emphasis is placed on the entry foyer, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. Curb appeal also receives special attention because many prospective home buyers won't even inspect a house that isn't attractive from the exterior.

The dozens of before-and-after photos show the results of tasteful home staging. Although few homeowners actually live in a picture-perfect staged home where everything is in its place and there is no junk, the book's goal is to show how a staged home will appeal to a wide group of buyers.

Home staging, in addition to cleaning and repairing, often involves purchasing or renting furniture to make the rooms appear brighter and larger than the way the seller actually uses the home. Home buyers, it seems, have trouble imagining a home's possibilities, but stagers solve that problem by showing buyers the residence at its best.

Dana and Turner report the most profitable staging steps include lightening and brightening rooms, cleaning and de-cluttering, fixing plumbing and electrical features, landscaping and making kitchen or bathroom upgrades. Although many sellers do the work themselves, the authors emphasize that home staging costs money, but can be profitable when done right.

The book mentions hiring professional home-makeover specialists, yet it fails to explain how home sellers and their realty agents can locate and hire successful home stagers. This would have seemed to be a natural inclusion since co-author Dana has a home-staging business.

In today's very competitive home-sale market, staging can determine which homes sell first and for top dollar.

This guidebook counsels sellers and realty agents about the importance of showing homes at their best.

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