Ask any Realtor if staging a home is an essential part of marketing and most will give a definite “YES!” Research has consistently shown that staged homes sell faster and at higher prices than non staged homes.
Staging is all about showcasing your home’s unique features, minimizing flaws and to defining spaces. There is nothing worse than a buyer  walking in and out of your home wondering how in the world they would make use of a particular area in your home. Good staging answers that question.
Home presentation is like Speed Dating. You only have a couple of minutes to make a good impression. Most people get a “feel” of a place right away and since choosing to write an offer lies more on the emotional end of the decision making spectrum it only makes sense that leaving a prospective buyer with a good feeling is going to lead to more offers for more money.
In areas that have homes with similar looks, sizes and styles staging is one of the best ways to make your listing stand out. Why do large developers invest in model homes complete with furnished kitchens, baths, dining and living rooms? Because it sells their properties faster and for more money. Many homes in the East Bay Hills, Oakland and Berkeley feature homes that are older and in an amazing variety of styles. There are Victorians, Bungalows and Craftsman, Mid-Century moderns and new construction cliffhangers designed by renowned architects. Unfortunately many have been remodeled without taking their original style into consideration or have not been kept in good repair. Because of this it is imperative that we work with a Stager/Designer to get the home ready for the market and looking its best, We want buyers fall in love with your home. Without the staging and sometimes updating we can end up turning buyers OFF rather than tuning them ON.
The home that sells for the most is often the one that appears to need the least. Today’s buyers are savvy buyers. Thanks to the internet, numerous TV programs and home decorating magazines many buyers want to purchase a home that looks and feels like a model home. Most sellers do not keep their homes “looking like a model home,” and that’s fine. How we present a home for sale is not the same way we’d live in a home. Stagers/Designers will not only help us with furniture, they will also give decorating advise for style, cosmetic updating, color selections and personal property de-cluttering.
After selling over 300 Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley homes  over the past 15 years I can honestly say that investing a little time and a few bucks in proper staging and cosmetic presentation you will absolutely get a substantial return dividend on you investment. After your home is prepared and polished up, you just may have a hard time moving out of it.
Brian Santilena is a Senior Sales Associate with Pacific Union Real Estate in Oakland and Berkeley CA . He is a former contractor and is a member of the Council of Residential Specialists. He has been selling terrific homes in the better communities of Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley CA since 1998. Please feel free to contact him  if you would like more information about how best to prepare your home for top dollar.