To Stage or Not to Stage?

This summer, I decided to send out a survey to see how interested my contacts on were in staging their homes before listing a property for sale. My sponsored ads were placed in two districts, Wailuku Heights and Kihei on Maui, HI for a total of about 5,000 viewers. In two weeks, I had about 2000 hits and below is a compilation of the 52 people who answered the survey.

  1. Would you stage your home? Yes, 75%
  2. I wouldn’t stage my home. Yes, 11%
  3. I might stage my home. Yes, 5%
  4. What is staging? 3%
  5. Only if someone else does it. 3%

What is Staging?

It’s clear that most people would stage their properties before selling, but what about those others who were not sure or wanted someone else to do the staging or weren’t clear what home staging might be?

I looked up the definition of staging in Wikipedia, and here’s what I got: “Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace.” Did that clear it up for everyone? No? Not for me either!

So, here’s my definition of home staging: “Making your home as appealing as possible to as many people as possible before you put it on the market.” So how do I do this you might ask?

As an ex-interior designer who has seen a lot of amazing homes that didn’t sell well, I offer the following:

1. Clean Up Your Stuff!

All those wonderful knick-knacks that you have purchased over the years on your travels may be delightful for you, but your goal is to help the potential buyer see himself in your home in the future. It’s hard to visualize it if that space is covered with souvenirs from other countries, too many personal photos or trophies from a forgotten era.

2. Scents Affect the Ambiance of a Home.

Keep pets outside, if possible. Take out the trash long before a showing, don’t cook Grandma’s favorite Pasta Aioli (garlic pasta) the night before, and please empty all ashtrays if there is a smoker in the home. If you want a bit of an advantage, bake some cinnamon buns, cookies, or bread before a showing or place candles in the home with the idea that your real estate agent can light them right before potential buyers arrive.

3. Fix All Small Damages to the Home.

For instance, if you have a fence that has a missing wooden slat or stones missing from a wall, please repair it. Buyers use these small defects to negotiate their offered price to buy the home. Let’s say it cost $200 to repair the wooden slat. A buyer might ask for the entire fence to be replaced at a cost of thousands. Fixing the missing slat ahead of time alleviates the situation altogether.

Well, those are my three best tips for staging a home before selling, and one more thing, I stage my listings as a courtesy at no cost to my sellers. Why? Because as an ex-interior designer, I love to do it! And, according to the National Association of Realtors, it pays off. Here’s what the NAR can tell us about the statistics of Staging a home before selling: NAR’s 2019 Profile of Home Staging.

Happy Staging!

About the Author

Linda McCormick

Linda McCormick is a REALTOR Salesperson with Hawai'i Life. Presently I work as a Sales Agent for Hawaii Life on Maui, Hawaii, selling primarily residential properties. I have bought and sold homes for remodel and renovation in both California and Hawaii for over 20 years. In a past iteration of my life I taught Business Classes at the UH Maui College and also at various universities in Barcelona, Spain. However, after graduating in Environmental Design from UC Davis I started my own Reconstruction and Renovation Company, IDI by Design. And here is where I got my “street shoes on.” I purchased homes for resale providing: design, construction plans, project management, fiscal management, with budgeting over $1 million in renovation work. I secured loans, made payroll, released bids, hired and scheduled sub-contractors, and met with inspectors for final sign off. I marketed the newly renovated homes by giving walking tours of the interiors, designing and publishing PR brochures and flyers, and holding open houses. Lastly, and best of all, I negotiated contracts for the sale and purchase of the residential properties. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 359-3227.

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