Staging for All It’s Worth

Everyone has heard about home staging.  There’s a television show devoted to it.  In fact, most shows on t.v. that are devoted to real estate include some form of staging rather that be elaborate decorating or inexpensive, brief tips. 

However, have you ever wondered what it is about staging that is so important?  How does one stage his or her own home?  And most importantly, perhaps, what will bring the biggest bang for the smallest buck? 

Staging is one of the three most important features of selling a home.  The other two are price and location.  Most people are extremely concerned in the price of a home, in fact, pricing can make or break a deal.  Thus, if staging stands at the same level of importance as pricing, it must be pretty crucial.  But why?

Staging is more than pretty decor.  It’s what creates an environment for potential buyers.  This is what buyers see when they walk up to the front door….yes, I said walk UP TO the front door…not just inside.  Staging starts outside, but more on that later.  Staging should match the home and the area.  If you are trying to stage a downtown loft, you wouldn’t use country items.  On the contrary, if you’re staging a home in the country, you wouldn’t use modern art.  Staging creates an atmosphere, a particular “feel” associated with the piece of real estate up for sale.  Buyers looking for a home in the country typically want a “down-home feel” to the place where they live; thus, as a seller, you would want to help them picture that lifestyle by staging your home to accommodate a comfortable, easy-going, country lifestyle.

The five most important areas for staging are the front door/porch, the entryway, the living area, the kitchen, and the bathrooms, especially the master bath.  The front door/porch area is important for obvious reasons:  it’s the first thing buyers see when walking up to the house!  Some simple items of interest to use here are plants, a door hanging (depending on your front door), and a welcome mat.  Make sure the exterior light is working!  A light that doesn’t come on is a real turn-off right from the start. 

The entryway is the first thing potential buyers see upon entering your home.  Therefore, it better leave a good impression! Although it may seem strange, it is best not to have too many family photos in this area.  You want potential buyers to picture their family in your house, not yours!  A mirror sometimes can make the area seem bigger. 

The living area is the place that potential buyers will picture themselves in the most.  This is where they will spend much of their time.  If there is a fireplace, make this the focal point and arrange all furniture accordingly.  Do not block the focal point rather that be a fireplace or a large window.  Arrange the furniture so that the room seems open with plenty of walking space.  If needed, remove some bigger pieces of furniture.  Hang curtain panels open on the sides of the windows so as to dress up the windows without blocking light.  One last tip here is to hang artwork that will compliment the home’s environment.  You don’t need to have something on every wall; sometimes this can make a room feel smaller than it is.

The kitchen and the bathrooms are probably the most important areas when it comes to staging.  Both areas need to feel very spacious.  This means that you may need to remove items from the countertops.  Only a couple of decorative items need to be on the countertops.  These are also the areas that will need to be the most updated:  up-to-date lighting, faucets, countertops, flooring, and cabinetry.  Not all homes need granite; it depends on where you live.  Granite is extremely expensive; therefore, do not make these changes without consulting a real estate professional.

There are a few details that MUST be evident in all areas, both exterior and interior.  All areas should be completely clean and clutter free.  Dirty floors, countertops, sinks, toilets, etc. will ensure you an unsellable house.  Think about what you would want to see as a potential buyer.  Would filth and clutter be one of them?  Another thing that must be present in all areas is neutral paint colors.  Some sellers respond to that by saying, “But I like purple!”  My response is always, “You are selling this home.  This house isn’t yours anymore.  It belongs to whomever chooses to buy it.”  Isn’t that what you want anyway? 

Think in terms of a buyer; cut the emotional ties to your house, and stage it for all it’s worth!


A Dachsund, A Golden Retriever, and A Little Perspective

Why do we always assume the worst?  We have a female, AKC registered, Golden Retriever who has been impregnated TWICE by the SAME neighbor’s pet, which is NOT a Golden Retriever; he is a DACHSUND (Don’t ask “how did that happen?”  You don’t want to know). 

                  Large View                            Dog_04.jpg

To say the least, we were not thrilled to find our dog pregnant AGAIN by “those” people’s dog. 

We assumed these people must not care about their own pet or other people’s pets.  Obviously, they would take control of the situation if they did care, right?  Wrong! 

Yesterday morning, the next door lady came to my front door.  My immediate reaction was to not even answer the door.  I was busy and already frustrated with “those” people. 


However, I did answer the door, and I am so glad I did! 

It ended up that she saw we had puppies AGAIN, and thought they suspiciously looked like their dog.  She wanted to check to see if “it” happened again because she felt so horrible about the situation.  Long story short, she offered to do anything she could to help find homes for the puppies! 

Large View

When she left, I began thinking about the whole thing.  I truly thought, “Shame on me!”  I should not have assumed the worst of them.  They actually ended up being very nice people, and they are very concerned about their pet and ours. 

Isn’t that just like us?  Do we not typically assume the worst, especially when things aren’t going our way?  I took some things from that experience that I thought I would share.


First, it’s not always about me!!  As hard as it is to believe, people are not always thinking about me.  They don’t always have me in mind when they are making decisions.    Therefore, if they end up doing something that rustles my feathers a bit, it doesn’t mean they were INTENDING to hurt poor, pitiful me.

Large View

Second, whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?  I sentenced these poor people to the dense pen before even considering their case!  Had I taken the time to research the situation I would have found that they are actually decent people!

While taking this whole experience in, I realized how closely connected these principles are to our industry as real estate professionals. 

Large View

Don’t we as Realtors assume sometimes that people aren’t going to respond positively to our services or suggestions?  We fear the big “R”:  REJECTION!  Sure, everyone fears being rejected, but unless we open up ourselves to the possibility of rejection, we’ll never experience the opportunity of AFFIRMATION. 

That old adage “honesty is the best policy” is generally accepted as “true” for a reason:  because it is!!  We don’t need to “feel people out.”  Just be honest!  Tell sellers why their asking price is too high (gently, of course). 

Large View

I believe people will respect the fact that we’re being honest with them.  My experience is that people would rather me be honest with them than tell them what they want to hear, especially when “tickling their ears” will end up costing them.


It just goes to show that we never know what might be waiting for us just across the yard, around the next corner, or at the next appointment.  My Golden Retriever and their Dachsund ended up making some pretty  impressive offspring!




one of the darling offspring

How about you?  Do you have an unusual “perspective” story to share?  I’d love to hear it!    


Tammi Ellis

EllisTeam                                                                                                                                  Keller Williams Realty                                                                                                     Owasso/Tulsa, OK

Tulsa’s Still Hanging Tough

With all the hype about the economy, it is no wonder people are afraid to buy or sell homes.  Although there is no doubt that everything happening on Wall Street affects the real estate market, it is NOT a make-it or break-it event.  Actually, we’re still doing well here in Tulsa.  According to an article entitled “Rise in Home Prices Forecast” in the Tulsa World, “A study predicts Tulsa’s housing market will see a 2.8 percent INCREASE over the next year” (Evatt, 2008).  This predicted increase makes Tulsa the “fifth-strongest market in the nation” (2008).  In that same article, Eric Fox said, “Lately, Tulsa’s been performing well due to economic factors such as its low unemployment rate, its low interest rates and its favorable consumer price index” (2008).  Mike Cotrill, chief operating officer of the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors, said, “We’ve had a consistent increase here” (2008).  So whereas other markets in the nation are suffering drastically, Tulsa is still hanging tough.  Be proud you live in Tulsa, don’t believe everything you hear and see on the news, and go ahead and live out your dreams for a new home! 

Thank you for reading our post.  Please post your comments!  We’d love to hear what you have to say.  Remember, EllisTeam’s goal is YOUR trust, YOUR dreams, YOUR way!



Davey and Tammi Ellis

Davey: 918-845-7503   Tammi: 918-346-5449  

Email:     Website: 

Keller Williams Realty


Evatt, R. (2008, October 30).  Rise in home prices forecast. Tulsa World, p. A3.


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