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Home Staging: 3 Tips for Successfully Staging a Home

Jane Livingston Founder, Stage and Sell

Jane Livingston
Founder, Stage and Sell

Last week we discussed the misconceptions in home staging, with home staging expert Jane Livingston of Stage and Sell.

This week we continue our three part series with the most important tips for staging a house.


What are your top three most important tips for staging a house?

JL:  First and foremost, lose the emotional attachment. Think of your property as a product that you want to sell. Understandably, homeowners are very attached to their homes and selling can be emotional. But you need to remove emotion from the equation as much as possible and look at your home objectively. Even take photos of all the important rooms, upload them to your computer and take a critical look. Look at how your rooms stack up to other online photos in your price range.

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing

Second, clean everything.  Clean the grout, the inside and outside of appliances, the dusty corners, windows, light fixtures and even the exterior siding and concrete walk ways. Make it sparkle so potential buyers know the property is well maintained.

Lastly, remove two-thirds of the stuff on your surfaces and shelves. Then, artfully design those shelves with books and objects in different sizes and shapes. Leave counter surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom clean and clear. Place fresh flowers for a pop of color.  Let’s face it, we tend to gather too much stuff and clutter hides the best features of a home. The objective is to highlight your home’s personality and not overshadow it with your own.

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing

40 Lawrence Lane, Snedens Landing



What is your best staging success story?

JL: That’s a toss up between several projects but here’s one of my favorite stories: Last year we staged a home for an older couple who desperately wanted to retire and move to a warmer climate. They needed to sell their house for asking price or more to do that.

After our initial consultation, this couple got busy and did everything we recommended.  They worked hard packing and removing boxes of belongings and old furniture. They painted walls with fresh up-to-date colors. And they cleaned and cleaned and cleaned some more until everything sparkled. After we rearranged the remaining furniture and fluffed for the MLS photos, the house hit the market and immediately got multiple offers, the buyers got a fabulously well maintained home and the sellers are retired and sipping cocktails by the sea. That was an incredibly gratifying experience.

Stay tuned for our final post in our three part series on home staging where Jane discusses why staging is important in the home sales process.

For more staging tips from The New York Times, click here. Jane can be reached at stageandsellny@gmail.com.


Home Staging: Helping Sell Homes Faster and for Better Prices

Jane Livingston 150x150

Jane Livingston Founder, Stage and Sell

As a real estate professional, I have often relied on the services of a professional home stager to help present a property in its best possible light. Much like a makeup artist enhances and brings out a person’s best features, so do stagers.

The value of staging has been reported on at length over the last several years. Most recently, The New York Times just last month published an article entitled “The Art of Home Staging,” noting, “Homeowners, reluctant to spend the money or admit that their decorating choices might not be catnip to buyers, are often loath to pay strangers to impose their tastes on their premises. But as staging has evolved over the past decade, many real estate professionals say it has become more important — and more sophisticated — than ever.” I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment- staging has indeed become an art, and one that smart real estate agents are employing.

I have had the pleasure of working with Jane Livingston, founder of Stage and Sell, on many successful projects. Jane has been staging homes for more than 20 years, as a television producer and director for Emmy-award winning home makeover and interior designs shows and her own houses. It is my pleasure to sit down with Jane in this three part series and get her insights into how staging can work in today’s market.


What is the biggest misconception about staging today?

JL: My number one, least favorite, misconception is that only the top 1 percent can afford staging.  Our clients with multi-million dollar properties understand that appropriate staging is a strategic marketing tool that gives them an edge in their very competitive, high-end market.  Yet sellers with homes valued under $1 million often have the misconception that staging is too expensive to be worthwhile.

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

Often, their agent can only convince those non-believers to call us after they’ve endured months on the market and a price reduction.  What they discover the hard way is that good staging will sell their house faster and for more money. To further dispel this misconception, last year all the houses we staged in the $400,000 to $1 million got accepted offers for asking price or more within days of hitting the market. Now that’s better than a price reduction!

Stay tuned for next weeks post, as Jane will share her tips on successfully staging a home to sell.

For more about Jane and her staging services, contact stageandsellny@gmail.com.


Rockland County Luxury Real Estate Market Sees Record Sales

Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty today announced a record-breaking 2015 in sales and predicted continued market growth in Rockland County this year.

Last year the firm captured 25 percent market share for homes that sold or were pending sale for over $1 million in Rockland County. In addition, it handled five of six sales valued at $2 million or more in the county.

Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty was the only broker with sales of $3 million or more in Rockland County. During 2015 and the last 10 of 11 years, it achieved the highest selling price of any single property in the county.

1 CASTLE Road-cropped

1 Castle Road, Piermont | $5,025,000 USD | Sold: September 2015

“Last year saw many achievements for our firm, demonstrating our continuing success in the luxury market and deep knowledge of the beautiful areas we have proudly served for 30 years,” said Richard Ellis, owner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty.

“All indicators point to a growth market for 2016, given more units are selling, especially in the high end,” he said “We have not truly seen an overall increase in price, but I expect our market will turn that corner this year.”

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors ranked Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty fifth for 2015 Rockland County sales, based on dollar volume, with an average selling price of $781,000 ─ one of the Multiple Listing Service’s highest. The firm also is affiliated with two of the MLS’ top 10 selling agents in 2015: Hamid Moghadam and Richard Ellis.

“We are seeing an increase in clients looking for luxury properties priced greater than $1 million,” Ellis said. “The Hudson River communities continue to be hot markets. More New Yorkers are choosing to search Rockland and Orange counties for properties, and many buyers ─ including international buyers ─ are initiating their property searches based on lifestyle and home features.”