"Think about your favorite store: the way it looks, the music that's playing, the way you feel when you step inside. That's the mood you want to re-create when you stage your house. Appeal to the emotions of the buyer, and the agents, appraisers, and inspectors, too. All these people are crucial to the sale of your house. Once you've staged your house, keep it staged every day so it really pays off for you. If you went to your favorite store and the lights were off, you wouldn't go in. If it was dirty and there were clothes all over the floor, you wouldn't want to buy there. The same is true of your house. When it is for sale, you want lights on, music playing, and plenty of space for buyers to move around. This allows them to mentally move into your home so they will want to make it their own.
Staging is very visual. It is all about presentation. It aims to make things pleasing to the eye. Enthusiasm and passion are a part of Home Staging, too. The Home Staging system is now time-tested. It has helped to sell thousands, if not millions of homes in the United States and Canada, and in several other countries as well. No one will buy a home until they can mentally move in. That is hard to do when the rooms are full of clutter and too much furniture."
Source: Home Staging by Barb Schwarz
Staging Vs. Decorating
A home stager is similar to an interior decorator; with expertise in planning and choosing colors, fabrics, and furniture, and arranging them all in a way that makes your home look its best.
But a good home stager brings a few extra things to the mix. The stager is not focused on creating a home that suits your personal taste and need for everyday comforts, but instead on making your home appeal to a broad range of tastes. Livable or not—probably not, after you've hidden the toaster, toothpaste, and laundry hamper—the idea is for the stager's work to help people fall in love with your place and want to buy it.
More specifically, here's what a stager might do to get your house ready for sale:
Examine your home from top to bottom, and explain -- ideally in a written report -- what should be done to get it ready. Together, you and the stager can review the recommendations and costs, and develop a plan of action.
Identify specific ways to highlight your home's best features and compensate for its shortcomings. For example, the stager might recommend removing curtains from a window that has a great view; or, in a small bedroom, replacing the double bed with a twin or even a baby's crib, in order to make the space look larger.
Recommend which items of your furniture and household possessions should stay in the house and which should be removed before an open house or showing. Be prepared to have to either move or place into storage the majority of your possessions, so as to de-clutter and depersonalize your house. This will, of course, be much easier if you've already moved into your next abode.
Help you arrange for recommended repairs or other major work on your home -- by lining up contractors, carpenters, painters, and landscapers, and overseeing their work. (You'll normally pay their bills separately, however.)
Bring in furniture, art work, curtains, carpets, pillows, and even artful-yet-homey objects like a bowl of oranges (either real or high-quality fakes!), potted orchids, and a welcoming doormat. Many stagers keep warehouses of this stuff, all carefully matched and chosen to make your house feel like a place where people can live their dream life.
Add finishing touches before an open house or major showing. For example, the stager might add fresh flowers, or put a pie in the oven on low heat in order to waft delicious aromas through the house.
If all of this is making you feel uncomfortable—like you're employing someone to work a little trickery—keep in mind that they're only manipulating aesthetic perceptions. You'll still need to be open and honest about the house's physical condition, in your disclosure statements and elsewhere. Meanwhile, however, you have a house to sell, and there's no harm in making it look its best—perhaps even giving the new owners some ideas about how they'll want to decorate.