Home Staging: Expert Q&A

Why Home Staging is a Smart Investment ~ Expert Q&A Part 1

Home Staging Set a Scene in Madison WI Homes for Sale

Recently, we had the pleasure of talking with Katie Rusch, a Madison-area interior designer, home staging expert, and home décor extraordinaire!

Katie had so much great stuff to share with our ROOST readers, that we’ll be sharing our conversation with her in four installments, this week and next.

Check out Part One below – and stay tuned for more!

ROOST: Hi, Katie! Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, your business, and how you got into staging and design work?

KATIE RUSCH: I’m a native Philadelphian, transplanted to the Midwest about 15 years ago—so now I can tell you where to go for a good fish fry and Old Fashioned (Big 10 Pub) and where to get a real cheesesteak (Pat’s). I’m also wife to Brett, and mom to three-year-old Sam R., who told me to tell you that his favorite color is purple.

I’ve been involved in home design for as long as I can remember—not playing with Barbie, but redecorating her mansion with discarded wallpaper samples and fabrics scraps from dad’s sewing bin; watching Furniture to Go as a teenager instead of My So-Called Life; using college apartments to practice cutting in a good paint edge.

So I suppose it was just a natural evolution when I started katie rusch design two years ago. I specialize in residential interior design, both in-home and online. I provide do-it-yourselfers with plans for refreshing their rooms, managing full-scale renovations, and helping sellers prepare for the big sale.

ROOST: Let’s talk about that last piece – preparing homes for sale. Why is home staging so important when trying to sell a home? What kind of difference can staging make?

Home staging helps homes for sale in Madison WI real estate

KATIE: Besides not wanting to see your house end up on terriblerealestateagentphotos.com, there’s really only one reason to have your home staged before putting it on the market: Your house will sell more quickly and for more money.

Here’s why:

Better photographs.

The home shopping process begins long before a buyer steps through your door. With online listings and apps like Zillow and Trulia, buyers decide whether to see your house in person or eliminate it as an option, just by looking at your photographs. To end up on more buyers’ “must-see” lists, your photographs need to appeal to a broad base of buyers. Staging does exactly that: a stager strategically edits your home to create a welcoming look that is not really taste specific. This way, buyers think of your house as fresh and functional, and not in terms of your decorating style.

Buyers can envision themselves living there more easily.

A lot of us say we can look past things like décor and paint colors that don’t reflect our tastes, clutter, or your kid’s poster of Miley Cyrus. But in reality, only about 10% of buyers can do so. To attract more buyers, a stager will create little scenes—a book, a mug, a plaid wool blanket draped over an armchair next to your fireplace, a dining table set for a casual dinner for four, a bag of bocce balls, a few wine glasses, and a pile of logs by the firepit in the backyard. These scenes are meant to help buyers picture themselves drinking cocoa next to your fireplace, eating a family meal in your dining room, or entertaining friends out in the yard.

You get an objective look at your house.

Our houses are wrapped in emotion and memory; it’s difficult to be objective about that. But in order to make a sale, you have to be. A stager can help you see the strengths and flaws of your house—items that you might not even notice.

ROOST: Is there any research into the value staging can add?

KATIE: Do you like statistics? Then here you go!

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that a staged house will sell, on average, 17% higher than an empty or unedited house.

In tests selling identical homes, un-staged homes sold in 102 days, while staged homes sold in 45 days (according to the Real Estate Staging Association).

According to the National Association of Realtors, an investment of 1-3% of the asking price results in an 8-10% return.

Stay tuned until Friday for Part 2 of our conversation with Katie. In the meantime, check out Katie’s website and incredibly helpful blog!