Get Your Home Ready to Sell with Tips from Fairfield Home Stager Regina Leahy

There’s no denying that Fairfield County real estate is currently in a seller’s market. While things might not be quite as hot as peak pandemic months, it’s not uncommon for homes in the area to go off the market a few days after they’re listed, and often for over asking price.

Still, it’s important to showcase your home in its best light, especially during the spring and early summer months when home inventory is typically higher. One of the best ways to do that? Home staging. Giving your home a fresh look for real estate photos and open houses can mean a difference of thousands of dollars and one offer vs. multiple.

Here, we chat with Fairfield home stager Regina Leahy, of Simply Staged, about how and why to stage a home to sell.

In the current Fairfield County real estate market, do you still think it’s necessary to stage a home? Why does it help? 

Staging is always a great idea, even in a seller’s market like we have currently. A property that is staged effectively will lure in more buyers and will stand out in the marketplace.  

Staging uses research backed décor choices to help create an emotional connection with buyers and helps them to visualize themselves in the space. In fact, in 2021 staged homes sold, on average, at $40K over list price and were sold approximately 9 days faster than the average days on market (source: RESA).  

A client bedroom before
And after

What are the most important areas to stage in a home? 

The most important areas to stage are what we call the “money rooms” because they have such an impact on the emotional connection of potential buyers. These rooms are the kitchen, dining room, living room and the primary bedroom suite. It is also important to make sure that the entry space is staged and looking its best because buyers tend to form an opinion about a home within the first 20 seconds!  

Is there a certain style or look that buyers in Fairfield-area markets gravitate towards, or that you find sells well? 

Fairfield-area is unique because the buyers are extra savvy and decerning. On-trend, inviting furniture and décor does really well—white or light couches, fresh and decadent white bedding, layered pillows and of course, fluffy white towels in all the bathrooms. We also find that adding pops of greenery around the home really helps convey a fresh look.  

A client’s yoga room before
And after

What are some buyer turnoffs — the things that when you walk into a client’s home, you know you need to fix immediately — that you typically see? 

We often tell sellers that the way we live in a home is not the way that we “sell” in a home. That means that while some looks are perfect for everyday life, we need to address them for a home to present well in photos and walk-throughs.

One buyer turnoff is clutter. While we don’t see the décor in our homes as clutter, it can be seen that way in a buyer’s eye or on camera. So, we tend to advise people to clear flat surfaces, counters, and tabletops and leave only key décor pieces on them.  

A second buyer turn off is lack of natural light. So, we often recommend removing heavy drapery and window treatments. That is because these could be blocking the natural light coming into the home and we want to capitalize on that light by opening up the windows as much as possible. Updating the paint color is another way to enhance the natural light in a space.  

A third buyer turnoff is a choppy space, so we also advice our sellers to arrange furniture strategically and to pick up the throw rugs, such as the ones in bathrooms and in front of sinks in kitchen. That opens the visual lines up to buyers and makes the space feel more cohesive and improves the flow.  

Are there any paint colors you like to use when you stage a home? 

Painting is a great idea since a fresh, updated paint color can truly impact a home’s perceived value in a buyer’s eye. We love to use Benjamin Moore Silver Satin on walls, which is a gorgeous greige that reads well in photos and in person. It isn’t too grey or too beige. White walls are trending right now, and we often go to Benjamin Moore Simply White or Chantilly Lace.  

What are some of your rules or tips for successful staging?  

We love the idea of “pre-packing.” If sellers are living in the home they are staging, we recommend that they pre-pack any personal items they won’t need for the next 60-90 days. That includes clothing, coats, garage items, office items and the like.  

If sellers have children, we love the tip of each child getting a large plastic tub in which to keep their favorite toys and items. When the home is being shown, all toys go into the bin and get tucked away. Caddies in the bathroom are always a great idea because toiletries can be put away under the vanity for pictures and showings, but the space is still usable to the sellers.  

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