During a recent episode of the Inside Real Estate Podcast, we sat down with Darla Rowley, owner of Impact Home Staging Experts, the largest real estate staging company in Michigan. She shared a ton of great insight into the world of staging, making a very important distinction between staging and interior design (see below).

She said that many sellers look at staging their house from a design perspective which is subjective in nature. While you might enjoy a certain color palette or furniture style, it doesn’t mean anyone else will. As another example, even an expensive, beautiful new living room set could create a negative reaction from a buyer if the set takes up a lot of space in the room.

The problem most sellers have is they look at their home from their own perspective rather than trying to understand what a buyer might think when they walk into the home. Darla talked about the importance of understanding the psychology of your potential buyers and try to stage your home in a way that aligns with that persona.

Ultimately, the home is a product, and, like most other purchases, consumers go online and consult product images and product information before buying. The staging process leaves room for buyers to picture themselves in the home rather than seeing the current home owner’s aesthetic. You wouldn’t want to buy a shirt online that looked wrinkled. Staging is about removing the wrinkles.

While a lot of Darla’s work focuses on vacant properties, her and her team offer consultations and services to current home owners in the process of selling. At a minimum, her team will come to a house and give direction to the home owners for improving the appeal of their home. For just $199, it’s definitely money well spent, especially when the feedback will give the home the best chance to sell.

The conversation also touched on how technology is changing the staging process. Darla said that while staging software can be better than nothing, it often leaves the potential buyers confused by what they see when actually viewing the home. It sets a sort of false expectation that isn’t met upon seeing the home. This is why staging with actual furniture is the better method.

When selling a home, no matter the price, it is absolutely critical to give the home the best chance to sell. It’s not about remodeling a kitchen necessarily. It’s about finding ways to maximize the space and neutralize any personal aesthetic choices. It’s not a simple process, but one that can help drive time on the market down and sale price up.

To listen to the full recording and view all of our Inside Real Estate recordings, click here.