By Cassie French

First off, what the heck is Occupied Home Staging vs. Vacant Home Staging? We all know what vacant means, it is hiring a professional home stager, like Classy AF Interiors to provide all furniture, art and accessories to stage a home for sale. Occupied Home Staging services utilizes already existing furnishings with our furnishings, art and accessories added to complete the luxurious look to appeal to a wider pool of buyers. By removing or adding pieces, altering the layout of a space, we create an inviting home that is sure to impress. Staging a home for sale even if you are currently living in the home is just as important, if not more important than staging a vacant property. 
  1. You can’t see what’s wrong with your own house. You are bias to your taste or how your house has always looked. It is hard to imagine the room lay out any different than how your house has looked for the last few years. Styles and trends have changed (especially with furniture) since the time you probably purchased your furniture. Sometimes homeowners have big and bulky furniture that is functional for their family, but it doesn’t show off the house and wouldn’t be the best for pictures on the MLS. In 2020, 97% of home buyers used the internet to search for a home. And 63% of buyers made an offer on homes sight unseen. In Orange County, that could be over a million-dollar purchase just on pictures alone! I’m guilty of this, my situation is different because it was an investment property and I was focused on the amount of return on investment the monthly rental fees brought in but still, I have yet to actually walk through the property!
  2. You have too much furniture- Think about it, you have lived in your home for years and have accumulated so many things. A good example of this would be kitchen appliances. A coffee maker you leave on the counter all year long because it’s practical and a part of your daily routine. Most homeowners wouldn’t think to put it away or even declutter their cabinets in the kitchen. I always suggest to clients who are looking to list their house on the market to rent a pod and put all the items they don’t need immediately and can wait to be reunited with at their own home. Taking away more furniture and personal items.  
  3. Staging is different than living in a home- There is a difference between living in your house which is to suit your daily needs and activities/interests and the other is to sell your home! These different goals do not translate to one another and that is why it is always good to consult with a home stager. Wikipedia defines Staging as “the goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by insuring it is a welcoming, attractive product that any buyer can see himself/herself living in and, thus, desire to purchase.”
  4. Even the Best Interior Designers selling their home have a hard time staging their own house- I saw an episode of Million Dollar Listing, a house owned by an interior designer was listed for sale. When they were showing the house it was gorgeous but I also noticed how much stuff was on the walls and how much furniture in the rooms. It had a very specific taste and probably did not translate to a bigger buyer pool. The house was on and off the market many times and it made me think how even Interior Designers with the best taste can still not objectively look at their house. I am actually guilty of this myself! When I saw that episode, I went back to pictures of our home which we recently sold in Orange County. We couldn’t understand why people weren’t as interested in our home as much as we were. One of the big obstacles was the lower ceilings on the first floor, which we couldn’t change. The other was how I staged our living room. I left the sectional couch, which was very practically for our family of 5 but it kept the main living room closed off, which is not good when you’re staging a house.
  5. Depersonalizing your home- When buyers walk into a house, the don’t want to feel like they are invading your home. This is why you need to hire someone who knows how to do Occupied Home Staging. Having personal items out like pictures of your family on the walls or on every surface of the home makes buyers focus on who is currently living in the home, do I know this family, rather than looking at the house. Buyers feel uncomfortable being in your space and in return they spend less time at the house. Buyers spend an average of 6 minutes in a home deciding if they want to see more or put in an offer. The longer someone spends in the home, the more likely they are contemplating their future in the house!  
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