Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Staging and Pricing: Two Parts of a Successful Home Sale; A Carefully Styled Decor Helps Prospective Buyers Imagine Themselves Living in a Space; UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET - MY NEW HOME

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Staging and Pricing: Two Parts of a Successful Home Sale; A Carefully Styled Decor Helps Prospective Buyers Imagine Themselves Living in a Space; UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET - MY NEW HOME

Article excerpt

The inside of the gingerbread house in St. Louis' Southampton neighborhood looks like a picture out of a coffee table book filled with gorgeous houses.

In the home's living room, light and neutral upholstered furniture surrounds an espresso wood glass-top table. The table rests on a light frieze shag rug, and an areca palm sits in a potted basket in the corner. High on one wall hangs a circular mirror, surrounded by a stylish copper frame. The impressions of style repeat throughout the house.

The visitor who thinks the owner of the house is a brilliant home decorator would be wrong. The worker of this magic was a local company called Dazzle Interiors & Home Staging. It's one of a number of St. Louis-area firms that fill homes for sale with "to die for" furniture and accessories in the hope of making them "to buy for."

Staging and pricing are two key aspects of selling a house quickly, with the maximum amount of cash left for the buyer. Home staging can nudge a home's price upward while making the sale faster. But it's not cheap. Depending on a home's size and location, for example, Dazzle may charge anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000.

The company did the makeover on the Southampton neighborhood home for an investment company that bought the property and rehabbed it. "It's definitely changing. Staged homes are becoming the standard," said Dazzle owner Linda Borghi.

Ted Wight, an agent with Diehlmann Sotheby's International Realty in Clayton, said: "I've told some property owners that the only way I'll take a listing is if they have it staged. We find that it's very effective in making a property feel warmer."

The trend toward staging began around 2005 or 2006 when all the unsold homes in the economic downturn forced sellers to add something extra to get the sale, said Liz Connolly of INhance It Home Staging. "There were so many homes on the market then, they were trying to make their homes shine," she said. …

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