Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

How Staging Landed the Most Unexpected Buyer

My recent clients, Leta and Carl, spent over 20 years in their Hamden, Conn., home. For years they contemplated selling but delayed -- hoping someday one of their daughters would want to raise their own family in the home. However, neither of their daughters had an interest in the property. While it is a beautiful home with more than 2,800 square feet of open living space, it was in need of some updating.

Their daughters are like many of today's younger home buyers, who make up the largest groups of today's consumers. Indeed, Millennials -- the generation under the age of 33 and slightly older Generation X -- represent more than 60 percent of today's home buyers, according to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Many of these younger buyers want an already updated home, but with more than 75 percent of the homes in New England built before 1990 that poses a challenge for today's older sellers, many who likely last updated their home's decor 10-20 years ago. Older, outdated homes may give buyers a lot of reasons to cross the property off their list.

According to real estate pro Megan Stilwell Posner of Julia B Fee, who we recently worked with on her Irvington, N.Y., listing, today's younger buyers only see "what is" and have difficulty visualizing how a space may look with a few simple changes.

"I often walk buyers through a property and they'll comment that they don't like an area rug or paint color," she said. "Those things, which are easily changed or not part of the home at all, influence their decision and often will prevent them from considering a property."

For Leta and Carl's daughters it was even harder to envision their parent's home as anything other than what it looked like the past few years.

So with no family buyer, they brought in our team to stage the home and prepare it for a spring sale. We staged and updated several key rooms -- painting, removing dated wallpaper, and replacing carpeting as well as updating light fixtures and installing new granite counter tops in the kitchen. We then selected modern rental furnishings to style the home to appeal to a young family.

Not only did the home look great but it attracted a buyer immediately -- Leta and Carl's own daughter and her husband who prior to staging couldn't envision the home as an option. After our staging they saw the home as move-in ready and chose to purchase the property before another buyer could make an offer.


What we did: A fresh coat of paint, updated light fixtures, and new furnishings turn this open living and dining room into a modern, inviting space perfect for entertaining.


What we did: Our team repaired damage in the kitchen, shifted the island to open up the layout and provide enough room for a new breakfast nook. New modern, granite countertops brighten the space.


What we did: This bathroom was dark and the wallpaper made it feel outdated. We removed the wallpaper and painted a fresh neutral color to update the space.


What we did: We also removed the wallpaper in this master bedroom, painted, and installed new carpeting. Modern furniture placed just right shows off this large room.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit or


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