Hinson stages homes to sell

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By Sherry Archie

Trying to sell your house? You’re not alone.  

There are about 415 houses on the market in Lancaster County alone.   

With so much competition, you might be interested in one of the latest concepts available to help sell your house faster – home staging.  

Judy Hinson, who’s sold real estate for more than 20 years, recently earned certification as an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP).  

Staging is creating a feeling in the room that makes buyers want to come in and stay a while.

“It takes the buyer of today just 15 seconds to decide if they want to walk through the rest of the house or just leave, so stagers make the first impression a wow factor,” Hinson said. “Buyers in today’s market see a house as it is, not as it is going to be. Stagers make it appealing in lots of different ways so that the buyers can see themselves living there and loving each and every space.”

Barb Schwarz created the concept 37 years ago as a Realtor in the Seattle area. Her home-staging concept grew in popularity quickly.

In 1999, she developed a training program for those who wish to follow in her footsteps and spread home staging throughout the country – the ASP, for those who successfully complete this intensive training. Today, there are more than 2,500 ASP chapters in the world.

“Right now, 94.6 percent of staged homes sell in 35 days or less, even with our current economic challenges,” said Schwarz, who has appeared on ABC’s news magazine, “20/20” and other TV programs. “Homes not staged remain on the market 178 days or longer. So, you can definitely see the value in the home staging concept.”

Hinson said the ASP home-staging concept is simple and includes the “seven C’s of staging”:    

1) Clean: “Q-tip clean,” meaning light switch plates, baseboards, vinyl siding, sidewalks, decks, everything

2) Clutter free: If you’re living in your home while it’s on the market, you’re going to have to pack anyway whenever you sell it. It’s best to do it now. Clutter eats equity.

3) Color: Lighten and brighten walls to make rooms appear larger. Dark wall colors make the walls appear to move in. Use neutrals to appeal to more buyers.

4) Compromise: Trust the home stagers advice on what needs to stay and what should go. Personal items such as family pictures must be removed.

5) Creativity: The home stager will use the home owners items whenever possible, just creatively rearranging them to catch the eye of the buyer.

6) Communication: The home stager will help you with questions.

7) Commitment: Remember, the goal is to sell the property.

How it works

Hinson begins her staging projects with an initial visit.

“On the first visit, I take photos, talk to the owner and leave my career book for them to look at while I quietly go through each room and devise a mental plan and make notes. In doing this, I decide which items, I want them to keep out for me to use in accessorizing their house once the to do list is complete,” Hinson said. “All other accessories can be packed away for the move.”

On the next visit, Hinson returns with a consultation report, listing the changes that are recommended. At this point, the owner can elect do the work or they can hire Hinson to complete the work with her crew.  

To be certified as an  ASP-staged home, the work must be completed to guidelines, and then it will be listed on the StagedHomes.com Web site.

Kim West had her parents’ former home staged by Hinson.  

The house was empty so West and Hinson worked together to add room settings to show the home’s functionality.

West said staging helps prospective home buyers visualize how they can use the space.

“By seeing a king-sized bed in the master bedroom, for example, they will see that there is plenty of room for their own king sized bed,” West said. “Or by seeing a sofa with three cushions they may associate it with their own that is similar in size.”

Schwarz said three is the magic staging number.

“On an end table, I suggest adding a lamp, silk arrangement, and a book,”  Schwarz said.

“These also display varying heights: high, medium and low.  This provides an attractive look without overcrowding.”

Other areas of staging

There are many different styles of staging such as staging to sell, staging redesign, staging for seniors, staging to live, staging commercial buildings and set design.  

Hinson said she can also meet movers and stage a new home for people moving in.  This takes the stress out of moving for them, Hinson said.

All they have to do is come and all the unpacking is done and the home is ready for them to walk in and start living, she said.

Hinson hopes to make this part of her business.

“It is very difficult for seniors to declutter, pack up, store and think about leaving their home,” Hinson said. “I am certified to go in and help with that and on the move to end. I can help with getting their new home ready for them using some of their existing belongings. This makes for a better transition.”

To contact

Hinson, who worked as a Coldwell Banker agent in Lancaster until August, is now working full-time from her home as an ASP home-staging professional.

You may contact her at (803) 804-1552 or at jshinson@comporium.net.