When people hear ‘home staging’ they often think of ‘vacant staging’, in which a staging company clears out all of your stuff and brings in their own new furniture and decor to stage the house from scratch. With this vacant staging, though, you are not allowed to live in the house while it is staged. How inconvenient! Enter ‘Occupied Staging’. 

Occupied Staging a type of home staging that uses the homeowner’s existing furniture to stage the home. This allows them to remain living there during the selling process. You may be thinking… 

‘What is the point of bringing in a stager if I am just using my stuff anyway?

The home you have created served as a functional place for your family to live, where personal flair was added to make it your own. However, during the selling process, ‘live-in’ prevents buyers from picturing themselves in the home and making an emotional connection that would lean them into making an offer. In order to ‘de personalize’ and show the home in the best light there are a few things we do:

  • Options: Redesign (cosmetic improvements to update and upgrade the home for a higher resale value)
  • Reimagine the floor plan (less function, and more showcase)
  • Declutter (store excess decor and furniture that makes the space feel smaller)
  • Depersonalize (take away anything that tells the story of your family and your individual style so the home appeals to a wider audience)
  • Style/stage (use what is left to show the home it it’s best, most well-designed, light that people will be attracted to)

Occupied Staging utilizes existing furniture and decor as much as possible, and often mixed with accessories, décor, and artwork rented from the stager, to create a combined presentation that appeals to buyers.

‘Why rent anything if you are using my existing furniture?’

In occupied staging it is rare that you would be renting any furniture. Our rule of thumb is, if I can’t carry it and move it myself up a set of stairs, I don’t rent it out. So we rely mostly on the furniture that is in the home (with the exception of some console tables, benches, or small occasional chairs and ottomans as needed). However, most people do not own a stockpile of extra artwork that can replace the empty spaces where personal photos used to hang. During the de-personalization process many family photos are removed, and these spaces need to be filled. The same goes for tables and shelves. Certain books, momentos, and other nik naks are not ideal for staging a house to cater to the average buyer – they are personal, religious, or too niche. When these things are packed away, neutral curated decor is often rented to style these areas. Not all occupied stagers have an inventory and many rely solely on what is in the home – however, at Unshelf we have inexpensive artwork and accessories on hand to help create the best spaces for the highest resale.

There are some caveats to this. Because you and your family continue to live in the home, there is a chance of our rented items getting damaged or going missing. For this reason, it is solely the homeowners responsibility to ensure they are returned in the same condition they received or pay the value of the item (ours are listed on our website). Some items cannot be rented out to certain households: Ex – Area rugs, while available, are not rented out to people with dogs or young children.

That said, there are many items with a low risk of getting damaged or going missing that have a huge impact on the presentation of the home, with the added convenience of being able to stay where you are during the entire selling process. WIN!

Why Should You Consider Occupied Staging

Occupied Staging Is Convenient

Moving and selling your home is crazy enough as it is, what with all the touch ups and packing and trying to live with ⅔ of what you usually have at your disposal. Why add the extra stress of crashing with a friend or family member, or trying to make your home ‘sellable’ all on your own (it’s not like you have kids or a job or anything… right?). When you hire a professional occupied stager (That’s us) you are able to stay where you are and ensure your house stands out in a competitive market with much less effort from you. The point of Occupied Staging is creating a balance between clearing away personal belongings and creating spaces where people can imagine themselves living there (read: not clearing away all ‘personality’ that makes the house feel like a home).

Occupied Home Staging is an Investment

Occupied home staging is an investment, not a frivolous expense. You’ll recoup your money when you sell the house. According to The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), a typical investment of 1% of list price with a professional stager has given 75% of sellers a Return of Investment of 5-15%. And because Occupied Home Staging doesn’t require the rental of expensive furniture, it costs only a fraction of the cost of vacant staging. 

Your Home Will Sell Faster

Staged homes spend 90% less time on the market than unstaged homes based on a RESA study. The longer your house sits on the market, the more likely you are to have to consider a price reduction – one that very likely outweighs the cost of staging. Occupied home staging will make your house more competitive. 

First Impressions are Key for Selling

The first impression starts with the online listing, where professional photos are your only hope of attracting someone to book a showing. So what is being photographed? Is it an inviting home that speaks to them? Or a house that looks like ‘work’ and stress. But people don’t usually buy from a photo alone (which is why virtual staging is not recommended), and that first impression must now extend to the showing. When buyers visit your home, they make a quick decision based on curb appeal and if the home tells them a story they want to be a part of. 

As time has gone on your collection of ‘things’ has grown, junk drawers spill out, laundry stacks get taller, and counter space runs short. These things remind people of daily stress and that is not the story you want people to see when they enter. Stagers declutter, depersonalize, and showcase your home’s best features (like walking in to see a fireplace and not the back of the couch) so potential buyers can experience their best lives there. 

Let Us Transform Your Home 

A great Occupied Home Stager is like a great makeup artist – they know how to work with form and function to make their subject look the best they possibly can with what they already have! It is this creativity and love for beautification and real estate that drives us to prep houses for sale in a way that brings in more money, faster! AKA: Our Occupied Staging Services are intended to increase the perceived value of your home, and shorten the amount of time on the market. Through a customized plan for your home, we transform your greatest asset to work harder for you. 

Curious what your home looks like in it’s best light? Contact us for a consultation.

Want to know more about Occupied Staging? Take a listen to owner Sarah Kirkpatricks explain it on our Facebook post!