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If you’re ready to trade-up (or downsize), hiring a professional home stager is one easy way to help your home sell faster. Read on for some "staging 411" from Blair Morrison of Kailua-based Windward Coast Design.

Why Should you Stage Your Home?

According Morrison, who co-owns Windward Coast Design with partner Sherry Fahrenwald, there are some distinct advantages to staging your home. 

Staged homes spend less time on the market and usually sell at a higher price. The longer a house stays on the market, the lower price it will attract, so selling faster is always better!

Staging your home provides a good return on investment. According to the National Association of Realtors, a 1-3 percent investment in staging yields an 8 percent return.

Lastly, your online photos will look great! Why is this important? Because 90 percent of buyers decide which homes to see in person based on what they see online.

Partial vs. Complete Staging

A vacant house requires complete staging, which includes full furnishings and accessories.Partial staging, however, can mean two things, according to Morrison.

In some cases, the homeowner has vacated the property and left behind furniture, so the stagers need only add accessories.

In other cases, the homeowner is still living in the home while it is being shown. This is the most challenging type of staging, Morrison said.

“In that case, you need to take into account the size of the family, the ages of the kids in the home and you want them to be able to live in the space and not be too put out with the staging materials so that it disrupts their daily lives as little as possible,” she added.


Help Buyers Feel “At Home”

Staging techniques, including removing personal artifacts such as family photos, help homebuyers imagine a potential property as their home.

“You want the potential buyer to visualize their own photos in the room, not another family’s,” Morrison said. 

Although Windward Coast Designs creates an individualized plan for each property, there are some specific guidelines that Morrison and Fahrenwald use when staging.

“Each space needs its own proportions and scale of furnishings to complement the room, so you need to make sure everything is balanced, clean and uncluttered,” Morrison said. “Then we add texture and pops of something unexpected, such as a bright color or a metallic, to make it special.”

For a welcoming first impression, Fahrenwald and Morrison will often add a detail to the entrance of a home like a small table, armchair, a pot of flowers, or a hanging pot with tropical greenery.

Staging for Oahu

Staging on a tropical island like Oahu presents some specific challenges and calls for a coastal style aesthetic, according to Morrison.

“For example, chrome bath accessories won’t wear as long as other materials in our tropical climate, because they will rust,” Morrison said. Glass wears longer, but it is heavier and more fragile, so these pros and cons must be balanced.

Shipping issues related to living on an island and lower stock in some local retail stores can make replacing inventory difficult.

To mesh with our tropical environment, Windward Coast Design favors cool colors, lightweight furniture, clean lines and natural accents.

“Here in Hawaii, I would not use a lot of heavy furniture or dark colors,” Morrison said. “If you were in a mountain region that might work, but not here.”