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Walnut Creek Magazine

Preparing your Home for Sale

Mar 13, 2017 04:45PM ● By Fran Miller

Despite rising home values and flocking house hunters, top realtors agree that a well-staged property turns mediocre interiors into stand-outs. Teresa Zocchi, a local agent with Dudum Real Estate Group, considers home staging an essential part of the sale process and offers this service to clients as part of her realty services. “When potential buyers enter your home, they need to envision themselves in the environment. We work hard to create a sense of neutrality,” she says. Zocchi and her stager, Cathy Lee Cibelli of C.L. Design Services, refurnish, redecorate, and reorganize homes so they sell fast—and for the highest possible price.


Stagers know that home-buying isn’t all about logic and numbers. Zocchi says professional staging works because it helps would-be buyers connect to the space—you’ll never see family photographs or personal clutter around. Instead, staged homes hit the market with a clean aesthetic: simple lines, sparse furnishings, and neutral hues sprinkled with bright pops of color. “Staging is so much more than arranging furniture,” says Zocchi. Homeowner’s furnishings are used when possible and supplemented with Cibelli’s décor stock, much of which she sources at HomeGoods.


In hot markets like Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill, where homes sell quickly, clients ask if it’s necessary. Zocchi, who spends upwards of $3k on a staging job, says her work typically brings in higher sale prices. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, an organization for home stagers where Cibelli is president, on average staged homes spend 90% less time on the market and sell within 23 days or less for higher values. “I want perspective buyers to walk away with that wow factor, and I want my sellers to receive top dollar,” says Zocchi. “And staging plays a critical role in the equation. My goal is to make every home sparkle.”


Expert tips on how to make your home market-ready:


  • Clean inside and outside. Wipe walls, clean windows and manicure the yard.
  • Float furniture away from walls. Create cozy conversational groupings.
  • Try furnishings in new spaces; a little-used table can become a desk, or a living room armchair might make a nice bedroom sitting area.
  • Paint walls the same color as drapery to give the illusion of more space.
  • De-clutter rooms and store personal items.
  • Purchase new pillows for sofas and chairs.
  • Paint! A fresh coat of neutral color works wonders.


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