Eye appeal is buy appeal in real estate
By Kristie Moore

Effective home staging can help you sell your home faster, possibly for a higher price. In recent years, home stagers have become even more savvy and in-tune with what buyers want.  


Home staging is the styling and furnishing of a property for sale (occupied or vacant) to enhance its attractiveness and highlight its positive features to potential buyers. Professional home stagers understand the art and strategies of preparing a home for sale. They work with the flow of a home, eliminate clutter, edit and arrange furniture and even assist in curb appeal. The seller can be as involved as they want, hiring help with needed improvements or taking the DIY approach, depending on their needs and budget. 

A vacant listing is when the property is empty and the staging company rents furniture and accessories to the homeowner or listing agent to enhance and “stage” how the home would optimally look when occupied. 

Kelly Harbal of KLHome Staging—located in Owatonna and servicing Southeast Minnesota—says, “Some people think that staging is only for higher-end properties, but really it’s for homes in any price range. When looking at comps (comparisons) for what a home should be priced at, home staging improves the property’s features and increases its desirability, often raising its value.”


While home staging is a type of home design, it is different from interior design. The difference lies in the target audience.

“The goal of staging is to appeal to the masses,” says Emily Fleming, local Rochesterite and designer/stager at Emily Fleming Designs. “In keeping it neutral, it helps potential buyers see themselves in that space. Whereas home decorating or design is more personal, reflecting and focusing on the tastes of the homeowner.” 

Kari Michael from Kariel Staging—located in the Twin Cities and servicing Rochester—agrees. “The space should be kept neutral and minimal in showcasing personal items of the existing homeowner,” says Michael. “Staging is about selling square footage, paying special attention to making rooms appear as open and spacious as possible.”


Our homes tend to be one of our greatest investments. They will always need maintenance and updating over time. Selling your home is going to take time, effort and likely some financial investment. However, you will get it back and then some on the back end if you do it right.

A well-staged home lets the buyer walk in and go on a journey. In the end, it’s more about selling a lifestyle, or a picture of how life could be, than a piece of property.

1. CURB APPEAL Make sure the front yard, sidewalk, front porch or step and front door are looking great. Trim up trees and shrubs, weed landscape, put flowerpots by the front door, make the windows sparkle and show how well-cared-for your property is.
2. DECLUTTER Lots of items in a room (especially personal items), can be a major distraction for potential home buyers attempting to take in the features and imagine how they would live in the space. Take time to declutter.
3. A CLEAN SCENT Strong odors can trigger an emotional reaction. It is best to keep the home smelling minimally fragrant, fresh and clean.
4. LIGHTING Areas that are well-lit appear more spacious and photograph better. Brighter spaces seem happier in contrast to dimly-lit spaces.
5. NO STAINS AND DAMAGES The most cost-effective improvements you can make are a fresh coat of paint and thorough deep cleaning, top to bottom (including carpets), throughout the house.
6. NEUTRAL DECOR If your home has a very specific color palette or style, this can be a stumbling block to a potential buyer. Neutral colors are better.

Kristie Moore is a certified professional home stager and stylist at Soul Purpose Home Solutions in Rochester, MN.