Even though we've had a signed offer and a binding contract on the condo we staged five months ago, we didn't remove any of our precious fluffing until we were almost ready to close. Why wait so long? Two reasons.

Surprises happen

Until you leave the closing table, the deal isn't done. Sometimes snags and glitches appear at the last minute. Someone gets sick. Or dies. The bank's papers don't arrive. There's a last-minute question about an easement, a will, a lien, a signature.

Whenever real estate changes hands, there are plenty of t's to cross and i's to dot.

If the deal does fall through for some crazy reason, and you have to relist the property, the staging is in place, ready to show. This event is rare, but why take a chance?

Mr. Lucky and I waited, and then spent a few hours the day before our closing on Tuesday, carrying couches, tables, chairs, lamps, and everything else out of the condo. Everything. You don't want to do that all over again, in reverse, the next day.

Staging continues to work for you

The other reason staging should stay is you want your staging working its magic when inspections are done. The buyer of our condo hired a home inspector, and the bank hired an appraiser.

Both these people, on different days, went over the unit looking for problems. It's nice to think that they are objective professionals, filling in blanks, checking off boxes on forms, and multiplying numbers to determine things like square footage, cost per square foot, and bottom-line worth.

But, you know what?

These people can't help but be influenced by how clean a property looks, feels, and smells. Even experts form subjective opinions as they methodically observe and calculate data. Ms. Speedy told us this was true, and other Realtors have told us the same thing. Leave the staging up until all inspectors have come, poked around, and gone.

We loaded our van five times to reclaim the staging furniture 
and props we used to stage the condo we just sold.

Staging serves multiple purposes

Knowing that nuts and bolts people like appraisers and home inspectors are influenced by staging affirms my belief in the value of staging a home on the market.

Even the numbers people can't ignore the value of freshly painted walls, shampooed carpeting, handsome furniture, uncluttered surroundings, and beautiful props.

That's why it surprises me that more homes aren't staged.

Even the big boys miss the point sometimes.  A Realtor friend arranged a tour for me of some luxury condos in our town. These units have been for sale for over a year, and they are all very nice. Yet, the builder has had to reduce the prices gradually until now they are about 40% less than they initially were.

Sure the economy is the problem, but isn't that one more reason to stage?  I expected to see at least one model unit furnished, but no. Hello?

The sellers couldn't find a vase of silk flowers, 
a bowl of some faux lemons, or a colorful teapot 
to liven up this kitchen in what's billed as a luxury condo?  

I'm convinced that our simple staging helped sell our condo. Comparable units in the same complex are still waiting for a buyer.

In fact, for the past month, our Realtor has marched clients past our Sale Pending sign and through our unit after they have walked away from the other units, so they could see "what can be done."

Most people want to move right into their new home. They don't want no stinkin' repairs!

We get to celebrate

To celebrate the closing of our property, Mr. Lucky and I went out to dinner. Together we enjoyed a local favorite -- Low Country steamed seafood -- clams, crab, shrimp, corn, potatoes, and sausage.  What's not to love?

If you are on the fence about staging the home you are selling, I hope I've helped you see the value staging has. My eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, tells you how to do it yourself so you don't have to hire a home stager.