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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 3, 201212:00 PM EST

Five in Focus: Becky Harmon


Becky Harmon stages homes for a living and teaches others how to do so as president of Transformation Staging and Interior Redesign School. Harmon also is president of the Jacksonville chapter of the Real Estate Staging Association. She has 18 years of experience in design that includes a client list of C-level executives.

What does “staging your home for sale” mean?
Real estate staging is simply enhancing one’s home for a quicker, more profitable sale. The home will sell in half the time, according to national professional staging statistics, and get 6 to 10 percent more money. Also, agents are 50 percent more likely to show a staged home to their clients.

What are the basic changes you make when you stage a home?
Staging involves removing unsightly clutter, rearranging furniture, adding neutral accessories or fine silk plants, if needed, to create a pleasing, model-like atmosphere. It involves advice on curb appeal, wallpaper removal and paint color changes. We help the homeowner decide whether or not they should upgrade countertops, fixtures and/or flooring to compete with other sellers in the area. Staging the photo session is critical because 90 percent of buyers look online now before deciding which homes to tour.

Any tips for people who aren’t selling their homes but want to spruce them up?
Homeowners spend a lot maintaining and detailing their cars and boats but neglect their most valuable asset. A house is not just a house. It’s a living, breathing thing. It reflects your soul, your inner sanctum. New wall color is the easiest and least expensive way to breathe life into a dated home. An average of 1 percent of your home’s value should be spent annually to keep it updated and maintained.

Are there any common mistakes you see in keeping a home in shape?
The most common mistakes that I see are do-it-yourself remodels that will detract from the home’s value, for example, too many different types of flooring in one living space. A quick consultation can prevent a property disaster. HGTV programs can give false confidence.

What is your prediction for home sales this year?
I am optimistic about 2012. I have trained stagers all over the country and they are all seeing a major uptick in buying. We just got a call about a staged luxury home selling in a month and when we identified a curb-appeal problem, another home sold in a matter of weeks.

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