Three Questions With . . . Professional stager Karen Van Nort, owner of Staged to Sell/Live LLC.

Hiring a professional to dress the home for success has become one of the bigger trends in home sales. Van Nort has worked as a color consultant for painting contractors, owned a faux-painting business in San Antonio, Texas, and is a member of the board of the Glen Arbor Arts Association.

Her three questions:

What is staging?

Staging is the process of preparing a home for sale. The most important things in staging are clean, clutter, and color. Everything needs to be spotless—fresh paint, clean windows, carpets, tile and grout; clean closets, clean cabinets, clean refrigerator, clean outside and clean yard. A key thing to remember is that the first lookers are the best potential buyers, and they’re not coming back, so you’d better put your best foot forward on day one!

Why hire a professional?

It is hard to be objective about one’s own home. People who work full time or just don’t have the skill to do it may seriously want to consider a professional. With my team I can stage a home in a day where a homeowner might take weeks. As an accredited ASP stager, I have completed an intensive course on staging, taken an exam and received my professional staging accreditation. I am also fully insured.

How long does it take and how much does it cost?

It takes from 30 minutes to two hours to view the home and then an hour or two to prepare an in-depth report, and the cost is usually $75 to $300. I then go over the report with the homeowner, and they decide what steps they want to take next. They can do the work themselves or have me give them a bid. Staging usually takes a day or sometimes two, depending on how large the home is and how much work needs to be done. If the homeowner wants me to do it all, it’s more expensive because I’m packing up stuff as well as rearranging furniture, rehanging pictures etc. Each home is different in its needs: If my assistants and I have to do all the packing up and arranging of furniture it can cost up to $2,000. Still, that’s far less than the first price reduction one would have to take if the home wasn’t selling.

Reach Karen Van Nort at 231-835-0370 or

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