Robert Jory offers relief in the daunting task of getting your home ready to sell

The staged living room, left, is both minimal and cozy, while the cluttered home, right, will lack appeal for potential buyers.

By Jonanna Widner

Selling your house isn’t just an ordeal, it’s a competition. As potential buyers head to sites like or for research, those sites offer peeks inside to give an idea how the house can be used.  Does yours look like a livable space or is it a click away from missing out?

Dallas Realtor and stager Robert Jory offers tips on both preparing your home to sell and when it’s time to call in an expert. Staging can sometimes be just a deep cleaning and clever furniture rearranging, but Jory points out that every so often he needs to point people in the right direction. And with so many, getting started it can be overwhelming.

“We provide basic staging services free, like arranging furniture and giving color advice,” he says. “We point out to the homeowner what needs to be packed away and which furniture needs to be removed.  A lot of staging is removing and arranging furniture in an appealing way. “

It’s all a trick of the eye. Less furniture makes a room look larger. This is good, but staging should convey something about the house’s character and still resonate with a buyer. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial investments anyone will make and a lot of emotion goes with that.

“If you can create a good emotional feeling then you are 80 percent of the way to selling that home,” Jory says. “Balance is key. You don’t want potential buyers spending all their time admiring items. People feel good about homes where there is no clutter and a minimal amount of decorative items.”

Robert Jory

Clutter is a big issue and Jory stresses that point the most. If but one thing is to be done before anything else, he advises to edit down. Even if there isn’t time to set up or stage everything else.

“De-clutter!” he exclaims. “It is very difficult for people to remove the items they have lived with for years.  They don’t realize how much stuff they have.”

While you create the ideal image of both a house and home, ironically you don’t want it to be too personal. Family pictures, odd souvenirs, religious and political items might steer potential buyers away.

“You don’t want the buyers to be thinking of you,” he says “you just want them thinking of your great home.”
Of course, Jory could just do the work for you. Depending on your budget, his job can be to do the quick stuff of arranging the house, or it can extend to repainting a room and even new furniture of the temporary kind.

“After we provide a free home preparation report which outlines repairs and improvements room by room, then the homeowner can choose what they want to do depending on their budget,” he says. “After improvements are made, we come out and stage the home with either the homeowner’s furniture or sometimes we’ll use rental furniture or provide our own if available.”

For this market, such lengths are worthwhile. The goal is to sell and a nicely wrapped package can do just that.

“Ultimately, if [a buyer] falls in love with the home, it’s sold,” he says. DH

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.