Here’s How This Real Estate Pro Uses Staging to Get Top Dollar For Every Listing

By making home staging a priority for every one of her listings, this Compass team leader gets top dollar for all of her sellers.

The fact that Dana Green came into real estate through the “back door” set her up for a successful dual career. Leader of The Dana Green Team at Compass in Lafayette, Calif., she also owns The Tailored House, a home staging company.

Green got started in home staging after several years of running a successful marketing and PR company. Clients started asking her if she could also list their homes for sale, so she got her real estate license in 2003 with the intention of referring those sellers to local agents.

“When I told the family whose home I was staging that I’d just gotten my real estate license, they looked at me and said, ‘Please handle it all for us,’” recalls Green. “I did and then I never looked back.”

Fast-forward to 2020 and Green is ranked #23 Individual Agent by Sales Volume in the U.S. by REAL Trends. With over $1.2 billion in real estate transactions closed to date, she’s been the top agent in Lafayette since 2008. Green has also professionally staged and repositioned more than 500 homes for sale in the Lamorinda marketplace, where every one of those listings is staged by her team, and at no cost to her clients.

Here are Green’s top tips for using home staging to get top dollar on every listing:

Treat it like a business.

Working with a local moving company; several warehouses filled with furniture and accessories; and a systematic approach that even includes inventory management, The Green Team takes home staging very seriously. For example, it contracts with the movers for every Monday and Thursday, during which time the team is either breaking down a staged home (for delivery back to the warehouse) or setting one up. “We set budgets at the beginning of the year, review our stock regularly, and update our merchandise to make sure the furniture and accessories are rotated.”

Don’t try to change too much.

“You can’t take a traditional house and make it all modern,” Green says, “but you can come up with a ‘transitional style’ of modern and traditional that will appeal to both types of buyers. For example, an older home that hasn’t been updated recently and is filled with antiques may not immediately appeal to a younger family. However, with the right adjustments to the flooring, paint, and decorations, the same abode can be “transitioned” into a more welcoming space for a wider swath of buyers. “You can really do a lot with paint, flooring, lighting, and furniture,” Green says.

Create space that pops.

Green works with a lot of young families with multiple children, which makes bedrooms a particularly important consideration. Stage a 4/3 with three bedrooms and an office and the immediate response will be: there aren’t enough bedrooms for all of us. “You always need to show bedrooms, then give them the option to turn one into an office or workout room if they want to,” says Green, who tells agents to be careful when staging open family rooms, and particularly if they are the main entertainment area for the house. “If you put a loveseat and a chair in the room, people are going to assume there’s not enough room for everyone to sit,” says Green, “so be sure to create a place that looks like there’s enough space for someone to say, ‘Wow, this really works for us.’”

As a final tip, Green tells agents to get as much stuff up off the ground as possible, and particularly in closets (where mounds of clothing and shoes can easily accumulate). “People want to see space and they want to imagine their families and their things in that space,” says Green. “That’s hard to do when there are mounds of unnecessary stuff on the floor.”