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Setting the stage

Sharol Opdahl of Granite Falls is getting into the business of getting houses ready to sell

January 23, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

GRANITE FALLS - It's always important to put your best foot forward, especially when trying to sell a house, Sharol Opdahl said. And that's where she hopes to come in.

Opdahl, a Granite Falls resident, is starting up her own business as a home stager. Through Sharol's Staging Services, Opdahl said she can help area homeowners get their property ready to sell.

"It's something I've always been interested in," Opdahl said, and there weren't many people offering home staging services in this part of the state.

Article Photos

Photo by Deb Gau
Granite Falls resident Sharol Opdahl is getting into the business of home staging, or making homes for sale look more attractive to potential buyers. Opdahl said staging a house doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be as simple as removing clutter or using a more neutral paint color on the walls.

Home staging services are all about cleaning, fixing up or redecorating a residence to increase its appeal for prospective buyers. Home staging can be very effective in helping to sell a residence more quickly, and can have a large return on investment, Opdahl said.

Home staging doesn't have to mean renovating your house, Opdahl said.

"Work with what you have, is how I think," she said.

Often, simple changes like getting rid of clutter make a huge difference.

"A lot of times, that's all you have to do," she said. "Sometimes, it's just cleaning and dusting." Prospective buyers like to see some furniture in a home to get a sense of what the space would be like, she said, but having lots of extra decorations or belongings in a room can be a turn-off.

Other simple changes, like some new curtains or a more neutral paint color on the walls, can also make a room more appealing.

Opdahl said she offers free estimates for her services. She can also do consultations, she said, and provide a "to-do list" for homeowners who would rather do their own staging work.

"Another area I'm interested in is vacant homes," Opdahl said. Staging an unoccupied home would involve bringing in some temporary furnishings to give prospective buyers a better sense of the space in the home. "I really think it could help for some houses that are standing empty."

In September, Opdahl completed a certification course to become a home staging expert. The course was offered through Center Stage Home, a Minneapolis-based staging company that works with realtors and homeowners, and it included 40 hours of hands-on training. During training, Opdahl and other students helped spruce up a variety of homes that were going on the market, including redecorating an apartment and refurbishing a finished basement to draw more attention to its fireplace.

"It was a lot of fun, and it was fun meeting people," Opdahl said. "The time went by fast."

Opdahl said southwest Minnesota is her planned service area for home staging. At the moment, she's trying to get the word out about her business. From there, she said, "What happens, happens."

"I think the biggest thing with this will be word-of-mouth," she said.



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