By Donna Ison


Professional home stager, Buffy Lawson, spotlights your home’s star qualities.

In Lexington, a home’s average number of days on the real estate market is 73—that is unless it is properly staged. As reported by the National Association of Realtors, using a professional stager, such as Buffy Lawson of The Next Stage, “greatly reduces” that average. Buffy says, “Statistics show that the first thirty sec- onds upon entering a home is typically the amount of time it takes for a buyer to decide if they will purchase the home. A professional stager knows how to create an effortless flow of the home, highlight focal points, and find solutions for difficult areas. Homeowners are looking for a ‘feeling’ and stagers are trained to create that emotion.”

After a successful career as a singer/songwriter, Buffy was ready to find another outlet for her creativity and move on the next stage of her professional life, hence the name of her company. Buffy is a graduate of the internationally recognized Staging Diva® home staging program and is currently attending The New York In- stitute of Art and Design. In addition to using her expert eye to spotlight a home’s best features for buyers, Buffy focuses on reducing stress for the seller by making the process as efficient and pleasant as possible.

According to Buffy, one of the biggest mistakes home sellers make, in most cases, is putting the home on the market empty. She explains, “An empty home can feel cold and emotionless, leaving the buyer to fall in love with walls and floors. An empty home also challenges the buyer to imagine furniture and art placement, which for some is very difficult. A beautifully staged home lays out the functionality of the home as well as creating an emotional connection.”

Of course, as Buffy states, “The exterior is the first thing buyers will see, so it should look fantastic for that first impression.” She suggests clearing away any unnecessary items, making sure the grass is freshly cut, and adding potted flowers as inexpensive ways to make a good impression. However, if the home needs to be painted, this should be considered in the budget, as well as fixing fences, doorbells, and gutters.

For the interior, Buffy shares a few basic rules to ensure your home is ready for its close-up.

Definitely Declutter

“Just when you think you have de-cluttered enough, do it’s that important when selling a property.”

Engage the Ears

“Having relaxing music playing can make a buy- er feel an immediate emotional connection to the home.”

Light it Right

“There are no words to describe how important correct lighting is when showing a property.” Ample accent lighting and excellent quality, battery-operated candles add to the ambiance.

Don’t Make it Personal

“People expect to imagine their family in their new home, not yours. So, taking all personal photos and religious and other such items out of the home is extremely important.”

Paint, Please

“Fresh paint can be a deal changer as it makes a space look new, clean, and bright.” Choose a neutral color that will appeal to the masses.

The Nose Knows

“Pet, mold, and smoke smells are such a turnoff that people are very likely to walk straight out of the door before even seeing the home.”