Ellen Henderson says she’s one of those people who can’t step into a room without thinking about how to make it look better with new paint or décor.

“It’s kind of a sickness,” she says.

It may be, but she’s turned her affliction into a successful Miami Valley home staging business, Hen Home Staging & Design, in Beavercreek.

“Homes that are professionally staged sell faster and for more money,” says Henderson, who started her business in 2007 after earning a certificate as an Accredited Staging Professional. Data from the International Association of Home Staging Professionals says staged homes sell, on average, in 11 days or less and for 17 percent more.

Most buyers today have looked online before they step into a Realtor’s office, Henderson says. “Having a home professionally staged really helps the photos used for marketing. They tend to be the homes that bubble up on the short list buyers want to see.”

Henderson—who is also a licensed agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Professional Realty in Beavercreek, making her the only dual Realtor and home stager in the area—points out staging isn’t just home decorating.

“Staging is about neutralizing colors, opening up space and showing the square footage and amenities of the home,”—what she calls the “three ‘S’s.”

The first is space. “Buyers have to see the space. You’re not selling your things, you’re selling your house,” she says. “Often buyers can’t see the space because people have way too much furniture.”

Using a dining room as a playroom may make sense for the owner, but Henderson says, “How you live in your house now is not how it should look when you go to sell it.”

Style is also critical. “We want as many people as possible viewing the property,” she says. “I think sometimes sellers fall in the trap of being very style-specific. The purple bathroom may not work for everybody.” The goal should be to make the property look like a model home and help the prospective buyer envision their items in the space, Henderson says.

Finally, the property needs to be spotless. “This is time when people need to invest in a professional cleaning service or get friends and family in and really do some deep cleaning, because buyers expect a lot, regardless of price point,” says Henderson, who charges $150 for an initial one-hour consultation.

“Home staging,” she says, “is far less expensive than your first price reduction,” if a home doesn’t sell immediately.

To learn more, visit yoursellinellen.com.