What is Home Staging?

Home Staging is the art of decorating a home to sell quickly and for top dollar.  It may be as simple as rearranging what you already have or as complex as bringing in new furniture, accessories or art.

Why does Home Staging boost the selling price of my home?

People shop with logic but they buy with emotion.  If your home looks fantastic and the buyer can immediately imagine living there, they are more likely to make an offer.

In a slow real estate market this is critical because you need to do something to motivate a buyer to make an offer. If the buyer is afraid someone else might buy their “dream home” they will take action.  Otherwise, they’ll feel no pressure to buy because there are lots of properties on the market and prices are dropping in a slow market.

In a hot real estate market, home staging helps because if enough buyers are bidding on your home, the selling price goes up way past your asking price.  Most buyers can’t look past unattractive or disorganized rooms or figure out how their furniture might look in an empty room.

According to HGTV, the #1 mistake home buyers can make is NOT staging their home before putting it on the market.  The International Association of Home Staging Professionals claims that 95% of staged homes sell in an average of 11 days or less and sell for 17% more.  And non-staged homes are on the market for an average of 90 days before they are sold.

Do I have to spend money on staging?

There are things you can do that do not cost anything.  You can use what you already have.  Often the main staging tasks needed are to de-clutter, pare back on furniture and accessories and reposition existing furniture, accessories and art for better balance and flow.  However, we recommend that a home stager be brought in for at least a home staging consultation.  For a small investment, the home stager will provide you with professional advice on what exactly needs to be done to get your home in show-ready condition.

How much does staging cost?

An investment in staging can cost as little as a few hundred dollars for a consultation to several thousand dollars for staging services, furniture and accessory rentals or purchases as well as minor repairs.  The fees also depend upon the size and condition of the home, how much work the owner is willing to do themselves and the price point of the home.  On average, the cost of staging ranges from .5% to 1.5% of the property’s asking price.   Alternatively, the average first price reduction is 7 percent of the asking price and 75 percent of the sellers who do one price reduction eventually do a second.

Who pays for the staging – the homeowner or the real estate agent?

In some cases the real estate agent pays for the initial consultation.  Some realtors will reimburse the owner for the consultation fee only once the home is sold.  However, many owners and realtors look upon it as another fee similar to a home inspection or a real estate lawyer.

What should I do to prepare for a staging consultation?

There really is nothing a homeowner should do to prepare for a consultation.  Unlike most people, professional home stagers can see past a person’s clutter and furnishings. Trying to get organized will waste the homeowner’s time.  If a half-day or full day of staging services is going to follow a consultation, we may request that the recommendations we made in the consultation such as de-cluttering, painting and repairs be done before we come in to rearrange furniture or add accessories.

What if I have a vacant home to sell?

It is imperative to hire a stager in this situation since only 10% of buyers can visualize the potential of a home.  Vacant homes sit on the market even longer than poorly furnished homes; this is why builders always furnish model homes. In addition, with no frame of reference in the form of furniture and accessories, the buyer has no idea if their furniture will fit or what purpose the room serves.

Why can’t buyers or renters just look past the decor and envision themselves living there?

Most buyers and renters cannot look past a cluttered or unappealing room.  And while most of them start out looking for a home based upon logical criteria, they end up purchasing or renting based upon an emotional connection they feel when they’re in the home.

Why can’t the realtor or owner stage a home?

Realtors should spend their time marketing and showing their listings to potential buyers and renters.  Homeowners feel more confident knowing that their realtors are doing this instead of spending hours rearranging furniture, shopping for accessories and managing repairmen.  Owners can’t stage their own homes because they’ve stopped seeing all of its flaws and don’t have the buyer’s eyes that a professional home stager will have.

Why should I hire a stager if my home already looks good and it’s in a great location?

While location is very important, every home that’s for sale can benefit from the objective eye of a professional home stager.  Most homeowners are so used to their home’s flaws they don’t see them anymore.  Also, you cannot view your own home through a buyer’s eyes.  Once your home is on the market, it’s a product that needs to be positioned and it’s not about your taste anymore.

Why can’t I wait to see if my home sells before I stage?

If you wait to stage if it doesn’t sell, it then becomes a stale listing.  You’ll be offered less than the listing price because potential buyers know it’s been on the market for a while. Also, you end up missing out on any interested buyers who first saw your house and decided it wasn’t for them.  It is better to capture them right away when the home looks its best.

Why should I bother making the home look better when the new owners will change it anyway?

While a total kitchen and/or bathroom remodel may be unnecessary prior to selling, the reasons you want to some updates are to eliminate the turn-off that buyers will have when they enter the space and to improve the space just enough so that buyers feel they can move in and wait awhile prior to doing their own updates.  In addition, simple repairs should to be done so that buyers don’t make a mental checklist and offer a lower selling price.

The real estate market is soft – who would want to spend money in a down market?

The softer the market, the more you must differentiate the property from others.  Staging is an investment – not an expense. It can increase profit by increasing the home’s value.  Moreover, by cutting the time the home is on the market, ongoing mortgage, utility and maintenance expenses are reduced.

The real estate market is strong – why should a home be staged?

In a hot market just about every apartment will sell or rent, but the question is when and at what price?  Even if it did sell or rent quickly and at a good price, it doesn’t mean it was sold or rented at its fullest potential.

How does home staging differ from interior decorating?

Home staging is the art and the skill of making a house or apartment attractive to potential buyers or renters by portraying a lifestyle that they aspire to, thereby enabling the home to sell or rent quickly and for top dollar.  Interior decorating is the art of designing to the tastes, preferences and lifestyle of the people living in the home.  Home staging is about decor that is not taste-specific, yet appeals to the profile of the target buyer.

Will having my home staged change the list price of my home?

It should change the price. The magnitude of the change depends on what your house looks like before and after staging.

Should I contact a Home Stager before I call real estate agents?

If your real estate agent is willing to reevaluate their recommended listing price after the home stager has finished transforming your home, you can see the home stager after you’ve hired your real estate agent.  On the other hand, having your home staged before an agent evaluates your home, will allow the agent to see your home in the “best light”!