If you’re putting your home on the market so you can embark on your relocation or retirement dream, you may have considered home staging to increase the chances of a quicker sale. And if you’re lucky, maybe even encourage multiple bidders and a higher sales price.
But does home staging really work?
Making your house more attractive to prospective buyers is an essential part of marketing a home, and home staging can help with that. You’ll want to do the math and weigh the potential payoff, including a shorter time on the market and a higher sales price, against the investment.
What Home Staging Is
Home staging goes beyond cleaning, de-cluttering, painting, and making minor repairs. Home stagers have expertise in planning and choosing furniture and accessories, and arranging them in a way that shows off your home to its best advantage so that it appeals to a broad range of buyers. Staging a home is about creating a mood – and setting the stage for a buyer to visualize themselves living in the home.
Home Staging Costs
Costs vary depending on local demand, the state you live in, and whether the home is vacant or furnished. Our research shows that fees range from $500 to $5,000, depending on square footage and the number of rooms staged. You may pay for an initial consultation, then a monthly fee for each month your home remains on the market. For example, for a home with existing furniture, costs range from $700 per month in Iowa, to $4800 per month in California for a two-month staging effort.
If the home is vacant and you want the entire home staged, expect to pay more. However, it’s not necessary to stage every room; according to some staging experts, the most important rooms to stage are the living and dining room and the master bedroom and bathroom.
To find out more about home staging, you can visit the Real Estate Staging Association’s (RESA) website.
Advantages of Home Staging
According to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging, staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market. Here are some detailed findings from the report:
- 39 percent of sellers’ agents said that home staging greatly decreases the time on market; 23 percent said it slightly decreases the time on market.
- 77 percent of buyers’ agents said that staging a home makes it easier for buyers to “visualize the property as their future home,” with 40 percent of potential buyers more willing to visit a staged home they first saw online.
- 49 percent of buyers’ agents said that staging has an effect on most buyers; another 48 percent said that staging has an effect on some buyers’ opinion of a home, but not always, and 4 percent said that it has no impact on buyers.
- Realtors representing both buyers and sellers agreed that the living room is the most important room in a home to stage, followed by the master bedroom, the kitchen, then the yard or outdoor space.
- 31 percent of buyers’ agents reported that staging a home increases its dollar value by 1 to 5 percent; while 13 percent said that staging increases the dollar value 6 to 10 percent, and 25 percent said it has no impact on dollar value.
- 29 percent of sellers’ agents reported an increase of one to five percent in dollar value; 21 percent reported an increase of 8 to 10 percent, and 5 percent reported an increase of 11 to 15 percent.
A 2013 study conducted by Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) looked at 170 staged properties valued at $300,000 to $499,000, and found that staged homes sold in 22 days, compared to an average on-market time of 125 days for un-staged homes.
Other statistics are less clear on a correlation between home staging and increased sales price. According to a study conducted by real estate professors and researchers published in 2015 by the Journal of Housing Research, it’s not clear that staging contributes to higher selling prices.
The study’s authors concluded that monetary benefits from staging are indirect, and that staging alone is not enough to result in a higher selling price. However, Michael Seiler, a professor of real estate and finance at the College of William & Mary, and one of the study’s authors, said that staging can improve a home’s sense of livability and contribute to selling a home faster. Seiler said, “I’m not about to say that staging is a waste, since time is money, [and] the shorter the home is on the market, the more money stays in the seller’s pocket.”
Other Benefits of Home Staging
Less time on the market and the potential for a higher selling price are powerful incentives for staging your home, but there are other considerations as well.
Other benefits include:
- Supplying a move-in ready home: Many buyers want a home they can move into and enjoy instantly; research shows that a significant percentage of buyers are willing to pay more for move-in ready homes.
- Standing out among competitors: Even if the market isn’t excessively competitive in your area, you’ll still want to stand out against neighboring homes on the market, including new construction.
- Staged homes are easier to market: Many home buyers start their search online; the interior of a staged home will photograph and show better online and in printed marketing materials, attracting more buyers to the marketing information, and to the home.
- Staged homes make it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living there: This is especially true after a move-out, or before a property has been occupied.
All that said, staging isn’t always necessary. In a hyper-competitive market, where listings don’t stay on the multiple listing service for very long, staging may not be required to sell the home quickly.
If You’re On a Budget
Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) CEO Shell Brodnax says you can still do a lot of staging work for under $1,000, especially if you do some of the work yourself. These improvements include fixing clogged shower heads, slow drains, and leaky toilets; putting down mulch and planting fresh flowers on the exterior; and keeping all rooms clean, as well as removing clutter more generally.
Brodnax says if you can’t stage every room, focus on the main living areas, such as the living and dining rooms, and the master bedroom and bathroom.
In addition, you can ask your agent to contribute some money for staging; in some cases agents will pay for staging, kick in a portion of the cost, or pay for a consultation with a stager.
Should You Stage It Yourself?
Kitchen-StagingIf you already own great furniture and home accessories and have a knack for decorating, you may want to consider staging your home yourself. You can find plenty of articles and websites about staging your home the DIY way with a quick Internet search, if you decide to go that route. Some home stagers will reduce their fee if they use your furniture instead of theirs, so this is another option to consider if you’re on a budget.
Whether or not you decide to invest in home staging, there are still things you can do to improve your home’s showability. Common home improvement projects agents recommend include de-cluttering the home, a thorough cleaning of the entire home, and carpet cleaning. Other pre-sale projects to put on your to-do list are de-personalizing the home, removing pets during showings, and making minor repairs.
Thinking of selling and relocating Southward? Here is our online Questionnaire. Feel free to fill it out and submit it online. We’ll review your feedback and send you specific information on areas and communities that are in line with what you describe you’re looking for. Our firm has specialized in Retirement and Second Home search since 2004.
Author: Kimberly Houston, Southeast Discovery