When someone is searching for the perfect home, they often envision what it might be like to live there, how they might design it, and generally what their lifestyle might be. As part of that, a lot of real estate experts recommend that sellers and builders stage homes to be able to sell them faster and for more money.
That leaves the question of whether or not it’s worth it to do so. For example, if someone wants to see themselves in a new home, is staging going to overshadow their vision?
It’s something we discuss below as we consider whether or not it’s worth it to stage a home that’s on the market.
What Is Staging?
Staging a home is when you’re preparing it for a potential buyer. The name comes from the fact that you’re setting the stage. It involves a combination of things like redecorating, decluttering, rearranging, and cleaning. If a home is a new construction, staging can mean renting furniture for a period of time, so the home isn’t empty when potential buyers come to see it.
When it comes to staging a home, a seller has some different options.
They can do it themselves. That might mean repainting, touching up walls, adding some new decorative items like throw pillows, and taking away personal things like photos. DIY staging can also include rearranging furniture, getting rid of clutter, and adding things that make the space feel warm and welcoming, like fresh flowers.
Another option is to let your real estate agent handle the staging. An agent will often strongly believe that staging makes a big impact on the ability to sell a home. If that’s true for your agent, they’ll help you prepare your home before the photos are taken or before they begin marketing it.
Some agents will just provide a seller with recommendations, while others will be hands-on in the process.
Finally, a third choice is a professional stager. Professional stagers are often experts in interior design and real estate too. Professional stagers typically have an inventory of furniture, art, and décor that they use to make your home look great.
The median cost to stage a home, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, is $675, although these costs can vary quite a bit.
Is Staging Worth It?
For years we’ve been in a definite sellers’ market. The pandemic and remote work changed how people lived, worked and what they wanted in a home. Homes were being sold incredibly fast and often above the asking price.
Now, that has slowed somewhat as interest rates have gone up, but it’s still a fairly competitive housing market.
That leaves some sellers wondering if it’s worth it to take the time and potentially money to stage their home. Most real estate professionals say yes.
Benefits of staging a home that can make it well worth it include:
- Staging helps create an emotional connection for buyers. You’re showing them a home that’s aesthetically appealing and looks like it’s completely ready to move into. You can make the home feel more updated and invited, and that’s going to leave a lasting impression. If you can engage a buyer as the seller, they’re going to be more committed to your home. Eighty-two percent of agents representing buyers said staging helps clients visualize the house as if it’s their own.
- When you stage a house, you can raise the perceived value of the property. That means you can reduce the negative elements and put focus on the positives. That’s going to leave the best first impression. You can carefully and strategically play up all the things there are to love about a house.
- If the home would otherwise be vacant, staging can help a buyer visualize what it would be like if their own furniture were in it. It’s hard to visualize what you’ll do with an empty space, and it’s not incredibly inviting.
- Staging a house isn’t just great for when people come to see the property in person. It’s also going to make your online images look better.
- A survey from the International Association of Home Staging Professionals found that when a home is staged, it sells three to 30 times faster than one not staged, and it can increase the sales price by an average of 20%.
- The Real Estate Staging Association says that homes that hadn’t been staged before they were listed were on the market for an average of 143 days. After the home was staged, they sold it in 40 days. That same data set indicates that homes staged before the listing was on the market for just an average of 23 days.
Does Staging Have Downsides?
There are a few downsides that can come with staging to think about too.
First is the cost. The cost is very specific to where a home is located and the particular real estate market. Staging expenses can also vary depending on the time of year it is. For example, staging companies are usually in demand during peak selling seasons, like spring.
You also might end up having to store some of your personal belongings if you stage your home. Staging companies, if you decide to go that route, might require that you move your own items so they can replace them with theirs. If you don’t have a new house yet, you’re going to have to pay to pack up and then store these items, which adds to your overall costs.
Finally, staging can mask the flaws of your house, but it’s not a fix for them. In some cases, staging actually ends up highlighting flaws. For example, maybe you have certain art on the wall that’s covering something unsightly. A staging company might want to take a more minimalist approach to home design, and in doing so, they could showcase the flaws of your home.
Overall while there are downsides, most real estate experts do feel that staging a home is worth it.