If you’ve been to an open house in the last decade, you’ve definitely heard someone ask “Is this home staged?” Or maybe it’s just the definitive “This must be staged!” But how well do you really understand what home staging is and why it may make a difference in the sale of your home?
Quite simply, staging is preparing a home to go on the market. When you stage, you want to make the home as appealing as possible to as many prospective buyers as possible. This helps a Seller to garner the highest possible price on their sale.
Staging has many different levels from basic “decluttering” to a full home furnishing, both indoor and out. When a home is staged, it feels clean, open and welcoming, but is also neutral (think, no personal items,) so that Buyers can really envision themselves living there.
The whole goal of staging is to create the perception of home and put forth a canvas that Buyers can use to build their vision of their dream home on.
According to research by the National Association of Realtors conducted in 2017, homes that were properly staged brought in a 6-20% higher sale price than those that were shown empty or were not properly staged (meaning left how the owners have it). That can be a significant amount of money, especially in our market on the Peninsula.
The cost of staging can vary, but should always be looked at in terms of the return on investment. Staging on the Peninsula could start around $5,000 and increase up to tens of thousands. Factors that impact pricing are: size of the home; how many rooms will be staged; how long the staging is needed for.
On face value, this can feel expensive. But let’s say you’re spending $5,000 to stage a home that’s being listed at $1.5M. If that home sees a minimal increase on sale price of 6%, that’s still an increase of $90,000. $5,000 spent to get $90,000 sounds like a pretty good investment.
Not every situation calls for staging, but many of them do. If you’re in a competitive market, you should stage to make your home stand out. In a Seller’s market, you should stage so you can get that extra push in your sale price and max out your value. In a Buyer’s market, you should definitely stage as this may set you apart from a multitude of other properties that Buyers are looking at.
However, if you’re selling your home off-market and as-is, you probably don’t need to stage. If the property is such that you know that buyers are likely to knock the home down and build something new, and you’re able to garner enough interest without listing on MLS, staging can be skipped as this doesn’t make a difference for how Buyers will perceive the home. They’re looking at the potential and opportunity, not what is currently existing.
Of course there’s virtual staging – this is the year 2018 and we live in Silicon Valley! With virtual staging, an agent or their associate can use software programs to add furniture, lighting, etc. to photos of the home. This can be helpful for the marketing images that are online, in MLS and on the brochure.
The challenge with virtual staging is that when people see an image of a property, they generally expect it to look that way when they get there. If it doesn’t, that disappointment can have an overall impact on their view of the home.
But, virtual staging can be used effectively in some situations and can create more interest in a property than photos of empty rooms.
If you’re planning to put your home on the market in the near future, staging is definitely a key consideration. Be sure to discuss it with your agent and determine what level of staging you might need, and if you might be able to use some of your own pieces to offset a little of the expenditure. Then go out and get that increased sale price!
by Sally Slate Lee
IMPORTANT NOTE: I have not and will not verify or investigate the information supplied by third parties.