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Through The Lens

Staging and Re-Design: Sell your home faster and for more money


If you want to sell a home quickly and for the best possible price, staging is one of the easiest ways to make it happen. Staging a home ensures that buyers see it in its very best light and can help illustrate what a property can offer without requiring a complete makeover. And in an industry, where making a great first impression can make all the difference, it’s easy to see how staging has become such an integral part of the selling process. Buyers are encouraged (and rightfully so) to focus more on the “bones” of a house than its interior aesthetics. That can be tough to do though when clutter, outdated furniture, and loads of personal items attached to the current owners are on display in the listing pictures and during showings. As a seller, you have a lot to gain from making it easier on the buyer to see the true potential of a space—and to do it, you’re going to need to stage.

1. Buyers know what they want

On a poll taken by real estate agents, 74% (regarding home staging) said that buyers know what they want in an ideal home, before they ever get started on their search. Staging a home makes it easier for buyers to recognize when a house meets their expectations, while a lack of staging could mean that a buyer is unable to visualize the space—and what it can become—in relation to their vision. Among respondents, 40% said that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ views of a home, versus just 6% who said it made no difference.

2. Staging focuses on the potential, not the present

Designing and living in a home is personal, and there’s a lot of variance out there in terms of style and taste. According to 83% of buyers’ agents, staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Meanwhile, 38% of buyers’ agents said that staging made buyers more likely to go for a showing. Considering that half the battle of selling a home is just getting buyers in the door, it makes sense that staging would be a major help.

3. Staging prioritizes key spaces

All rooms in a house aren’t equal when it comes to the importance of staging. While 47% of buyers’ agents note that seeing a staged living room is important to their client, just 19% buyers’ agents say the same for bathrooms and 8% for guest bedrooms. This is good news for sellers, who may have limited resources to put toward a full staging. Knowing what rooms are important (the next three after living rooms are master bedrooms, kitchens, and dining rooms) allows sellers to prioritize specific areas when staging, to make the biggest impact for the least amount of work.

4. Staging can increase the value of a home

If you’re not convinced yet that staging a home is crucial, this might be the kicker. One-quarter of buyers’ agents said staging increased the offering price by 1% to 5% compared to homes that weren’t staged. Among sellers’ agents, 22% say the same and 17% say it actually increased the offering price by 6% to 10%. With nothing to lose and a lot to possibly gain, it stands to reason that staging is worth the effort.

5. Staging can decrease the amount of time a home is on the market No seller wants to find themselves sitting on a stale listing. The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it can be to sell, meaning there’s a lot of incentive to get your home sold in as few days as possible. Twenty-eight percent of sellers’ agents note a slight decrease in days on the market for staged homes, and 25% report a substantial decrease. As for why staged homes tend to sell faster, it basically just comes down to the points listed above: staging helps buyers evaluate whether they can see themselves in a property and what the potential for the space is. And it can be a lot more productive than expecting them to do the heavy mental lifting themselves.

How Much Does Staging a Home Cost?

Effective staging doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The median price of home staging starts around $400, and this cost can easily be recouped if it leads to an increase in the home’s value. As for who’s paying the price, many sellers’ agents take on the task (and the cost) of staging themselves, since it can make their jobs a lot easier in the long run. And in some cases it’s the seller who pays for staging, either putting that money toward hiring a professional staging service or tackling improvements on their own.

Recommended Home Staging Tasks

De-cluttering. There’s a lot to gain from a lack of clutter. Getting rid of clutter is effective home selling 101, since it opens up the space and makes it look both bigger and more appealing. When you’re getting ready to sell, box up everything you don’t need on a day-to-day basis (including seasonal items, papers, and a majority of your home décor) and store it all away for your next home.

De-personalizing. It can be difficult for a buyer to picture themselves in a home if they’re confronted with actual pictures of a home’s current owners. The goal is to create a blank canvas, and for that, you need to stow away family photos and any other overtly personal items—including things like your toothbrush on the bathroom counter.

Deep cleaning. The same deep clean you do upon moving into a new home should also be done prior to listing your home on the market. Cleaning is essential to staging since it goes hand-in-hand with the goal of making a positive first impression. And if you don’t have the time to do it right, spend a couple hundred bucks on a professional cleaning service—it will be worth it. (See blog post from February 14, 2022)

Small repairs. Big repairs can be handled in post-inspection negotiations, but small repairs—think paint touch-ups and a bit of spackling and caulking—should be done during the staging process. These little fixes are quick and cheap to take care of and can be glaring to buyers if they’re not.

When in doubt, go neutral. The four tasks above go a long way in most homes for sale. But if your home is painted in bright colors or if you have a very distinct decorating taste, then it may be worth going a step further with your staging by neutralizing the space for buyers. Get rid of garish colors by painting over walls in white, gray, or another standard neutral shade, and consider swapping out bright carpeting for taupe or beige. You may also want to rent a storage unit to house bold and/or excess pieces of furniture. It’s a costly endeavor but could have a major impact on how fast a home sells—and for what price.

How much (or how little) staging a home requires depends a lot on the current state of both the home and the market. In a seller’s market, for example, there might be more lee-way in terms of appealing to buyers, with less stress put on the need for proper staging. In a competitive buyer’s market though, staging becomes even more crucial, since you need any advantage that you can get. Work with your real estate agent to determine whether staging is important for your home and to what degree. If it means a smoother sale, it’s worth taking on the task!

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