Home staging is a hot topic when it comes to selling your house—but what is it? And how can it actually help your home sale?
If you’re looking to list your home for sale, one of the most important parts of the process is coming across the right buyer: the person (or people) who will act quickly, offer enough money, and take care of your former home. To do that, you’ll want to make your home appear as attractive as possible to draw in potential buyers. That might mean getting the best photos taken, writing the perfect listing, boosting your curb appeal—and even hiring a professional to help stage your property.
Home staging involves bringing in furniture, art, and accessories to make your home look its best and help buyers imagine a future in the home you currently own. Done correctly, home staging can transform a space from outdated and lived-in to new and trendy, and if you stage your home from the start, you have a good chance of selling it quickly—and at a decent price.
The greatest buzz about a home and the greatest first impression comes when it’s first listed. To take advantage of that buzz, you’ll want to set up your home so it shines immediately. Still not sold on home staging? Read on to learn why it’s so important—and how to make home staging work for you.
What’s the Goal of Home Staging?
The purpose of home staging is to help potential buyers see themselves in the home with contemporary decor that’s not personal to the current homeowner, not outdated, and makes the features of the home pop. In many cases, home staging involves first removing personal photos and mementos and clearing out clutter, then bringing in on-trend decor and furniture. Buyers are more able to visualize their life in a staged home versus going into somebody’s home and the decoration being the seller’s.
Proper staging won’t just help a buyer to visualize their life in the home: it can also help a home appear newer and in better condition because it more neutral and contemporary. Staged homes are also thought of as being more well maintained and more cared for, making it stand out from the rest.
Listing agents will typically do a walk-through of a client’s property and suggest fixes the client can make themselves for staging. That most often involves removing personal decor and clutter on countertops and tabletops. Depersonalizing is the key to getting top dollar. The sellers stuff isn’t staying, and buyers can’t always see beyond their things. That might mean bringing in fauz plants, stacks of books, or certain furniture items for the listing photos.
Sellers decide to go with home staging at the outset to get the best price for their home; others do it later in the game to increase viewings if traffic has been slow. Staging can even help a home that’s in need of repairs that the seller doesn’t want to tackle, or homes with less-than-ideal structural features.
Especially in older homes, instead of putting all that money in to do all of these renovations, home staging can shine the best light on the home, and that’s definitely a lesser expense than trying to upgrade, say, a kitchen. It can also help with awkward floor plans; it helps prospective buyers visualize where to put a sofa or TV.
How Does the Staging Process Work?
If you work with a professional staging service, a crew will come in to suggest layouts and stage main rooms of the home, including the kitchen, master bedroom, and living room. These days, many sellers opt to stage a spare room as a home office for remote workers as well.
If the home is vacant, crews will typically bring furniture in for a period of 45 to 90 days, depending on your contract. The furniture will remain on-site for listing photos and viewings and will be removed just before closing, before the new buyer moves in. Some stagers don’t take contracts for properties that are occupied because they don’t want the sellers to use the prop furniture, in order to keep it in good shape for future use.
Too, there are stagers that will work with owners of occupied homes, helping to determine furniture that should be removed, stored in a basement or garage, or repurposed and moved to different rooms. They’ll then bring in more contemporary art, spiff up overstuffed bookcases, freshen up bathrooms with spa-like towels. There’s a lot, too, that a homeowner can do without the added expense if they choose to begin packing early. Removing knick-knacks, family photos, evidence of pets, and all those fridge magnets can clean up a space and make it feel open.
Another option is virtual staging software that does 3D renderings of rooms, but the disadvantage is that the rooms won’t be staged for potential buyers when they actually tour the property.
Should You Work with a Home Staging Expert?
If you’re wondering whether your home could benefit from a professional stager, talk to your real estate agent first. They can tell you whether the home needs help in order to be seen in the best light. The agent has your best interest at heart, with the goal being getting you the most out of selling your home, and want to show your home in the best possible way. Real estate agents know the market, they’ve seen other properties for sale in your market. Taking the agent’s advice gives you a leg up over the other homes in your area. Agreeing with your agent early on can mean a quick closing at a good price.
Staging absolutely results in both selling a property faster and at a better price. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) cites:
– Forty-seven percent of buyers’ agents have said that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home
– Eight-two percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home
– Staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46%), followed by staging the primary bedroom (43%), and staging the kitchen (35%).
If you have a home with a strange layout, an older home, or a home that has failed to sell after some time on the market, home staging is a good way to generate buzz about your property and get an offer close to asking price. Just know that, if you go with a professional, it’s an investment: You can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on staging and contractors’ services, but then expect to get offers at asking price. At the end of the day, sellers will see a return on their investment.
How you decide to pay for the service is up to you and your real estate agent. It could be an out-of-pocket cost or one that your real estate firm tackles for you. Options can run the gamut from the homeowner paying, the Realtor paying, or splitting the cost – homeowner pays up front and then the real estate agent reimburses at closing.
Kristine Gill, Better Homes & Gardens