Why Staging Matters
While staging may have attained its popularity in higher-priced and vacant listings, it now appears in all segments of the market. Staging helps potential buyers imagine themselves living in a home. On top of getting top dollar for your home, staging will also help increase the speed of the sale.
The prime reason staging has become commonplace is due to consumer demand and the proliferation of online home shopping. Buyers are looking for fresh, thoughtfully furnished rooms where they can create their dream setting rather than buy into the previous homeowner’s way of life. The goal is to help the seller achieve the highest sales price in the quickest time. There is plenty of help. There are full-time professional stagers, real estate professionals who have jumped in to learn, and professional organizers.
Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, set off a decluttering craze across the globe. Some homeowners like to do staging themselves inspired by Marie’s declutter books.
Sellers who don’t stage a home before it’s listed risk losing out the chance to get attractive offers to comparable staged homes.
In its original form, staging involved simple decluttering, making basic repairs, and arranging furniture; nowadays, it’s used to completely transform rooms and sometimes entire homes, so they look new and refreshed. It can even go beyond adding furnishings; some use luxury towels, designer shoes, and handbags to suggest a lifestyle. The number of rooms staged in a listing typically depends on a home’s overall condition, market competition, and listing price. But usually staging a few main rooms will suffice. According to NAR’s staging report, buyers consider the living room the most important to stage, followed by the master bedroom and kitchen. In each staged space, the goal is to create a universally appealing, updated, clean setting.
Common denominators include neutral colored walls and hardwood floors, a few pieces of comfortable, modern furniture to hint at a room’s use like a laptop on a table, mostly empty countertops and bookshelves, good modern lighting, a few accessories, and some art or a bit of color to add a pop, so the space isn’t devoid of personality.
The Cost Breakdown
What a seller typically spends on staging is proportionate to the home size and condition, listing price, estimated return on investment, and competition. Sometimes sellers may not have to spend funds at all since some agents offer their time for decluttering, rearranging furnishings, and making suggestions. Typically, costs can range from $2,000 to $5,000, which might involve a simple paint refresh or furniture rental. However, staging a large vacant house may cost significantly more, upwards of $30,000 for listings.
As per Barbara Ballinger, in her Realtor Magazine:
10 Questions to Ask When Hiring A Stager
First, find out what comparable homes look like and whether they’re staged. Then interview potential stagers with these questions.
- Can I see before-and-after photos of jobs you’ve handled? Can you explain what you did and why?
- Do you usually stage all the rooms in a house or condo, or just a few key rooms? Which ones?
- Do you recommend taking down artwork and curtains and removing most accessories?
- Do you have access to a staging inventory that you own or rent? If the furnishings will be rented, how long is the rental period?
- Can any of my furnishings be used for staging, and if so, which ones?
- Do you recommend other improvements, such as painting, polishing floors, or resurfacing kitchen cabinets if you believe it’s required?
- Do you offer expertise concerning the property’s exterior?
- How do you charge? Is it by the number of rooms, hours on the clock, or a flat fee for the entire project?
- What’s your average return on investment? How much much might I realize if the home is staged versus not staged?
- Can I get specifics of your staging proposal in writing?
When all is said and done, staging is extremely beneficial to the seller. From increasing the buying price of a home and decreasing time on the market to helping fuel potential buyers’ emotional response to a home, staging matters a great deal and shouldn’t be overlooked.