Trying to sell your home? You might want to look into home staging. Homes that have been staged sell quicker and for a greater amount according to the National Association of Realtors. But what is home staging and what does it involve? In this article we’ll walk you through the fundamentals of staging a home and whether it’s worth it for your situation.
What is Home Staging?
Home staging is a project in which professional home stagers (or sometimes even your own realtor) switch out, add, or remove furniture and decor from your home to give it a more modern, purposeful touch.
Think of it like marketing: A home stager knows the type of buyer who will be interested in your house and they’re primarily decorating your home to attract that buyer to help sell your home faster and for more money.
Most prospective buyers want to picture themselves in a fully-furnished space, not an empty house. And in many instances, buyers want to experience a potential home in an understated sense, in other words, uncluttered by personal items or decor that doesn’t suit their taste. Home staging creates that backdrop.
What Does Home Staging Include?
Often home staging begins with a consultation. During the consultation, the staging professional will come to your home, evaluate what buyers will like about it, and assess what should be done before listing photos are taken and the home is shown to potential buyers.
From here, the home staging process depends on your specific situation. The staging might be as simple as rearranging some furniture to open up your home and better utilize the space. Or it could be more involved, like repainting the walls, removing personal clutter, and furnishing entire rooms. Obviously, if you have already moved out, then the staging would involve complete rooms of furniture in each room.
Do You Stage a Home While Living in It?
There are positives and negatives to staging a home that you’re still living in. The big plus is that the cost of staging could be much less since professional stagers can work with the furniture you already have in your home. While they might need to add some additional items and move some of your personal items to storage, it is still usually much less expensive than starting from scratch.
The negative is that it necessitates more maintenance throughout the process, especially regular cleaning and decluttering on the homeowner’s part. One way sellers can make it simpler to keep a home staged while still living in it is to rent a storage unit. This allows homeowners to temporarily store items that might adversely impact prospective buyers and ensure the home remains clutter free. While you might be able to move a few small items to boxes in the garage or attic, if you are going to have a large amount to remove from the home your best bet is a storage unit, as prospective buyers are also turned off by overstuffed closets, garages, and attics!
How Do You Stage a Home with No Furniture?
When selling a vacant home, one option is to rent furniture throughout the house. This is highly effective and should be done before professional real estate photos are taken. You can also hire a professional home stager to come in and add furniture. Unfortunately, both of these options can be on the pricey side of home staging.
Another option that is more cost effective is virtual staging.
What Is Virtual Staging?
Virtual or digital home staging is the process of virtually adding furniture and decor into photos of a vacant home. Like traditional home staging, it’s essentially decorating your home to attract buyers, just without physically decorating. This is important because potential home buyers are more likely to go for a home that’s furnished because it is easier to picture themselves living there. Photos of empty homes are far less attractive to buyers, so virtual staging can be an excellent way to provide a better view of your home, impress buyers, and potentially get more offers.
Benefits of Virtual Staging
There are several benefits of using digital home staging. For one, photos of an empty house usually don’t perform well in online listings. The whole point of virtual staging is to drive buyer traffic. Many prospective buyers will never visit a property without virtual staging.
Another big advantage of going digital is the lower home staging cost. Adding furniture and decor to an empty home via traditional home staging can cost anywhere from $5000 to $7000, whereas high-quality virtual staging can cost about $50 per photo.
Challenges of Virtual Staging
Though digital home staging can be a convenient and affordable way to stage your vacant home for sale, there are a few things to consider and watch out for when opting for virtual home staging.
Many virtual stagers are graphic designers with little real estate or home staging backgrounds. If deciding between digital home staging companies, make sure to choose one with both real estate and home staging experience.
Quality Photos Matter for Digital Staging
Quality is important for both real estate photography and virtual home staging. If photos from an empty room are taken from a bad angle, are too zoomed in, or have poor lighting, it makes it harder for the virtual stager to place furniture realistically and present the room in an appealing way for buyers.
Virtual Staging Shouldn’t Deceive Buyers
A virtual staging should not alter the look of a home such as replacing floors and changing wall colors. Just as professional real estate photographers try to accurately represent homes, you don’t want a virtual home staging that will lead to potential buyer disappointment during a home showing.
Of course, there is a downside of using virtual home staging. While the images of the spaces look great online, the house will still be vacant when the buyer visits for a showing. Typically, potential buyers know that a home was staged virtually, but it can still be jarring to walk into an empty space.
Is Home Staging Worth It?
In 2021, the National Association of Realtors conducted a survey as to the impact of staging a home has on potential buyers. Here are some statistics:
- 96% of realtors said home staging has an impact on the buyer
- 81% said buyers find it easier to visualize the property as a future home
- 46% said buyers are more willing to walk through a staged home viewed online
- 45% said staging to buyers’ tastes positively impacts home value (compared to only 10% who said it had a negative impact)
- 28% said staging could lead to buyers overlooking property faults
- Of realtors surveyed, 52% said home staging has a positive impact on the dollar value of the home
It’s clear that most real estate agents believe staging your home to sell has significant impact on potential buyers, from making buyers more likely to visit a home after viewing online listings to impacting the experience prospective buyers have when walking through a home during a showing.
Staged Homes Sell Faster
According to the Real Estate Staging Association’s national report, staged homes sold much faster than non-staged homes:
- Non staged homes spent an average of 184 days on the market
- After staging, previously non-staged homes sold on average in 41 days
- Homes that were staged prior to going to market sold on average in 23 days
Simply put, homes staged before being listed for sales spend 90% less time on the market.
Staged Homes Sell for More Money
According to a study (2021) by the National Association of Realtors, 71% of real estate agents believe that home staging increases the value of a home. The majority of realtors felt it increased the dollar value between 1% and 10% but some said it increased the value as much as 20%.
Is Home Staging Worth the Cost?
Even if staging helps sell your home quickly and for more money, that doesn’t mean sellers should expect to see a positive return on investment. It’s always possible that you could pay more for staging than what you’ll get in return.
Fortunately, that is rarely the case. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median dollar amount spent on staging a house to sell is $675. When you compare that against the fact that staged homes sell for up to 20% more than non-staged homes, it’s pretty clear that home staging is worth the money.
Is Home Staging Worth it For Everyone?
There are specific instances where staging isn’t worth it, such as selling a fixer upper to an investor who will flip it. But in most cases, staging your home can be helpful for everyone, even in situations of sellers’ markets and buyers’ markets. When everything is flying off the shelf it can be even more important to have your home staged. When it’s staged, you’ll be able to get multiple offers and potentially better offers. And in a slow market, a staged home will be able to sell while other homes don’t get much attention.
Homes can be sold without being staged. But if you’re looking to sell quickly and for top dollar, staging is a necessity. Even in a seller’s market, where homes can be sold in a matter of days, stagings can lead to even more showings, more offers, and better opportunities. Staging your home could be the difference between one good offer that you have to accept or multiple good offers and a bidding war that benefits you.
One Additional Benefit
Home staging can be tax deductible. Essentially, the IRS views home staging as an advertising expense for the home, so the cost of staging your home can be deducted as part of your selling expenses.