Here are some of the most common staging questions we get from sellers: What exactly is staging? Do I have to pay a professional stager? And perhaps most importantly, does it really make a difference to buyers? Read on for answers to all these questions and more!
Let’s start with the most basic question – what is home staging?
Home staging is something that more and more sellers are adding to their selling to do list. The idea is simple: prepare your home in order to show it in the best possible way to the potential buyer. It is similar to bringing a car to the car wash and getting it detailed before selling it.
Is serious cleaning good enough?
No. Home staging is more than just cleaning. The staging process involves making the space as neutral as possible, removing unnecessary items from the home and putting any remaining furniture in the most attractive configuration.
What should I store and what should I leave out?
Clutter may suggest two things to a buyer. First, that the house is not big enough, and second, that the house is not very clean. Both of these ideas, whether they manifest themselves consciously or subconsciously, can kill a sale. For best results, we strongly encourage you to remove clutter and place it in a storage facility, garage or elsewhere until the house is sold or the move takes place.
Do I have to take down all my photos?
To sell a home, it’s best to let the personality of the house show through, not the personality of the homeowner. The family photos and collection of Star Wars toys (still in the box) might make your house feel like home to you, but to someone else it might just be a constant reminder that someone else still lives there.
HGTV.com suggests that buyers tend to make general mental notes about houses they look at, and it would be better for them to remember a house as the one with the large master bathroom, rather than the one with the collection of beer cans from around the world in the living room.
With staging, all but just a few minor personal touches are removed, allowing the buyer to see the house as a blank canvas, soon to be filled with their own personal affects. That’s why we suggest you take down any and all personal items, including photos, knick-knacks, wall paintings and so on.
Should I pay to have someone stage my home?
This is a hotly debated question, and the truth of the matter is, it just depends on who you ask. For example, MortgageNewsDaily.com makes a blanket statement that professionally staged homes lead to an approximately 3% higher sale price. However, if this was a irrefutable fact, wouldn’t all sellers be hiring a stager by default? Most likely, yes. So what does the other side say?
Bankrate.com published academic study results evaluating buyers opinions on staged versus unstaged properties. The buyers surveyed were shown three versions of a property listing; one with no furnishings, one with “ugly” furnishings and one that was professionally staged. After viewing all three versions, the buyers were asked a series of questions about each listing, how the staging impacted their opinion and what they’d be willing to pay for the property.
Interestingly, the study revealed that a majority of the buyers surveyed agreed that the look of the space had virtually no impact on their opinion of value of the home. Therefore, they wouldn’t be willing to pay a higher price for a staged home.
The bottom line is, there is no black or white answer. If you have extra money and want to sell quickly, stage your home. If you don’t, stage it yourself and pay extra attention to the details that have the biggest impact on potential buyers.
Staging doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, though. If you work with a real estate agent, home staging guidance is usually included in your listing fee.