Why Should I Stage My Home Before I Sell It?
When you read real estate articles, watch real estate television shows, and talk to many real estate agents they often extol the value of professionally staging your home before you put it on the market. They say you will sell your home faster and at a higher price and that the money you spend staging will be made up. On the flip side, you hear that if you don't stage your house it will languish on the market and you will make far less money than if you did the staging.
Some of this is absolutely right. Some isn't always. Let's discuss.
It is true that when you stage your home it does often sell faster than an unstaged home. The reason for this is that when a buyer sees your home - either online or in person - if it is staged they can see very quickly that the home is functional and liveable. They can see how the rooms function easily. When a home is empty, rooms often look smaller than they truly are and it is hard for many people to easily visualize how furniture will fit in that blank canvass. Studies have shown that homes that are staged do spend about 73% less time on the market. (Source)
Staging doesn't necessarily mean that you will sell your home for more money. I think the reason people say that is because of the time it takes to sell the unstaged home. Often if a home sits on the market unsold, the seller will lower the price periodically to entice buyers to make an offer. And houses that sit on the market longer do typically sell for less than homes that sell right away. I think that's why so many people in the industry say that staging gets you a higher price. The studies haven't confirmed that though. They have, however, confirmed that staged homes do sell quicker.
Do I Need to Pay for Professional Staging?
Professional staging can be, on average, about $2,500 (this will vary, of course). Some of us can afford it, and some of us cannot. If you are selling a vacant home, I think that professional staging is worth it. It is very helpful for buyers to see how furniture fits in a room. If you cannot afford to furnish the entire house, do the important rooms like the living room and master bedroom.
If you are living in your house while you sell it, you don't necessarily have to bring in outside furniture to stage it. You can go through the home and declutter and depersonalize the home. Take out extra furniture that makes the room feel smaller than it is. Take down the mantel full of family photos. File that pile of bills that you've been putting off for a rainy day. Clean out the closets and storage areas of the house. Doing all of this will make the home feel move-in ready and roomy. When I meet with my sellers we walk through the house and talk about the things that could be done to make the house it's most appealing when it goes on the market. Sometimes that means you get a storage unit for a few weeks to get it ready.
This is not easy to do. It's your home and you love and live in it every day. When I go through with my sellers I remind them that the potential buyers coming in will not have the same feelings for their house - yet. We want it to appeal to the broadest range of people possible. Staging helps this. Staging also helps you get into the selling mindset - to start to divorce yourself from the home in preparation of moving.
How Important is Staging in the Current Real Estate Market?
As I've said many times in the last few months, we are in a very strong seller's market here in Salt Lake City. That means that staging isn't as important as it is in a buyer's market. There is a shortage of homes right now so buyers don't have the luxury of being as particular as they do when there are more homes on the market. That being said, not all homes in all neighborhoods are selling immediately and all houses can use a good once over before going on the market. It will help the home to sell more quickly for sure.
If you have questions about staging, getting your home on the market, or anything else real estate related, give me a call. I'm always happy to help.