Not so long ago, people believed that it was better to have a house empty when they were selling their real estate. They believed that it was easier for potential buyers to visualize the space and imagine their own belongings in each room without the clutter of other furniture, artwork and decor.
Yet, the reality is that staging your property can be one of the most critical things that you do before you sell your home. On average, staged homes are on the market for six days compared to more than 40 days for properties that are not staged. Similarly, buyers typically offer between 1% and 5% more for a home that is staged compared to one that is not.
What Does Staging a Home Involve?
Staging a home is more than just having some furniture in each room. Rather, it is a conscious effort to draw potential buyers into the house by creating spaces that are inviting, exciting and interesting.
Having nice furniture, rugs, plants and other decor items in each room actually helps potential buyers see how much space there really is in each room. Furthermore, people often have an easier time imagining what their furniture and belongings would look like in a staged home than one that is bare.
Proponents of Feng Shui, or the ancient Chinese tradition of balancing energy, believe that the way objects are laid out in a home can impact the energy and feelings in the house. Many people carefully consider the location of key furniture pieces in each room to improve the flow and energy throughout their home.
The region in which you live has a major impact on how you stage your home. For example, homes for sale in Phoenix, Arizona may have a more Southwestern-style of décor and furnishings, while homes in areas like Kansas City will be more contemporary.
How Much Does Home Staging Cost?
When trying to sell real estate, staging a property with quality furniture and decor is not cheap. A professional designer or interior decorator could charge you as much as $500 to $600 for an initial review. Then, you could pay between $500 and $600 per month for each staged room.
However, research indicates that up to 40% of buyers drive to see a property specifically because they liked the way it looked in the pictures online. Furthermore, staged homes can sell for up to 20% more and more than 80% quicker than properties that are not staged.
In the end, if your house is only on the market for 6 days, then the staging cost might be relatively minor compared to the idea of your property sitting on the market for an additional 30 to 60 days. In those cases, sellers usually get anywhere from 10% to 20% less than their asking price. For a $400,000 home that could mean between $40,000 and $80,000 less by the time you have a signed contract to sell your property.
Can I Stage the Property Myself?
Yes, you can certainly stage the property yourself with furniture, artwork, decorations and other items that you already have. However, there is a certain art to staging a home to attract the widest range of buyers. Too much large furniture, toys or decor will make your home look cluttered.
Furthermore, some buyers may be turned off simply due to the fact that they do not like your taste in furniture, wall paint colors or other design elements. On top of all that, moving and trying to sell your home is stressful. Having to then stage it while you have so many other things going on can be a challenge.
A professional decorator and stager can work with you to develop a neutral, but bright and engaging design that will appeal to as many people as possible. Also, these decorators have seen all shapes and sizes of rooms before. They may very well have a better sense of how to maximize your space and make it appear more functional.
Are there alternatives to physically staging a home?
Yes! When selling real estate, there are alternative options if you do not have the time, effort or money to physically stage your home. For example, it is possible to virtually stage your home using a variety of photo enhancement programs.
Digitally or virtually staging your home may help potential buyers get a sense of your property’s potential while viewing your listing’s pictures for a fraction of the cost of traditional staging. Normally, it can cost as little as $39 to $199 or more per room for virtual staging.
Another benefit to virtual staging is that you have the ability to stage the same room in a number of different ways. Do you have a large loft that would look great as a game room for kids? Would that loft also work well as an office space for someone who works from home?
With the power of virtual staging, you can quickly depict your loft both ways without having to take multiple pictures/ As an added bonus, you do not have to pay a designer and a staging company to physically move in office furniture and then switch it out with a football table, ping pong table or other games for the ideal kids play area.
Are there drawbacks to virtual staging?
Unfortunately, yes. While virtual staging may help to bring in more traffic to your home, there are drawbacks to consider. One downside is that some buyers may be disappointed when the house is not actually staged like it was in the online pictures. Furthermore, your visitors may not feel the same excitement and energy when they walk into your empty house.
One other fact to consider is that, while virtual staging is cheaper on an ongoing basis than traditional physical staging, there are factors that can increase the cost. If you do want to stage multiple rooms in different ways, then the designer will need to develop multiple models. This process may take more time and cost more money.
Adding and removing objects to create the new images also will take time and money. In addition, it can be expensive to create realistic, high-quality staged images. If the artist uses lower resolution beds, chairs or other furniture, then the final photos will not look real.
If you are serious about selling your home, then we would strongly encourage you to stage your home in some way. Physical staging has been shown to reduce the number of days that your property might be on the market from 60 days or more down to 6 days or less.
Furthermore, people who stage their properties typically get significantly higher offers than owners who leave their properties empty. In fact, not staging your home could result in potential buyers offering 10%, 20% or more below your asking price.
While staging is an added step and an additional expense, it very well could pay for itself in the end.