Buyers are encouraged (and rightfully so) to focus more on the “bones” of a house than its interior aesthetics. That can be tough to do though when clutter, outdated furniture, and loads of personal items attached to the current owners are on display in the listing pictures and during showings. As a seller, you have a lot to gain from making it easier for the buyer to see the true potential of a space—and to do it, you’re going to need to stage.
Staging a Home: Stats and BenefitsIn the National Associations of Realtors (NAR) 2019 Profile of Home Staging report, they lay out a pretty good case for how staging a home offers benefits for both sellers and buyers. There’s a lot of good stuff in there to unpack, but let’s look at some of the specific statistics around home staging and its role in an efficient home sale.
Staging a home makes it easier for buyers to recognize when a house meets their expectations, while a lack of staging could mean that a buyer is unable to visualize the space—and what it can become—in relation to their vision. Among respondents, 40% said that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ views of a home, versus just 6% who said it made no difference.
According to 83% of buyers’ agents, staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Meanwhile, 38% of buyers’ agents say that staging made buyers more likely to go for a showing at a home they saw listed online.
Considering that half the battle of selling a home is just getting buyers in the door, it makes sense that staging would be a major help. Because while you can’t predict what everyone’s taste is going to be, you can stage a home so that it has a much more broad appeal and is more likely to be attractive to potential buyers.
All rooms in a house aren’t equal when it comes to the importance of staging, says the NAR report. While 47% of buyers’ agents note that seeing a staged living room is important to their client, just 19% of buyers’ agents say the same for bathrooms and 8% for guest bedrooms.
This is good news for sellers, who may have limited resources to put toward a full staging. Knowing what rooms are important (the next three after living rooms are master bedrooms, kitchens, and dining rooms) allows sellers to prioritize specific areas when staging to make the biggest impact for the least amount of work—all while avoiding those rooms that don’t appear to make much of a difference.
If you’re not convinced yet that staging a home is crucial, this might be the kicker. One-quarter of buyers’ agents told the NAR that staging increased the offering price by 1% to 5% compared to homes that weren’t staged. Among sellers’ agents, 22% say the same, and 17% say it actually increased the offering price by 6% to 10%.
Notably, 0% of sellers’ agents and only 1% of buyers' agents said that staging had a negative impact on the offering price. With nothing to lose and a lot to possibly gain, it stands to reason that staging is worth the effort. This is likely even more true for homes with unique or highly specific décor.
No seller wants to find themselves sitting on a stale listing. The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it can be to sell, meaning there’s a lot of incentive to get your home sold in a few days as possible. 28 percent of sellers’ agents note a slight decrease in days on the market for staged homes, and 25% report a substantial decrease. Only 12% of sellers’ agents reported that staging a home had no effect on days on the market. As for why staged homes tend to sell faster, it basically just comes down to the points listed above: staging helps buyers evaluate whether they can see themselves in a property and what the potential for the space is. And it can be a lot more productive than expecting them to do the heavy mental lifting themselves.
How Much Does Staging a Home Cost?Effective staging doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The median price of home staging is just $400, according to the NAR report, and this cost can easily be recouped if it leads to an increase in the home’s value.
As for who’s paying the price, many sellers’ agents take on the task (and the cost) of staging themselves, since it can make their jobs a lot easier in the long run. And in some cases, it’s the seller who pays for staging, either putting that money toward hiring a professional staging service or tackling improvements on their own.
Recommended Home Staging TasksWe’ve covered the best tips for staging a home before, but here’s a quick overview of the staging-related tasks that sellers should be focusing on:
De-cluttering. There’s a lot to gain from a lack of clutter. Getting rid of clutter is an effective home selling 101 since it opens up the space and makes it look both bigger and more appealing. When you’re getting ready to sell, box up everything you don’t need on a day-to-day basis (including seasonal items, papers, and a majority of your home décor) and store it all away for your next home.
De-personalizing. It can be difficult for a buyer to picture themselves in a home if they’re confronted with actual pictures of a home’s current owners. The goal is to create a blank canvas, and for that, you need to stow away family photos and any other overtly personal items—including things like your toothbrush on the bathroom counter.
Deep cleaning. The same deep clean you do upon moving into a new home should also be done prior to listing your home on the market. Cleaning is essential to staging since it goes hand-in-hand with the goal of making a positive first impression. And if you don’t have the time to do it right, spend a couple of hundred bucks on a professional cleaning service—it will be worth it.
Small repairs. Big repairs can be handled in post-inspection negotiations, but small repairs—think paint touch-ups and a bit of spackling and caulking—should be done during the staging process. These little fixes are quick and cheap to take care of and can be glaring to buyers if they’re not.
When in doubt, go neutral. The four tasks above go a long way in most homes for sale. But if your home is painted in bright colors or if you have a very distinct decorating taste, then it may be worth going a step further with your staging by neutralizing the space for buyers. Get rid of garish colors by painting over walls in white, gray, or another standard neutral shade, and consider swapping out bright carpeting for taupe or beige. You may also want to rent a storage unit to house bold and/or excess pieces of furniture. It’s a costly endeavor but could have a major impact on how fast a home sells—and for what price.
How much (or how little) staging a home requires depends a lot on the current state of both the home and the market. In a seller’s market, for example, there might be more lee-way in terms of appealing to buyers, with less stress put on the need for proper staging. In a competitive buyer’s market though, staging becomes even more crucial, since you need any advantage that you can get.
Work with your real estate agent to determine whether staging is important for your home and to what degree. If it means a smoother sale, it’s worth taking on the task.