It is critical to make a good first impression every time you try to sell a home. Accordingly, a buyer will decide whether or not they want to make an offer within the first ten seconds of walking into a property. If your home is dated with old rugs, dirty walls and old appliances, it may already be too late. The rest of the home won’t even have a chance to make an impression. If you are listing your home and want to maximize the return, you should consider the option of staging. It may not work for every home in every area, but it is an option that should definitely be worth considering.
Before you decide whether or not to stage, you need to know everything about the market your home is in. Are newly remodeled homes selling faster than older ones? Are they selling for a considerably higher amount? Are there any trends that are consistent in all of these sales? Take a look at every home that has been listed within a few miles of your property in the last 90-120 days. See how your home stacks up against each of these. If you are looking to squeeze out more money without making sweeping changes, staging can give you the boost you are looking for. Nothing replaces quality work and selective upgrades, but a good staging company can make a dull house look much more attractive.
One mistake that sellers make is thinking that all buyers want to move in with a blank canvas. A vacant house surely gives them that option, but most buyers are not interior decorators and need a vision of how the home can be. As a general rule of thumb, staging makes more sense with a vacant house than one you may have been renting with existing furniture. Even new construction vacant homes look and feel boring and distant. By staging a vacant home, you can add life and color to a home that previously didn’t have any. You can supply buyers with an idea of what it will be like to live there. If a buyer opens up the door and feels like they are at home, you have done your job.
Staging may not work for every market. If you have only put in minimal work and are just looking to get out, staging will cost you money without an equal return. In these areas, it makes more sense to start with quality pictures or even a video tour online first. Even a high quality video with sound and music will be much more effective than trying to stage a property that may need work. The purpose of staging is to try to set a mood or to give an idea of how a room can be laid out. A stager will not replace the appliances or countertop. There is only so much that staging can do, so you shouldn’t expect miracles. Unless your home is new or updated, you should start with quality videos and pictures and go from there.
The pricing for staging varies on the number of rooms you want staged and the quality of the materials that is being used. This could cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. You definitely need to do your homework and see what your expected return will be if the property is staged. If there is plenty of competition in your area, staging may be the tool that helps your home stand out from the crowd. Getting your home sold is not the goal, rather, getting it sold for the highest price is. If the demand is high, you may be able to sell on your own and let the property speak for itself. Ask your staging company for references and contact them to get their opinion as to whether or not staging made a difference. Every market is different, but you need to know what you return is before you commit to anything.
Even though you may receive glowing recommendations for a staging company, there is no real way to quantify how much impact a staging may have had. If you do decide to stage, it is important that you get as much feedback on every showing and every open house. You can put together a brief questionnaire and see if they liked the furniture and how much impact it had on them either way. Once you have an accepted offer, you can directly ask your buyer if they saw the property without the staging whether or not they would have made the same offer. This is a very inexact science, but it will give you some idea as to the value of the staging. This is good point of reference for other homes you may have listed.
To stage or not really comes down to a variety of factors. Is the benefit greater than the costs? How much impact will staging really have? To answer these questions, you need to know your market and what they want out of a house. More often than not, staging works best on higher end homes. However, it could really work anywhere with the right property. Before you decide to stage, talk to your realtor and other investors in your area. It will not work for every home, but for the right one it can have a huge impact.