Most homeowners share the general belief that it’s in their best interest to clean up a home before putting it up for sale. Of course, not everyone does it, but that’s another story. Despite this conventional wisdom about making real estate presentable before trying to sell it, professional home staging is something relatively few homeowners actually do. In this article, we’ll be discussing three key reasons why it might make a lot of sense (and cents) to have your home professionally staged before putting it on the market. We’ll also show a video walk-through to give you a more direct feel for what professional staging can do for a property.
Unstaged vs Staged – How do Properties Compare
Before we dive into the three key reasons why you should strongly consider professional home staging before selling, I have a compelling video that can make some of the benefits of staging much easier to understand. Aside from my involvement with Home Fixated, my alter-ego is a real estate agent in San Diego, California. The video below will literally walk you through an unstaged property immediately followed by a fully-staged, very similar property next door:
Professional Home Staging Usually Results in Netting More from the Sale
When you think about it logically, it shouldn’t come as a shock that a buyer would be likely to offer more money on a visually-appealing property that shows extremely well, vs an unstaged property that might appear cluttered, cramped and impractical. Staging can help define the use of specific spaces, as well as tie into and enhance the architecture of a home. With estimates of how much value staging adds to a home’s sales price running from 1% to 20%, it’s not hard to see how much return on investment you can get with a little money invested up front.
At Home Fixated, we’re used to talking about remodeling homes. Unfortunately, most typical remodeling doesn’t have a great return on investment. In the majority of markets in the US, if you spend $50,000 on a kitchen remodel, chances are you’ve added less than $50,000 to the value of your home. Contrary to what you might think from fix and flip tv shows, home improvement isn’t always going to be profitable. However if you spend $3,000 for professional home staging, it’s not uncommon for the home to sell for $10,000+ more than it would have unstaged. In short, home staging is often money very well spent, and if you’re weighing spending money on a remodel vs spending money on home staging, the return on investment from staging usually wins.
Home Staging Can Speed Up How Quickly Your Home Sells
Aside from boosting your sales price, professional home staging can often dramatically shorten how much time a property spends on the market. This has a number of benefits. For one thing, you get paid sooner rather than later. This means you’re not paying for the property and “carrying costs” longer than necessary. Your property is also less likely to linger on the market and see price reductions. Assuming the property is priced according to market to begin with, staging makes it less likely you’ll need to resort to reducing the asking price to attract buyers. This ties in to netting you more from the sale as well. The following before and after shots are a great case study in staging speeding up market time.
Staging Enhances Your Overall Marketing
With over 90% of real estate searches starting online, how your property comes across visually is more important than ever. In the United States, most homes that are put up for sale are entered into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Once the property is in MLS, it’s typically syndicated to major real estate portals like Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. The primary way potential home buyers are going to experience your property is visually, and that means via photos.
When you have your home professionally staged, suddenly you have dramatically stepped up your game in how the home shows online. Many real estate agents, particularly those focused on higher-end homes, are also relying more on video to engage potential buyers. Again, professional home staging can make a night and day difference in how your property shows via video. In short, professional home staging makes all your agent’s marketing look significantly better. Ultimately, I believe that translates into attracting and securing a strong offer. With staging, the buyer you ultimately attract will probably be willing to pay more than if the home was presented unprofessionally and with lackluster marketing.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what professional home staging costs, who pays for staging, whether you can effectively do DIY staging, how staging actually works, and maybe you’d also like to see some research to back up the claims above? Luckily, you can find a more comprehensive article about home staging, complete with more before & after shots, on my real estate site, MarcLyman.com.