The Reality Of Home Staging

Dated: February 5 2015

Views: 1319

Every column you read about home-staging tells you the same old thing. To sell your home fast, get rid of clutter, depersonalize, and clean it thoroughly and paint it inside and out.

Of course there's a lot more you can do to sell your home, but most sellers are either too busy, too lazy, or too cheap to do what they really need to do to get the best price. Don't make the same mistakes.

A new member survey by the National Association of REALTORS® found that 49 percent of participants who work with buyers say that staging has an effect on the buyer's view of the home. But another 47 percent believe that staging only sometimes impacts a buyer's view of the home. Only 4 percent of REALTORS® said staging has no impact on buyer perceptions.

Of the Realtors who believe that staging works, 81 percent said staging helps buyers visualize the property as a future home, while 46 percent said it makes prospective buyers more willing to walk through a home they saw online.

In other words, staging is most useful for getting buyers into your home. It's simple human nature -- we want what we see that we like. That leads 45 percent of agents who work with buyers to say that a home decorated to a buyer's tastes positively impacts its value. The question is -- how do you know you've staged to please the most buyers?

Ten percent of NAR members said a home decorated against a buyer's tastes could negatively impact the home's value. Those are good odds that competent staging will work for most buyers if you do the following:

Be willing to spend some money. Sixty-two percent of NAR sellers agents offer home staging services to sellers and one-third of sellers agents stage all their listings. At a median cost of $675, home-staging budgets can cover everything from new pillows to rented furnishings. Negotiate with your agent whether the cost is upfront or paid out of the proceeds when you sell.

Accept the fact that your home may be a challenge. Thirteen percent of sellers agents stage only homes that are difficult to sell, while another four percent will only stage higher priced homes. If your agent offers to help you stage your home, grab the opportunity. For example, it could help turn "too small" into a cozy enclave that looks deliberate and desirable.

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Stage the most important rooms first. REALTORS® representing both the buyer and seller agreed on which rooms should be staged and the difference a buyer would be willing to spend on a staged home vs. a similar non-staged home. NAR members ranked the living room as the number one room to stage, followed by the kitchen. Rounding out the top five rooms were the master bedroom, dining room and the bathroom.

According to 37 percent of professionals representing sellers and 32 percent who represent buyers, staging increases a buyer's perceived value of a home by 1 to 5 percent, while 22 percent of sellers agents and 16 percent of buyers agents believe the increase in value is closer to 6 to 10 percent.

To put those numbers into perspective, a $200,000 home, below the national median price, would be perceived by the buyer to be worth between $202,000 or $210,000 if it were staged properly.

At the least, you'll make your $675 back.

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