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Can You Afford Not to Stage Your Home?

This guest post comes to us from Aileen Crapps, founder of Smart Stage Designs in Lake City, Florida.

What do you think of when you when you hear the term home staging?  Most people think of a vacant home where all the furnishings are brought in to help sell the house. However, a home can be staged while the occupants are still living in the house. This is known as “occupied staging”. Vacant or occupied, a carefully staged home can bring in more buyers, better buyers, and higher offers.

Let’s tackle the “more buyers” first.  The way buyers start the buying process is different than it was in the days before the internet.  Now buyers are visiting online sites to view properties before they ever pick up the phone and call the realtor.  So the way the property looks on the website is vitally important. On crowded online listing sites, staged homes stand out from un-staged homes, and the buyer will say, “Let’s take a look at this one.”

What makes the buyer a better buyer? We have targeted the buyer. Home stagers who are doing their research will study the demographics of the people who are moving into that neighborhood. Would these people want a more traditional suburban lifestyle with a large yard and good schools, or are they empty-nesters looking to downsize? What is their income level and age?

Here’s an example of how demographics can play a part in staging a home. If a home is being staged in an area where the average age is 55+, it should be staged differently than an area where 25-35 is the predominant age range. When staging the 55+ home there probably wouldn’t be a need for a couple of children’s rooms to be staged. However, it might be wise to stage a couple of children’s rooms–maybe a boy and a girl’s room, or a play room–for the 25-35-year-old home.

When the home is staged to attract the most likely buyer, that makes the buyer a better buyer because they are going to see this particular home as the one they aspire to live in. It has the vibe that makes them feel at home. This brings the higher offers.  When the buyer walks in and says, “This is it,” they are willing to pay more to live in this home. Someone said, “Home staging brings a measurable and marketable change to the perceived value of the house.” I wish I could give credit where credit is due, because they hit the nail on the head.

  1. Home staging is measurable: staged homes sell for more and in less days, according to the Real Estate Staging Association’s 2020 survey of 13,000 staged homes.
  2. It is marketable. Home staging is the most effective way to market your house. First the photos get the buyer to the front door, then the experience of viewing the house emotionally emotionally connects the buyer.
  3. The perceived value increases because the buyer sees this house as “the one”.

In this hot market, people may think they don’t need to stage.  However, staged homes typically list for a higher price than un-staged ones. I think of this as making money on the front end.  When properties are properly prepared and staged, buyers do not lowball their offers and there is no need for concessions. This results in higher offers, which is making money on the sale.

Don’t look at the money you spend on staging as an expense. Consider it an investment. Two statistics from the Real Estate Staging Association’s survey show the great return on investment or home staging:

  1. With an average investment of 1%, approximately 75% of sellers saw and ROI of 5-15% over asking price.
  2. 85% of staged homes sold for 5-23% over list price.

With these numbers the question is not can you afford to stage? The question is can you afford not to stage?

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