To Stage, or not to stage..that is the question.

No doubt, when selling your home staging does add to the appeal of the home to potential buyers.  But does it ad value?  Perhaps, another question to ask, is; when an appraiser appraises a house for the bank to determine value, does the staging ad to that value?  Answer is… No!

So back to the original question; does staging add value to the house?  In certain market conditions, the answer is, potentially yes.  I’ve encountered many agents that swear by it.     Unfortunately, it is very hard to prove as you would need to two identical homes side by side, one staged, one not, to see which sold first and for more.  One must recognize, when selling a home, there are so many variables that come into play; it is next to impossible to point to one (staging for example) and say with any certainty that it was responsible for a quick sale. Keep in mind the home still has to appraise, and staging will not impact that.

On the down side, staging can be expensive.  Often there is a substantial upfront fee, along with monthly fees if the property does not sell right away.  Having to explain to a seller, who spent thousands of dollars on staging that they now need to reduce their price, is not an easy discussion.  And even if the home did not sell, it is not necessarily the fault of staging or lack thereof.  If you get top dollar, chances are you factored that staging fee in.  But once you drop the price, staging becomes a more significant burden on your bottom line net.

I had one seller a number of years ago that had their property listed for $385k.  it was on the market for four weeks, with very little activity.  My recommendation was not to stage, but also to list at $360k.  The seller was not happy, and he had been speaking with another agent who was steadfast in her recommendation that the property should be staged.  After a discussion I released the listing and the seller listed with the new agent.  They staged the home, using a stager the agent recommended for the price of $1500.00 and $400.00 a month.  The agent also charged and additional 1% fee for listing the home.  She listed for $375k.  Ultimately the home sold four months later for $357,500.00.  Additional expenses to seller?  $3000.00 in staging fees.  $3570.00 in listing fees, for a total of $6570.00 less to the seller at closing.  In my humble opinion the house did not sell because of pricepoint.  Staging had nothing to do with it.  I cannot prove that.  Conversely you can’t prove staging is why the house eventually sold.  But with over three decades in the business, this is not my first rodeo.

In a brisk market where buyers are competing for little inventory, staging is almost a waste of monies.  Buyers will bid a property up without the staging.

Where staging becomes very important, is when you have a property that is very unique in design and potential buyers may need help visualizing how to furnish or how their furnishings will fit. This is where there is real value to staging.

Be smart about staging.  If you decide you want to have your property staged, don’t go overboard.  Stage just a select few rooms. Kitchen, Living room are priorities.  One of my sellers, after getting an initial quote of $2000.00, plus $500.00 a month thereafter, took it upon herself and went to Ikea, purchasing a few key items to stage, not exceeding $1000.00.  After the house sold, she moved some of the furnishings into her new place and sold the rest, minimizing her expense.

Consult your agent for advice.  But use common sense.  If the average market time in your area is very low, odds are you do not need it.  If you are in a competitive market, you may consider, but always remember, it is one of many tools and not a mandatory requirement to sell your home, as some would have you believe.

Should you have more questions, feel free to contact us at 206-551-0070.