No one wants to spend more money or effort to sell their home than necessary. But, if an investment of $1.00 in preparing the home for sale, which might include staging the home, brings a return of $2.00 or $3.00 or more, then it makes sense to seriously consider making that investment. Most realtors have little doubt that showing a home in the best possible light pays off—clearly and dramatically. It’s a no-brainer.
The issue of whether to stage your home is not about whether your home looks bad as-is. As they say in the movies, it’s not personal, it’s just business. Staging a home when putting it on the market is a business strategy: is there anything you can do to make more money on the sale of your largest financial asset? Looking at it rationally, buyers should realize that what they’ll get at close of escrow is an empty property that might need some painting, cleaning, etc., without the furniture, rugs, artwork, and flowers they see at an open house.
But that is not how it works in the real world; most people have very little imagination when viewing homes for sale. What they see—how the home looks, feels, smells—determines its desirability and value in their hearts and minds. Staging helps the buyer envision how to use certain rooms, and helps solve questions the buyer might have had on how to lay out the space. Buying a home is a practical but highly emotional decision. A buyer’s reaction to staging is also visceral and emotional, and typically, a seller only has one chance to make the most of it.
Home stagers are artists, usually with interior design backgrounds. They are experts at using light, color, texture, fabrics, and furniture to create a unique experience for buyers stepping into the home. They also capitalize on the latest interior design trends so your home is eye-catching but also appeals to a broad audience. Stagers vary in price and in the product they bring into your home; some will even get involved in the property prep process by selecting paint colors and fixtures. Consult with your agent about the right stager for your property.
If your home is located in a market like San Francisco where staging is more common, your home may be at a significant competitive disadvantage if you don’t stage it. Homes that look their best generate more excitement—what we call the “sense of urgency”—and more competition among buyers in the market. They sell much more quickly and for more money. Anyone who makes their living in the real estate business has seen it over and over again. However, it can be difficult to “prove” the value of preparation and staging because one can’t sell the same house twice in order to compare results, much less the hundreds of data points one would desire in a rigorous statistical study.
Take a look at our case study on 17th Avenue. Two homes located within blocks of each other sold within months of each other. We represented one of the homes. These homes both had three bedrooms, similar lots sizes, parking, and similar exteriors. But, the home our team represented sold for 50% over asking, while the other home sold for only 13% over asking. Staging had a lot to do with it. Ruth has both a sales and design background, so she is actively involved in the process and carefully chooses the staging teams. Ruth has learned that staging plays a critical role in getting an excellent ROI when you sell a home, and this is what she teaches her team. Make sure to look at the before and after photos!
Looking at our San Jose Ave. case study, we see that our property, listed at almost exactly the same time as the house next door, sold for $452,000 over asking, earning our sellers $125,000 more than the neighboring home. The other seller did not stage the home. That decision gave buyers an initial impression of a higher cost, lower value home, which very likely contributed to the home’s lower sales price. Make sure to look at the before and after photos!
Visit our Before and After page to see more transformations.
Realtors have varying degrees of experience when it comes to preparing properties for sale. Ruth’s design background allows her to see a house for what it could be, not just what it is. She personally sources lighting, countertops, tiles, and paint colors. Ruth has an extensive network of vendors and oversees them to ensure that her vision is executed flawlessly. She provides the seller with a budget and has a meeting with them to discuss the potential return on investment of all proposed upgrades. This service is included in her fees.
Staging your home will pay off when it comes time to sell. Making the right improvements, staging, and right pricing strategy will get you top dollar for your home. And, the good news is that your agent will be there throughout to help navigate the process. The members of the Krishnan Team are always ready to help. Have questions? Reach out to us! Call us at 415-735-5867 for a no-obligation consultation. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.