23 Feb Should You Stage Your Home for Sale?
No one wants to spend more money or effort in the process of selling one’s home than necessary. But if an investment of $1 in preparing the home for sale – which might include “staging” the home – brings a return of $2 or $3 or more, then it makes sense to seriously consider making it. Most Realtors have little doubt that making the effort to prepare a property to show in its best possible light to the buyer profile most likely to pay the most money, pays off, clearly and dramatically. It’s a no-brainer.
The issue of whether to stage is not about whether your home looks bad without it. As they say in the movies, it’s not personal, it’s just business. It’s a business strategy: Is there anything one can do to make more money on the sale of one’s 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, and so on – with none of the furniture, rugs, artwork and vases of 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, the impact of how the home looks, determines its desirability and value in their hearts and minds. It’s a visceral, emotional reaction, and typically, a seller only has one chance to make the most of it.
And, of course, 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.
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 sell for more money. Anyone who makes their living in the business has seen it over and over again. However, it is difficult to “prove” the value of preparation and staging, because one can’t sell the same house twice at the same point in time to compare results, much less the hundreds of times one would desire in a rigorous statistical study.
We often recommend hiring a staging consultant, whose entire experience and only job is to help sellers identify options to enhance value in the eyes of prospective buyers. Then review those options, ideally with your real estate agent, to decide which will generate the biggest return on investment.
Here are a few articles regarding home staging to help you consider this option. Almost all of them are written by stagers or real estate agents, so you might not be convinced by their arguments or “proofs.” Ultimately, it’s up to each seller to come to his or her own conclusion on the issue and proceed accordingly.