To Stage or not to stage: There really is no question
By Ranger Smith
Staging – preparing a home in such a way that a buyer can mentally move in.
I met the Smith’s at their home on a dusky mid-Fall afternoon to discuss a Comparative Market Analysis of their home. I presented the data regarding pricing, market trends, and how to prepare the home for the market: specifically staging. It was at this point in the conversation that they seemed a bit uneasy. The Smith’s had a 3000 square foot home and wanted to upsize as they had grown out of their current space. They were nervous about the process, amount of time, and cost associated with staging. I’ve learned over the years that many sellers display the same pattern of consternation over preparing their homes for market. Common concerns involved timing, cost, and ultimately, the effectiveness of staging were prevalent in homeowners minds. Let’s delve into these concerns and shed some light (no pun intended) on the ins and outs of staging a home.
The word “staging” often invokes thoughts of HGTV where a stager goes on an all-out assault on the home. There are two types of staging that I most often run across: re-purposing & renting. The renting school of thought is one where all furniture is removed and the homeowner rents items to improve the homes appeal. This is costly and, even though this method yields superior results, is not achievable for the average homeowner. I assure you there is another way!
The second method of staging results in re-purposing what is already in the home. This school of thought is focused on moving items already in the home to achieve the same type of result as one who would rent a whole new household of furniture. The average homeowner I deal with ends up spending $300-$500 to stage their home and yields exemplary results.
So what does staging actually do for a home? Staging, also known as “neutralizing the home,” affords the buyer an opportunity to see the home’s full potential. We remove any obstacles buyers might find with your home by removing the owners mark. Family photos, animal heads on the wall, and flashy decor might be the owners’ cup of tea, but can often deter a buyer if they don’t agree. Buyers sometime feel guilty to consider an offer if they see family photos littered about the home as they sometimes feel they’re forcing you to leave your happy abode. By removing these items, we give the buyer a neutral canvas. One that they can envision as their own from the onset.
Still not sure if staging is right for you? I can attest that staging is the most effective tool I have in my arsenal when it comes to home sales. Here are some statistics to consider regarding staging.
Here are the top 4 reasons to stage your home:
- You Will Make More Money: A survey conducted by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. discovered that staged homes are usually sold 6 percent above the asking price.
- Your House Will Sell Faster: Staged homes sell 79 percetn faster than non-staged homes. According to a survey conducted by the National Association Realtors (NAR), the longer a property stays in the market, the lower the price it will attract.
- You Will Get a Good Return on Your Investment: Another NAR survey reveals that a 1 – 3 percent investment on home staging yields 8 – 10 percent return.
- Your Online Photos Will Stand Out: A recently conducted NAR poll found out that 90 percent of potential home buyers start their property search on the internet. Staging your home increases the visibility of your property to potential buyers.
There are far more reasons that are available to support staging, but let me leave you with one last thought: the Smith family didn’t end up selling their home after I staged it. Once they removed the clutter from their home and neutralized, they realized that the house was more than ample in space for them and decided not to list their home on the market! Staging sold them their own home again!
So, if you’re thinking of selling your home, make sure to insist on staging as part of your marketing plan with your realtor!
Ranger Smith has served his community since 2003 as a realtor. When he is not running The Ranger Smith Team in The Woodlands, Texas, Ranger participates in community events, is a youth minister at his church, leads outreach for the homeless, and serves the veterans of our great community. He currently holds an ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative), MCNE (Master Certified Negotiation Expert), CHMS (Certifed Home Marketing Specialist) and MRP (Military Relocation Professional) designation. He has been awarded Platinum Club membership as well as The Circle of Excellence award and served in the U.S Armed Forces.