Should You Stage Your Home Before You Sell It?
If you’re like many home sellers, you are struggling with the question of "should you stage your home" before planting the For Sale sign. Staging takes time. It takes money. So is it worth it?
The short answer: Yes.
Stage your home because first impressions are everything. Just like in job interviews, dating and handshakes, first impressions most definitely matter in real estate.
A well-dressed house, whether you stage it yourself or hire an East Bay staging expert, impacts the number of offers received, how many days a property stays on the market and the final sales price.
A staged home could boost your sales price by as much as 10 percent, according to some estimates.
And consider these stats from a National Association of Realtors survey: 81 percent of agents said staging helps buyers visualize the property as a future home; and 46 percent believe staging encourages prospective buyers to walk through a home they saw online.
“The bottom line is whatever you spend on staging, you’ll probably see a return of 10 times that in your final price,” says Jeffrey Himmel, a stager with Pauline Pearsall Staging, based in Oakland.
Jeffrey, who previously worked as a real estate agent before changing careers, approaches staging with a Realtor’s eye.
“It’s not about showing how the seller lives in the home,” he says, “but about making it universally appealing to the broadest base of buyers.”
More Reasons to Stage Your House:
Buyers aren’t just looking for four walls and a roof – they want a place where they can live the life they dream of. Staging helps create emotional demand. Market to your buying demographic. If your neighborhood attracts families, show a nursery and playroom. Marketing to young professionals who work hard and play harder? Show a home office inside and a loungy outdoor living space.
Staging is the norm in the red-hot San Francisco Bay Area real estate market. An unstaged house will pale in comparison.
Staging can help potential buyers see past a home’s defects and deferred maintenance. It gives the appearance of being well maintained.
Have a small property or small rooms? Jeffrey says proper staging provides scale and shows potential buyers how big they can live in the home.
A staged home looks better in photographs online, Jeffrey says. That’s important because more than 90% of home searches occur online.
Potential buyers decide within 90 seconds whether the house is worth seeing in person.
Stage It Yourself or Hire an Expert?
Before you decide whether to stage your home yourself or hire a stager, do as much improvement work you can. That means decluttering, removing personal photos and objects, patching drywall holes, repainting in neutral colors, removing stains and basically rolling up your sleeves for overall extreme cleaning. (Use Abio Properties’ cleaning checklist.)
Then ask yourself and your real estate agent if your remaining furnishings are too dark, too big, too funky, too outdated… You get the idea.
In the Bay Area, for about $3,500-$7,500 depending on the number of rooms, a stager can fill a vacant house with distinctive furniture, accessories and wall coverings that enhance otherwise empty rooms with bare floors, walls and windows. Some stagers will cut their fee if they use most of your furniture instead of theirs.
What the professional stager has that you don’t, beside experience, is inventory. Jeffrey says he loves delving deep in the warehouse and curating that perfectly eclectic mix of furnishings and splashes of color that draw a potential home buyer’s eye through a space and make it memorable.
You, as the seller, might not love the finished product because your personal style and homey knick knacks have been erased. But the goal is to show potential buyers how they could live in the home, not how you lived there.
As Jeffrey says, “If the seller is really uncomfortable with the staging, we know we did our job well!”