Many real estate agents are convinced that staging your home for the market is worth the time and money. However, a recent academic study shows that staging might not be as important as many Realtors believe, and staging might not raise the home’s sales price.
The study surveyed 820 homebuyers, walking them through a series of six virtual tours of a single home. Each tour focused on either wall color or furnishings, which are two of the most important staging elements, according to most experts. In one virtual tour, the buyers saw the home without furniture. In another virtual tour, they saw the same property, but with “ugly” furniture. In yet another virtual tour, they saw the same property, but with “good” furniture. The wall color variations included a neutral beige and an “unattractive” purple.
As it turned out, neither wall color nor furnishings made much of an impact on the potential sale price. According to the study, buyers were willing to pay the same price regardless of how the property was staged.
One reason why staging may not help raise the price is that buyers are savvy. They know that staging is a superficial process, and they know that cosmetic changes don’t cost much.
However, there are many real estate professionals who are devout believers in the power of staging a home for the market. For one thing, the study found that staging does give buyers a more favorable impression of the home’s livability. Different clientele might be differentially influenced by staging. It also seems reasonable to suspect different staging looks would appeal to different tastes and preferences of people.
Staging can give sellers two competitive advantages: One, staging allows the seller to turn a potential negative into a positive, and two, buyers are picky, so an un-staged home could stick out, but not in ways that attract buyers.
Staging a home can greatly improve its show-ability, therefore making it much more likely to sell. However, it’s difficult to translate that into a higher price.
At the very least, the home needs to be clean and clutter-free and in good repair inside and out. Stagers, on the other hand, can see your home as buyers will, and they will set the scene so that buyers can imagine living there. They are likely to simplify or streamline the furniture in a room for better traffic flow and to enhance its spaciousness. They may neutralize a too-personal color scheme or add touches of color or accessories where needed.
For many Realtors, staging remains an essential part of marketing a home, especially in a buyer’s market.