First of all, we need a definition of Home Staging, also known as Real Estate Staging. Staging is the process of preparing a house to sell so that it appeals to a broad range of the target market thus bringing in more potential buyers, receiving more offers and selling faster. Staging cuts the time for a home on the market by more than 50% (RESA 2013) and also brings in 10%-17% more money than comparable un-staged houses (NAR). An average staging investment of 1%-3% of listing price generates a return on investment of 8-10% (NAR).
WHAT HOUSES SHOULD BE STAGED?
The simple answer to this is ALL houses need some amount of staging, even professionally decorated houses. Decorating is very taste specific and that is the way it should be when YOU are living in the house. But when it goes on the market your house needs to appeal to as many in the target market as possible. And that is done by professional staging. Vacant houses definitely need staging whether new or old. Most people have a lot of difficulty visualizing and will see an empty house as uninviting, cold and sterile. When it is furnished and warmed up with staging, buyers are so much more likely to fall in love with it. I’ve seen it happen so many times!
WHEN SHOULD A HOUSE BE PROFESSIONALLY STAGED FOR THE MARKET?
BEFORE it is listed! I cannot stress this enough. There are a few good reasons for this. 1) You will take advantage of the momentum that is created when a house first hits the market. 2) You will have great photos for the MLS or other advertising platforms. Over 94% of buyers shop the internet first. When they see a house that is presented beautifully as opposed to one that is vacant or one that is messy and not staged at all, they will choose to see the well presented one. 3) First impressions count-whether good or bad! When buyers walk in that door, you only have ONE chance to make a good impression. Those buyers are likely not going to come back just because you staged it at a later date. And keep in mind, the buyers that see your house first are likely the ones that are most interested, and that goes back to taking advantage of the initial momentum.
That being said, if you do not stage your house before it is listed, don’t get the idea that there is no point in staging after the fact. It is never too late to stage even though you will miss out on the advantages listed above.