Should I Stage My Home Before Selling?

Organizing Home for Photos You’ve decided to put your home on the market. Given the protracted transaction process that often accompanies home selling, this is a huge step. If you’ve been in your home for quite some time, it’s likely that you’ve amassed a personalized living space.

Red walls? Wallpaper? Shelves full of tchotchkes? They symbolize an emotional investment in your personal space. Should you ditch them when it comes time to show the house? The statistics say YES, you should.

According to a 2016 Real Estate Staging Association study, staged homes averaged only 23 days on the market before they were sold. However, you might be thinking “but, of course, they’re going to say that, they’re a ‘staging association’!” The National Realtor’s Association follows up with a related statistic that 81% of buyers have an easier time visualizing having the staged property as their “future home.” As with every decision, there are pros and cons to both.

Staging Advantages

  • For many buyers, their first stop in their home purchase adventure is to review the property online. Given the popularity of searching online listings, buyers have plentiful choices as they sift through jazzed up, professional photos of available homes. This means your home needs to catch their eye based on what they first see in photographs. Staging your home will help your home stand out from a potentially crowded market.
  • Buying a home can be analogous to online dating. People post their best pictures (usually) to draw in interested parties. However, if the picture and the home interior don’t match, the other party feels as if a bait and switch occurred. If your pictures are beautiful because you shoved the clutter in a closet, but the home buyer arrives at the showing, and the clutter tumbles out of the closet when they open it, you’re setting yourself up for home selling failure. Staging solves this problem. It reinforces that what the buyer sees in the photo is what the buyer will experience when they are standing on the property. It builds trust. That’s a huge leap closer to a sale.
  • Staged homes tend to have higher sales price says Coldwell Banker. Indeed, a 17% markup on the listing price is more likely when compared to non-staged homes.

Staging Disadvantages

  • If you go the professional staging route, this will require a financial investment. The least amount you’d be spending hovers around $200 and then moves into the tens of thousands depending on how intensive the staging needs to be.
  • Even if you decide to do a DIY home staging, you’ll be sinking additional “sweat equity” into the process. In between everything else you need to do (paperwork, taking pictures, advertising, fielding calls from your real estate agent), you’ll need to reign in your emotions and store a majority of your personal items for both aesthetics and safety. People may look through cabinets, and they’ll most certainly open closet doors, so it’s best to store medicines or paperwork containing sensitive information in a safe location off the property.

At the very least, when it comes time to take photos and scheduling your home showing, it’s best to clean and declutter all of the rooms and bathrooms thoroughly. Try to view the situation from the buyer’s perspective. Wouldn’t you hesitate to purchase anything, much less a home, that shows sign of damage and unrepaired wear and tear?


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