Now or Later

“Your investment in staging now will be less than your price reduction later,” I recently told a potential staging client as she balked at my quote to stage her semi-vacant home.  This particular client was moving into a smaller home in a 55+ community as she downsized for their future.  They had dreams of traveling  after they sold their 5500+ sq. ft.  home on 5 acres.  To be free of the upkeep and worry was a real motivation for them!

Her realtor had suggested they stage their home, and I had given them a quote to stage the main areas of the house, using some of their existing furniture and filling in some areas that needed to be updated or holes to be filled.  I often find people are a little surprised at what the cost to rent and stage a property can be.  This is very understandable!  I compare it to the cost of renovating a bathroom or kitchen….it’s not something you shop for everyday…. so it’s difficult to put a value on it as you add everything up.  Plus, most sellers are in the mindset that they are ready to move on and really don’t want to put any more work/money into a house they are no longer going to enjoy.

Let’s look at your return on investment (ROI)

It is important as a seller to remember that while you are not spending money to enjoy improvements for yourself – you are investing in your biggest asset – your home.  Once you decide to sell your home, it becomes a house that needs to be merchandised so that it will appeal to the largest audience and will gain the highest dollar. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400.  Now, compare that to the average price reduction rage of 10-20%. 

Let’s look at that in real dollars: 

  • A house is listed for $400,000. They decide to invest $2500 into staging = potential $10,000 in return on investment
  • The house sits on the market for over 60 days and they decide to reduce the price by 20% = loss of $80,000

With such convincing numbers as that, the next question is:  What will it cost to stage my home?

What will it cost to stage my home?

There are many factors that go into determining what staging will cost, it depends on if it is an occupied or vacant property.  Where in the country the property is and will it need more than cosmetic changes?  Will it need paint, new flooring, repairs or possibly updates? 

It is highly recommended to stage vacant properties.  According to the National Association of Realtors – Buyers spend an average of 5 minutes in an empty house and 40 minutes in a furnished house.  I don’t know about you, but I have to try on a dress for more than 5 minutes before I buy it…    I definitely need more time when it comes to buying a whole house!  Welcome your potential buyers in, give them a place to sit, let the furnishings show off the features of the space.

The cost to stage a vacant property will depend on how many rooms are recommended to furnish and the rate for the rental of furnishings & accessories in addition to the stager’s fees. 

Some staging companies offer a walk through service with a written report for those who prefer to DIY it.  Others will offer a “photo ready” fee to prep an occupied home using the seller’s own items.  Some companies charge by the hour and others have a set fee.  It is recommended that you work with a professional stager and if there are rental terms, be sure to have a signed contract with clear terms for each party.

Do I need to remodel?

When you look at investing $100 and your ROI is projected to be $400, I have many clients ask, do I need to remodel then?  While it is not recommended to remodel prior to selling, it is important to take a look at the house through the eyes of a buyer and see if some changes need to be made.  Common things to invest in may include: new flooring, new paint, new appliances or light fixtures.  Many sellers are hesitant to spend on such improvements, either because they would rather give a “credit” to the potential buyer and not be bothered with the task, or because they are not sure what changes to make and feel it would be best for the buyer to choose. 

In the case of giving a “credit” toward improvements, realtors and stagers agree that is a risky decision.  Keep in mind that over 70% of buyers research properties online before they visit in person (for millennial’s it is 94%).  Those buyers are not going to see the “credit” information to influence their choice.  Pictures tell a 1,000 words and your house should say “Welcome” in the first photo. 

For those sellers who just don’t know what changes would appeal to potential buyers, it is a great reason to hire a professional stager.  They will know the demographic for your particular buyers and therefore what changes will make the biggest impact.  Plus, they have a trained eye and will know what will look best for your style of house.  They know the market and what shows best compared to other properties out there.

Catch their Eye Online

Over 80% of buyers research properties online before they visit in person.  Make your listing photos stand out by professionally staging your property.

The Value of Staging

Once my client and I had the chance to look at some of the facts behind the benefits of staging her home, she agreed that it made a lot of sense.  In addition to not losing money if the house sat on the market, I shared some other impactful stats with her:

  • Statistics show that well staged homes spend 50% less time on the market
  • Staged homes sell for 1-17% higher than the comparable non-staged homes in their market
  • Agents are more likely to show a staged home

While no one wants to go into selling their home with the thought they might need to reduce the price, it is wise to consider what can be done to avoid that scenario.  A relatively small investment NOW can lead to a greater PROFIT in the future.

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