“Home Staging” is not an original or innovative term in the real estate marketplace. However, the concept is starting to gain traction as the real estate landscape is starting to change across the country. In the past, “home staging” was relatively unknown to many home sellers and agents were familiar with the concept but were unfamiliar with the actual process. Today, staging a home is fast becoming an integral part of seller’s and agent’s marketing strategies. The question is, how much does it cost and is it worth it?
The Cost of Staging a Home
According to Realtor.com, professional stagers charge about $2,400 per month for a 2,000 square foot home. The costs include an initial consultation and $300 to $600 per room. However, some stagers charge far less for a consultation to determine if sellers will benefit by staging their home. Of course, sellers must be aware that professional stagers are in the business to make money, so it is critical to consult with references that worked with the stagers in the past.
What Professional Stagers Bring to the Table
Truly professional stagers recommend such things as adding or removing wallpaper and wall art or adding light fixtures to change the visual appeal of a room and create the appearance of added space. Expert stagers have an innate ability to soften a home’s weaknesses and emphasize a home’s strengths. If a stager places an emphasis on making any room in a house more user-friendly, and an ability to position furniture so the room’s traffic flow is obvious to potential buyers, then the cost might well be worth it.
What Buyers Want to See
Professional real estate investors and house flippers stage homes so buyers can see themselves living in the home. The goal is to present a house as elegantly as possible and to give potential buyers a sense of how they can make use of each room in the house. Homes that are vacant look smaller and buyers often times cannot envision themselves living in the house. Staging is an opportunity to present a home at its best and entice buyers to make an offer.
Does Staging Attract Higher Selling Prices
The jury is still out on whether staging attracts higher selling prices. According to a study published by the Journal of Housing Research in 2015, valuations do not differ significantly based on staging. The report indicated that staging alone has no effect on a home’s sales price. This is not to say that staging never fetches a higher sale’s price, quite the contrary. Some real estate professionals report that by staging a home, they’ve received offers on the same day that they listed the home. In some instances, a bidding war starts that often drives up the sales price.
To Stage or Not to Stage
Any home will sell if it is priced right and in great condition. However, many real estate professionals swear by the power of staging and believe in its value as a marketing tool. Exclusive seller’s agents believe that a staged home presents a perceived value that is often higher than the sales price. Many agents suggest that the cost sellers incur to stage a home will pay for itself by receiving multiple offers above the asking price, so why not stage the home?
Jodi Bakst has been serving the Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh area for the last 20 years and was recently recognized as one of the 10 best of 2016 in client satisfaction, by the American Institute of Real Estate Professionals