This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Question: We are planning to sell our home and wondering if the cost of professional staging is worth it. What’s your opinion on staging and are there certain circumstances where you do or do not recommend it?
Answer: I recommend staging for almost every home I sell because it will increase your sale price by more than you spend and help your home sell faster. In fact, it makes such a difference that clients often joke after seeing their decluttered and staged home that they’re considering moving back in!
What Is Staging?
Professional staging is a service used to improve the marketability of a home by arranging rented furniture in certain rooms of a home to maximize the space and visual appeal. Most staging professionals have an interior design background and a large supply of furniture to work with.
Staging is mostly done when a home is vacant, but for sellers occupying the home they’re living in, stagers will also provide consultations on how to best utilize your existing furniture and make suggestions on small add-on items to enhance a space (area rugs, towels, flowers, wall art, etc).
How Much $$$?
Condos can usually be staged for $1,500-$2,500 and townhomes and single family homes generally cost $2,500-$4,000 depending on the number of rooms you stage and quality of furnishings. For high-end real estate, expect to spend $5,000-$10,000. You should plan on spending 0.5-1 percent of your asking price on staging a vacant home.
What Are The Advantages?
- Better pictures = more interest online = more showing traffic
- Significantly better showing experience for buyers
- Empty space looks smaller, staging helps visually increase the size of a room
- Buyers struggle to visualize how beds, couches, tables, etc will fit
- Awkward spaces benefit from the design of a professional
- Clean, organized look increases the sense of a well-maintained home
- Play to the strengths of a room and distract from its flaws
When Should You Stage?
- Move-in-ready condition (limited updates/investment required)
- Home has been thoroughly cleaned and freshened up as necessary (paint, replace damaged/ancient items, etc)
- Using professional photography
Where’s The Proof?
You may see staging companies or agents make claims that staged properties return an “X” percent higher sale price or sell “X” days faster than unstaged properties, but the reality is these numbers are just convenient marketing figures with no real substance.
One of the challenges with statements like these in real estate is that you don’t have the ability to isolate something like staging and compare the success or failure of the same home sale with and without it. You have to rely on the experience of your agent to help with decisions like these.
My experience with staging comes from seeing the impact it has on homes I sell, but even more so, how buyers I work with react. There is a noticeable difference in how buyers react to staged homes versus empty or cluttered homes (lived in without regard for design) and this shows up in their preferences when they’re viewing properties online to decide what they want to see and then again when they’re actually in the property.
I generally take an opportunity to point this out to my clients so they understand how much of an impact staging has on their perception of a home, so they keep it in mind when it comes time for them to sell.
I’m Here To Help
If you’re considering selling and trying to decide which investments like staging, painting, and updated appliances will return more than they cost, feel free to reach out to set-up time for me to see your home and make some suggestions.
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.