Many home sellers I speak to have a hard time justifying the upfront costs of staging to the potential benefits down the road. Studies have been done that support both sides of the argument. A recent study by Michael Seiler, Professor of Real Estate and Finance at the College of William and Mary showed that buyers would be willing to pay the same price for a home whether it was staged or not. Other studies show the opposite, that home sellers would receive a higher sales price and benefit from a faster sale if their home is staged.
You can find many studies online that support both arguments but here is a list from my experience of some low cost things you can do to increase your home’s appeal.
1) Furnished homes show better than empty ones: You may think that an empty home will seem larger, but sometimes the opposite is true; Especially for smaller homes. Having some furniture inside will help buyers visualize whether their furniture will fit in the space and will also make the home feel more inviting.
2) Clutter and filth are a big turn-off: Even the most experienced home buyers have a hard time looking past cluttered and dirty homes. Clutter makes it difficult to understand the actual size of rooms and the time spent avoiding junk is all time taken away from actually looking at the benefits of your home. If you don’t do anything else, take the time to de-clutter your home!
3) Removing personal items: Family photos and controversial art all take away from buyers’ ability to picture themselves living in the home. Remove these decorations and consider replacing with more generic items.
4) Strong odours and loud noises: Avoid cooking any fried meals before showings and open houses.
5) Making small aesthetic repairs: Buyers tend to overestimate the costs of re-painting, fixing chipped moulding and damaged fixtures. Repairing these small defects gives buyers less opportunity to chip away at your asking price and will also give the impression that the home has been cared for.
6) Don’t ignore the exterior: First impressions matter so make sure your yard and driveway are tidy and well-kept.
So to answer the question, staging may make more sense when you have a vacant home or a home with little or no furniture. You may consider having a 1-on 1 consultation with a professional stager to get some tips on how to make your home look as presentable as possible. I work with several staging companies so contact me if you are interested in this service.