What is ‘Staging’ and why does it help?

  • To stage a property for sale is to prepare it to put its best face forward at viewings and open houses.  Staging aims to make a property appeal to the greatest number of buyers and thus achieve a faster sale for a higher price.
  • It helps because buyers are human beings:  their emotional response is highly dominant; their gut response to a property is formed in the first few seconds based on what they immediately see, smell, hear and touch.  They have fantasies about having a beautiful new home and they can struggle to see past things that turn them off, even if those things won’t be part of the purchase or could easily be changed (e.g. furnishings, paint color, minor repairs)
  • Some of the strategies for maximizing appeal and minimizing turn-offs are common-sense, straightforward and easy for any seller to implement. These include making sure the home is:
    • Clean and smells good
    • In good repair
    • Tidy and organized

Others may require an objective professional’s help:

    • Accentuation of key selling features of the space
    • Improvement or minimization of less marketable features
    • De-personalization the space without making it sterile
    • ‘Strategic decorating’ in terms of who’s most likely to buy, what their needs are, and how a property stacks up against the competition in the marketplace, with décor, layout, furnishings & art following suit to help potential buyers

Which homes need to be staged?

Whilst any property can reap the benefits of staging for the fastest sale for highest price possible, some may struggle to generate interest without it.  Those are:

  • Unfurnished properties (rooms look smaller and uninviting when empty)
  • Idiosyncratically furnished or decorated homes (won’t appeal to the greatest number of people)
  • Crowded or cluttered homes
  • A property that has languished on the market for a few months with no offers

How much does it cost?

Depending on what needs doing and who’s doing the work, it can cost as little as $500 (for flowers, and extra touches like fresh bath towels), but this assumes the homeowners are doing the cleaning work, etc.  Painting, fixing, and minor renovations are often required.  New furniture and furnishings may also need to be rented.  And stagers charge fees.

In our experience, the total cost of staging (including minor renovations, painting, furnishing, cleaning and window cleaning) usually falls within 0.5-1.5% of the list price.

However staging can be viewed as an investment, not a cost

  • The longer a property is on the market, the more likely it is that the price will be reduced. The first price reduction is likely to be significantly greater than the cost of staging
  • A successful staging can generate multiple bids, in which case the closing price is greater than the asking price

Further information

Home Staging for Dummies, Rae & Maresh, Wiley Publishing, Inc., NJ, 2008

HGTV Shows:  Buying and Selling; Love It or List It.