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Staging – Do You Have To?

Staging – Do You Have To?

Staging has become part of the standard drill in preparing a home to sell. Making a good first impression, whether via photos on the internet or as the buyer walks through the door, has never been more important when marketing a property. Brokers typically advise sellers to undertake some level of staging, ranging from a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering, to rearranging furniture and adding accessories, or in some cases, an interior redesign or renovation, or renting furniture to fill an empty home. The appropriate level of staging depends on the home’s condition and the seller’s budget, and depending on the level of staging and size of the home, can cost $2,000 to $50,000.

Ideally sellers trust the process and take to heart the suggestions of real estate professionals who, with years of experience, have a keen sense of how to present a home to its best advantage. But even with staging widely accepted as an important element of marketing a property we do meet with resistance from time to time.

Some sellers assume that, in a seller’s market, such as the one we have right now, with inventory in such short supply staging isn’t necessary. Other sellers attentively listen to brokers’ suggested fixes and entertain stagers’ proposals, but at some point begin to feel completely overwhelmed and question the necessity.  Sometimes sellers are resistant to staging because they feel their home is perfect as is, or they believe they have the skills to make changes on their own.

Occasionally a home is ready to list without staging, but even the most pristine home can benefit from some tweaking to ensure the photos standout on the internet.  Most homes profit from an evaluation by someone with an impartial eye who can identify the strengths and weakness as perceived by buyers, and who has the expertise to enhance the property’s appearance in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.  And even though staging may seem like a lot of work, much of it involves de-cluttering, which can be useful as an organizational exercise for moving out.

Here is why it’s worth it to stage in any market, and for the majority of properties: It pays off. Staging typically raises sales prices by 2% to 5% (and often many times more), which amounts to an additional $20,000 to $50,000 for a $1,000,000 sale. As an added bonus, properties that are staged also tend to sell faster. Yes, staging is an investment of time and money for the seller, but, as I’ve seen countless times, it’s an investment that pays off handsomely in multiples of the money spent.

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