So, you’re selling your home. Congratulations! More than likely, you are moving because either you or your spouse has a new job, you are moving on to a bigger or better home, or you have a bundle of joy on the way and need a little more space. Those are just a few popular reasons for selling.
So you look around, try to clean up as much as you can, hire a realtor, and he or she tells you that you need to stage your home and that it’s going to cost you money. You start to get the feeling of both your blood boiling a little bit and a slight panic attack when you realize it’s probably going to cost a few thousand dollars. You begin to silently create an invoice in your head for this home and all it has cost you over the years and your first reaction is, “this person is crazy! I’m not spending another dime on this house! It should be making me money!” Hold it right there. I’ve been there. You’re realtor is not crazy. He or she wants to make the highest profit margin possible on this home too. You are looking at this all wrong.
Stop focusing on how much it is going to cost you up front and look at the bigger picture. Is it really going to cost you money or can you get all that you invest and then some if you stage? That’s what you need to be asking yourself. Buyers like beautiful blank canvases which they can imagine their stuff in and your home might be worth a lot more as is, but news flash, buyers have got to want to give you that price. According to Realtor.com, “On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged ones…” (http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/how-much-does-home-staging-cost/) That means that if you are selling your home for $400,000, it could potentially sell for up to $480,000. I would say that makes your average $5000 staging budget seem like it’s more than worth it!
Looking at the data below, taken by the National Association of Realtors profile for 2017, the findings for the performance of a staged home for sale are significant. There is a powerful difference in price sold and time on the market compared to homes that are not staged.
In a real life story from realtor.com, Janaitis invested $7000 hiring a stager to sell her home. In addition to other things, the stager basically gave her home a facelift, “changing several light fixtures, and removing wallpaper and several pieces of furniture before moving rental furniture in and adding wall art.” (http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/is-it-worth-it-to-stage-your-home-when-you-put-it-on-the-market/) The investment and labor paid off. “The results were impressive Janaitis said. “The house sold the same day and for $30,000 over the list price,”…” (http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/is-it-worth-it-to-stage-your-home-when-you-put-it-on-the-market/). This a very compelling argument for parting with your money for a short time as Janaitis more than quadrupled what she put into it and she didn’t even have to wait 24 hours to get an offer. I think that is a great hourly rate for your hard work.
Another point to consider when selling a home is that if a buyer looks at your home and they don’t see it as worth the price you want, then more than likely you are not going to get it. You have to sell that price to the buyer. Make them see that your house is worth what you are asking. Otherwise, your home is going to sit on the market for a lot longer than the one across the street (who staged) and it is more than likely going to sell for much less than you would like it to. Sometimes staging can be the difference between walking away with some cash in your pocket after closing or bringing a nice check to pay someone to buy your property. I don’t think you want the latter scenario I just described.
If you are wondering where to start or if you can’t afford to stage your entire home, don’t freak out. There is some wiggle room with this, just prioritize what you can afford or start there. According to the National Association of Realtors, “Staging the living room for buyers was found to be most important (55 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (51 percent), and staging the kitchen (41 percent).” (https://www.nar.realtor/reports/profile-of-home-staging). For a little more insight, look at the infographic below from the National Association of Realtors:
If you are short on cash, you do have options. Some of those options include, staging your home yourself if you can’t come up with the money to hire a stager. I know that everyone’s financial situation is different. If you are considering staging your home yourself, check out the my past post here: Stage Your House to Sell Fast and For Top Dollar. There are helpful tips and tricks there to get you started.
Another option could be virtual, or online staging. This is becoming a lucrative business for many and don’t think that because it is online that these decorators and stagers don’t take their job seriously. They are on their game. A few advantages to this, is that they don’t have to visit your home and the price is often cheaper than hiring someone to show up in person. The prices vary a lot from what I can see. Some charge per room, others charge by phone call for 45 to 60 minutes at a time and some have a flat fee. You will have to shop around and decide what is best for you.
My last suggestion is to hire a stager to give you a consultation. Most stagers charge a fee for a consultation, somewhere between $150 – $300. It could be more or less depending on where you live, the size of your house, etc. There is a good reason for this. It often takes some time and money to visit your home, look it over, and give you an idea of what needs to be done. They need to be paid for their time and efforts. They could give you an idea on where to start. Stagers have a great eye for what is going to please a buyer.
So, if you want to get the best bang for you buck on your home sale, then stage your home. You won’t regret it and there is a strong chance you will get your money back and then some. A home is often times our biggest investment next to our kids college education, so make it count. This is not the area of your life to go into half-way. Regardless of your situation with your house, putting your best foot forward is always the best way to go. You will never know what might have happened if you decide not to…