To Stage, Or Not to Stage…

…That is the question.

Why does it matter? Where do I begin? Who do I call? How do I make it work with my life?

These are all valid questions that I will answer to the best of my ability without quoting the rest of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In order to do so, I will reference the National Association of Realtors Research Department’s 2017 Profile of Home Staging.

Why It’s Important

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The goal of staging is to make your home look as appealing as possible to the highest number of potential buyers. What does that mean for you? It means your home could spend less time on the market, and maybe even score a higher offer in the end. That being said, please don’t take it personally if your agent wants to bring in a stager! We don’t mean to offend you in any way. It’s not about whether or not we like your style; it’s about how it will appeal to someone else. A whopping 77% of buyers’ agents said that staging made it easier for their clients to visualize a place their future home. As much as you love seeing the photos of your family trip to Europe and your niece’s daughter’s puppy on your mantle, those kinds of personal effects might make it difficult for the future owner of your home to envision themselves living there.

The three most commonly staged rooms of a house are the living room, the master bedroom, and the kitchen/dining area. More often than not, those are the places a family will spend a majority of their time at home. For buyers, staging can be particularly handy when sizing up a room. For example, showing off how nicely a king sized bed fits into a master bedroom. Or how a breakfast table for two can be nestled perfectly into the kitchen. Especially nowadays, with open concept living being as popular as it is – it’s critical to accentuate the amount of space and fluidity of the room with the placement, color palette, and distance of the staging furniture.

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Things to avoid

In the world of staging, just like it is in real estate, things are not always black and white. Unfortunately, there’s no exact recipe for success in a world of grey. But to help make your sale a little smoother, here is a short list of things to avoid:

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  • Having too much stuff. Having things look too chaotic distracts buyers from seeing charm of the house itself, which is what buyers are ultimately after.
  • Shoving everything into your closets. People look inside closets during showings and open houses! They want to see what kind of storage space they have, and not be pummeled by the things that come falling out as they do so.
  • Keeping a lived-in look. As difficult as it is to live in a home that’s supposed to look vacant, it really is best to keep up the façade; as opposed to having buyers be turned off by seeing your dishes in the sink and your shoes in the hallway.
  • Over-staging. Proper staging should accent a room, giving it a neutral and relaxing feel. Putting too many pieces of furniture or artwork in a room makes it more about the furniture than the actual room.

So, to stage or not to stage? The choice is yours

I got together with my teammates to find out what their experiences and opinions on staging were. Together, in respect to our combined ventures, we found that a staged house yields an exponentially higher return (10-20%!!). Staging costs vary anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand, and much like the price, it depends on the product as well as the buyer to determine whether or not staging is useful to a sale. If you’re hesitant about making the decision, it may be useful to know that none of the respondents of the NAR Profile of Home Staging reported that staging had a negative impact on the dollar value of a home. Whether you’re convinced that staging your home is the best way to go, or you’re still on the fence about the whole practice; do your research, find what works best for you, and we’re happy to help if you need it!

reRVA’s advice? This above all: to thine own self be true…

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