Does Staging your home for sale mean it will sell faster and for more money? Yes, No, Maybe. I have read several blog posts and their responses recently from Lenn Harley, Karen Bernetti and Julea Joseph about home staging, stagers, their value to the sales process (as well as their credibility) that have inspired me to write a post that offers my two cents.
There is much debate between agents and stagers over the value of staging. The responses from those debates has led me to believe that we have not done a good job at educating each other on what each of us do, and that maybe the definition of staging needs a more comprehensive explanation.
The generic definition of Staging: Preparing a Home for Sale
Many agents say they already do this and there is no need to bring in another person to do something they already do. That may be true, there are many agents in my area that are very good at working with their sellers to get a house ready for the market. However, there are also agents that may not have time to project manage the details so they delegate it by partnering with a stager.
There are also agents that either do not know how to prepare a home for sale, are to lazy to prepare a home for sale and/or are scared to death to bring up anything that may upset a seller so they do not address it at all. (This could be another blog topic all-together) Lastly, there is the seller that thinks they know it all, can do it themselves and will not hire a stager. I think Karen touches on this in her article, What is staging? Does anybody really know?
What do stagers do in the real world to actually prepare a home for sale? Below is a list of the things most stagers do in some form or fashion. Some stagers like to specialize in one or two areas, others are more of a generalist and can adapt to whatever the seller's needs are.
1. Clean, de-clutter and de-personalize the house, spruce up the curb appeal etc.; sometimes they advise the seller on what to do, sometimes the seller prefers the stager to do it for them. This may seem obvious but I think both stagers and agents alike can agree that some sellers do not understand exactly what this means and need assistance.
2. Re-arrange furniture and accessorize rooms once the house has been cleaned, de-cluttered and de-personalized with the focus on making sure the desirable features like a fireplace, molding, hardwoods and square footage etc. are the main attraction and that the buyer does not get distracted or lose focus on the what the house has to offer.
3. Bring in rental furniture and accessories to "decorate" (I don't like that word, but it is what everyone understands) a model home, vacant home or even an occupied home that may have dated or inappropriate furnishings.
4. Address the cosmetic condition of a home and work with the sellers to complete the changes that will give them the highest return on their investment. Depending on who you ask, some agents do not consider this to be staging, they consider it to be condition. However, many stagers consider this staging and work with sellers on updating the cosmetic condition of a home while preparing the home for sale. Cosmetically updating a home's condition can have a huge impact on the list price and ultimately the sale price of a home. What do I mean by cosmetic condition? Painting walls a neutral color, removing or painting over wallpaper, painting wood paneling, updating fixtures, updating flooring, removing carpeting from atop of hardwoods, I could keep going but I think you get the picture. As stagers and agents, we know that a dated property that needs cosmetic updates may scare off buyers who do not have the money or skills to do the work themselves and if they do, they expect a huge discount on the price to compensate them for the the cosmetic work that needs to be done.
Preparing a home for sale, ie: staging, may involve only one of the items on the list or in some cases all the items on this list, so depending on the situation staging can take on different meanings. This in a nutshell is what stagers do.
Now to answer the question, Does Staging your Home for sale mean it will sell faster and for more money? Yes, No, Maybe -- What?
The truth is staging a home for sale does not give the listing agent a license to overprice a house. If the house is overpriced and does not sell, it does not mean staging did not work, it means the listing agent did not price the house properly. As a listing agent I was taught to price a home by evaluating the location, condition of the home (which I will address next), what similar homes sold for in the past 6 months and what the current market conditions are. You will notice that Staging was not on the list.
The condition of a home (cosmetic and otherwise) has a major impact on what the list price should be. Many items that fall under the definition of condition have nothing to do with staging but have a direct impact on the list price. These items are the responsibility of the listing agent to address with the seller when they review the residential disclosure requirements. The agent may recommend that the seller get a pre-sale home inspection to determine the condition of the house. A home inspector generally inspects the visible and accessible components of a house like mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, roofing etc. As agents we know that if any of these items are in need of repair or nearing the end of their useful life, buyers may shy away from buying the property or expect a huge discount on the price to compensate them for the future out of pocket expense. We also know that homes that are well maintained, in good condition and have had mechanical, roofing updates and the like appeal to buyers and sell for more money than their counterpart house that is on its last leg and in need of repairs.
I believe in all the aspects of home staging. I believe that staged homes sell faster and for more money than non-staged homes if the home is staged and priced correctly. I will also tell you as a real estate agent and stager, not all my listings are staged, SHOCKING!! Why? For many reasons that I won't get into here, it does not make sense for the seller to stage their home. Ultimately it is the seller's decision on whether or not they want to invest the time, money and effort into staging however, I make sure it is an informed decision.
Many agents will argue that pricing a home correctly is what makes a home sell faster and improving the condition of the home is what actually makes it sell for more money. I agree and if you have the time, knowledge and resources to handle all these items alone, knock yourself out. I am a real estate agent and an accredited home stager, not superwoman and even I have to delegate tasks and bring in other people on projects that are large and have alot of moving parts. A good, credible home stager brings value to the sales process by alleviating the agent from having to manage this process themselves. Those same agents will also argue that "decorative staging" adds no value just expense. I will have to disagree with that last sentence and tell you that it will be the topic of my next blog post to educate agents on the value of "decorative staging" and the purpose it serves in the home selling process.
Whew! Now that I have gotten that off my chest, please feel free to provide your two cents on: does staging your home for sale mean it will sell faster and for more money.
If you would like to know more about staging your home to sell in the Metro Charlotte, NC area and does staging your home for sale mean it will sell faster and for more money? Please feel free to contact Jennifer Manchester and www.JenniferManchester.com
This article was written by: Jennifer Manchester. If you want to learn more about Staging your Charlotte, NC home to sell contact Jennifer Manchester at www.JenniferManchester.com and make an appointment to give your home a competitive edge and use the ultimate home seller's marketing tool to beat out your competition and get your home sold faster.
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