Staged kitchen and living room

Is home staging worth it? When it comes time to sell a house, many people ask themselves this question. Though the effectiveness of home staging can vary from market to market, the resounding answer is…yes, home staging is worth it. With the help of statistics and expert insight from Shell Brodnax, CEO at Real Estate Staging Association, we dive into the whys below.

Why Home Staging Works

The statistics below show the impact staging your home has on buyers from the perspective of realtors who primarily represent buyers.

  • 96% of realtors claim home staging has an impact on the buyer.
  • 81% said buyers find it easier to visualize the property as a future home.
  • 46% said buyers are more willing to walk through a staged home viewed online.
  • 45% said staging to buyers’ tastes positively impacts home value (compared to only 10% who said it has a negative impact).
  • 28% said staging could lead to buyers overlooking property faults.
  • Of realtors surveyed, 52% said home staging has a positive impact on the dollar value of the home.

It’s clear that most realtors believe home staging has significant impact on buyers. From making buyers more likely to visit a home after viewing online to impacting the experience buyers have when walking through a home, the statistics show that home staging works.

The Benefits of Home Staging

Staged living room

Staged Homes Sell Faster

“Online listings have made staging more important,” Shell Brodnax says. “Before the internet, people would search classified ads and decide to visit open houses of the listings they liked. Now, they can view properties online more easily than ever and just swipe left or right. Online listings need to be staged and well-photographed. Professional photography is very important today, too.”

When it comes to selling a home, more showings often means the home sells faster. Buyers are also more likely to visualize themselves living in the home when it’s staged, which plays a major role.

How quickly can staged homes sell? Betsy Wilbur, a home staging professional based in Glendale, CA, says that properties she stages sell in 12 days. The area average is 56 days on the market.

Stats provided by the Real Estate Staging Association reiterate this point. According to their national statistics report, which studied 1,081 homes, staged homes sold much faster than non-staged homes:

  • Non-staged homes spent an average of 184 days on the market.
  • After staging, these previously non-staged homes sold on average in 41 days.
  • Homes that were staged prior to going on the market sold on average in 23 days.

Simply put, homes staged before being listed for sale spend 90% less time on the market.

Staged Homes Sell for More Money

According to realtors who primarily represent sellers, 71% believe staged homes increase the dollar value of a home. The majority of realtors felt it increased the dollar value between 1% and 10%, but some said it increased the value as much as 20%.

Realtor.com states that staged homes sell for 20% more than non-staged houses. Wilbur has experienced this first-hand. Her clients’ homes sell on average for 6.3% above asking price in an area where 97% of asking prices are in line with the market average.

When asked if staged homes were more likely to sell for asking price or above, Brodnax says, “Absolutely. It’s Marketing 101. If you’re in a grocery store and you see an apple with a bite taken out of it right next to a shiny new apple, it’s clear which one is better. A house is a product, so it’s important to market it well to sell it.”

Is Home Staging Worth the Cost?

Staged office

Even if staged homes sell faster and for more money, that doesn’t automatically mean sellers have positive return on their investment as a result. It’s always possible that you could pay more for staging than what you’ll get in return.

Fortunately, that’s rarely the case. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median dollar amount spent on home staging is $675. When you compare that against the fact that staged homes sell for up to 20% more than non-staged homes—or that the return on investment for staging a home is around 586%—it’s pretty clear that home staging is worth the money.

That doesn’t even consider the money saved by selling your home 90% faster! “Another main benefit [of home staging] is reducing your carrying costs,” Brodnax adds. “If you go by current averages, you’re likely to sit on market for a while (eight months is the current average), and you’ll incur a lot of carrying costs. However, if you stage your home right away, it’ll sell in an average of 23 days.”

What does this equate to? For a home with a $2,400 mortgage and $1,000 in direct expenses, the total carrying costs add up to $3,400 a month. According to the average time on the market for non-staged versus staged homes (184 days versus 23 days), the seller would save $23,800 in carrying costs. Of course, the mortgage and direct expenses will vary widely from house to house, but the point is the same. Selling faster can save you a significant amount of money.

Is Home Staging Worth It For Everyone?

There are so many variables when it comes to real estate. Is staging right for your specific situation? According to Brodnax, the only instances where staging isn’t worth it is when selling to an investor.

“The only properties that don’t need to be staged are those that are specifically geared toward an investor, like fixer-uppers and houses that are being bought to flip.”

What about seller’s markets where homes don’t last for more than a few days? Even if you’re a seller in this fortunate situation, Brodnax says staging your home is a must.

“When everything is flying off the shelf, it’s very important to have your home staged. When it’s staged, you’ll be able to get multiple offers and potentially better offers. If you don’t stage your home, you’ll be leaving some serious money on the table. Homes that look better will be sold for more.”

And in a buyer’s market? “In a slow market, a staged home will be able to sell while other houses don’t get as much attention.”

If you’re going to be putting your home up for sale, it’s a good idea to stage it. From selling faster to getting better offers, home staging is well worth the investment.

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