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Home Staging FAQs

for Home Sellers
What you need to know about cost, time, value, and how home staging leads to a faster sale.
What is home staging?

Home Staging is a marketing tool that uses decorating to show off a home’s best features while downplaying its flaws. Done right, staging creates an emotional connection between home and buyer, leading to a faster sale at maximum value. 

Recent studies show that Realtors believe home staging increases the dollar amount that buyers are willing to pay for a home by between 1 and 10% and homes that are staged first, before listing, spend 90% less time on the market.

Is home staging only for vacant or luxury homes?

Home staging is for all homes, occupied or vacant, and in every price point and condition. Staging a home with what a home seller already has is always the preferred choice, as it leads to greater savings on labor and furniture rental fees.

Every home can benefit from a 2-hour home staging consultation to raise the perceived value of your home in the buyer’s eyes. A small investment in a home staging consultation can increase buyer appeal, reaping large rewards in the final sales price.

Should I list my home first and stage later if my home does not sell?

The Real Estate Staging Association’s (RESA) Home Staging National Statistics Report found that homes that were staged first before listing, rather than after listing, spent 90% less time on the market. The longer a home is on the market, the less desirable it becomes. Just like food, a home for sale becomes stale in a very short period of time. See the article,  Big Bang Theory of Home Staging.

Do I need to stage every room?

Every space in an owner-occupied home should be staged for a consistent look-and-feel throughout. For vacant homes, it is critical to stage the main rooms, awkward spaces, and any areas that appear smaller than comparable spaces in the home. When rooms are left empty, buyers may wonder if you have already moved out or are desperate to sell, encouraging low offers.

Why should I invest in home staging in a seller’s/buyer's market?
Home staging works in every type of market. Even in a seller’s market, there will always be homes that do not sell quickly. Staged homes generate more interest on the web and in person, by creating move-in ready homes that feel fresh, spacious, and up-to-date. All these conditions lead to higher offers, potential bidding wars, and greater profits for you in any market.
How long will it take to stage my home?
This varies based on the size of your home, what is needed to best market the property, the experience of the stager, and if the home is vacant or owner-occupied. An owner-occupied home can be staged in as little as 2 to 3 hours. The process for staging a vacant home generally takes 10 to 14 days from the date of the initial consultation. For best results, call the stager as soon as possible.
What does a consultation include?

A consultation gives you a complete list of everything you can do to prepare your home, both inside and out, whether it is vacant or occupied. With this information, you can then decide how much work you will do yourself and how much you would like your stager to do. Recommendations include:

  • cleaning
  • decluttering
  • maintenance
  • paint colors
  • flooring
  • lighting
  • furniture and accessory placement to highlight each space or focal point
  • purchases, if needed (i.e. bedding, towels, lighting, et al)
  • contractors
  • curb appeal
  • preparing for the photo shoot
  • advice for keeping the home show ready

Your stager will also give you helpful tips for staying organized and comfortable while living in your staged home. You’ll never have to turn down a showing because you’ll be ready to show your property at a moment’s notice.

What is the home staging process for a vacant home?

The process begins with a 2-hour working consultation at the home. This is the design phase and also includes a full review of the home. Following the consultation, rental furniture will be sourced and unique accessories acquired. The final staging–all of the decorating–will be completed in 1 to 3 days. The entire process generally takes about 10 to 14 days from the date of the initial consultation. This is dependent upon home seller signing furniture rental contract, and any other work that might need to occur first (like cleaning, painting, repairs). Staging should always be completed last.

What should I look for when selecting a home stager?

Even though there is no legal licensing or training requirement to become a home stager, do your homework. An accomplished stager will have good reviews, training, and proven natural talent to get you great results. 

A good home stager will be a great asset to your home selling team. They will make your house look great, help you make the most money by selling quickly, and be a great coach and supporter to you throughout the process. Their number one goal is to help you! To learn more, see the article on tips to hiring a great stager.

Is it important to find a stager that has their own inventory of furniture and accessories?

The most important thing is the quality of the end product and that the furniture matches the style, size, and purpose of each room. Simultaneously, the overall design needs to appeal to your home’s target buyer. Using furniture rental companies allows for the widest selection of style and price to coordinate perfectly with the style and  price point of your home.

Does the stager coordinate all the contractors for painting, cleaning, and repairs?

Stagers can recommend trusted, professional contractors. For owner-occupied homes you, as the home owner, will find it faster and more convenient to coordinate these contractors yourself. For home sellers living away from the property, the stager can easily coordinate all.

Can my Realtor do the staging for me?

It is always faster and more effective to hire the right professional for the job. If your Realtor is not a professional home stager, it is better for your bottom line to hire a pro. Wouldn’t you rather your Realtor spend his/her time to find the ideal buyer for your home than to stage it?

Written by Susan Atwell of AtWell Staged Home and Mary Ann Benoit of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design.

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