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Home Staging FAQs

for Realtors
What you need to know about cost, time, value, and how home staging leads to more listings.
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.

A recent National Association of Realtors report states that at least 50% of Realtors think 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 a 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.

What should I tell a client who wants to list first and stage later if their home does not sell?
The same thing you tell a client who wants to “test” the market with an unrealistic listing price, just to inevitably reduce the price later. The longer a home is on the market, the less desirable it becomes. Like food, a listing becomes stale in a very short time. The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) Home Staging National Statistics Report finds that homes that are staged before listing, rather than after listing, spend 90% less time on the market. See the article, Big Bang Theory of Home Staging.
Does every room need to be staged?
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 the seller has already moved out or is desperate to sell, encouraging low offers.
Why 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 listings 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 and your clients.
Can home staging get me more listings?

Yes! Would you like to tip the scales in your favor when competing for a listing? Want to know what top producing real estate agents do? Offer your sellers an affordable home staging consultation. Position yourself as a forward thinking agent that:

  • Gives extra value.
  • Goes the extra mile.
  • Is a savvy marketer.
  • Is known for having the best listings and quickest sales.
How long does it take to stage a home?
This varies based on the size of the 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?

Every home staging begins with a 2-hour home staging consultation. This consultation gives your sellers a complete list of everything they can do to prepare their home, both inside and out, whether it is vacant or occupied. With this information, the home owner can then decide how much work they will do themselves and how much they would like the 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

A professional consultation can help reinforce information you, as the Realtor, already provide.

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, a proven natural talent, and be an asset to your home selling team. To learn more, see the article on tips to hiring a great stager.
Does the stager coordinate all the contractors for painting, cleaning, and repairs?
Stagers can recommend trusted, professional contractors. For owner occupied homes, the home owner will find it faster, cheaper, and more convenient to coordinate these contractors themselves. For home sellers living away from the property, the stager can easily coordinate all.
Can I, the Realtor, do the staging?
It is always faster and more effective to hire the right professional for the job. If you wouldn’t recommend a home seller list as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), then it’s probably not a good idea to do the staging yourself. Even if you are a home stager, you still may wish to preserve your relationship and avoid those difficult conversations about cleaning, odors, pets, animal heads and the like. Besides, wouldn’t your time be better spent marketing your current listings and finding more? As I tell my staging clients. Do the things only you can do, and farm out the rest.
Written by Susan Atwell of AtWell Staged Home and Mary Ann Benoit of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design.

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