How Staging a Home Can Increase Your Profits

How Staging a Home Can Increase Your Profits

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ How exactly does that phrase apply to real estate? More specifically, to real estate sales? The short answer is that it doesn’t.

In a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors®, the numbers proved exactly how much of a difference appearances can make. Together, we’ll take a look at why staging your home matters and what you can do about it.

Agent Survey

The numbers don’t lie, and there was no denying the facts. According to NAR, 20% of the real estate agents surveyed admitted home staging increased the offer price. These agents were representatives of both buyers and sellers, yet they agreed across the board! With an offer increase of 1%-5%, depending on the cost of the home, we could be talking about tens of thousands of dollars.

Staging a home also makes a difference in the amount of time spent on the market. 48% of seller agents supported this claim. 

On the buyer agent’s side, 20% of those surveyed said staged homes increased the value offered by their clients between 1-5% when compared with similar homes on the MLS that hadn’t been staged. Meanwhile, another 14% of respondents said staging increased the dollar value of the home between 6-10%.

While some only stage a home if it’s lingering on the MLS, many find that it can be a key to success and ROI (return on investment). Especially with a softening market, now more than ever is the time to bring out every tool in your tool belt. 

Key Takeaways to Keep in Mind

So, staging makes a difference. That’s all well and good, but what does it mean for you? I mean, as a savvy investor with tenants and multiple properties to manage, you may not have time to look at the latest home decor trends, keep the property spotless, and jazz up every space.

Here’s what to keep in mind when staging your space. Living rooms are king. 

39% of participants said that the living room is the most important room to stage, followed closely by the primary bedroom (36%) and finally the kitchen (30%).

The good news is you don’t need to stage every room! By prioritizing the spaces that matter most, you can leave the biggest impact on potential buyers.

A Note on Professional Staging Companies

There are companies around the country including ShowhomesMeridith Baer Home, and Stuccco that will stage a home for you.

From virtual staging to bringing in physical furniture and all the accent pieces, these companies and more can do it all for you. If you happen to be an out-of-state investor or just do not have the time to do it yourself, this expense can be well worth the cost. 

Working with professionals, they know how to best stage a home and highlight its features, so it spends less time on the market, which means a shorter window to have that money back in your pocket.

24% of seller agents polled said that they used professional home staging services for their clients. 

Crunching the Numbers

Let’s say you have a $350,000 property that you want to sell. Each month it sits on the market waiting for buyers adds another $1,264.81 in mortgage fees, along with $250 in miscellaneous utilities. 

48% of seller agents from the survey claimed that staging a home decreased time spent on the market. According to Forbes, “homes that have been staged spend between 33% and 50% less time on the market.”

For you, that means less holding costs. Let’s say most homes in your area spend 22 days on the market. This means another $1,110.86 out of your pocket. 

This is eating away at your ROI, so you decide to pay for a staging company. The price of these companies varies, especially depending on how many rooms you want staged. Let’s say you staged the top three rooms (primary bedroom, living room, and kitchen). This would cost you $1,000.

You could be looking at 11 days on the market along with an additional $17,500-$35,000 bump to the offer price. 

Why Does Staging Matter

You may wonder why staging matters so much. After all, some homes sell without any staging. Agents didn’t begin staging homes until 1972.

In 2023, TV shows have been the primary deciding factor in this trend. 73% of survey participants agree that TV has given consumers higher expectations regarding staging. 

Through HGTV and other home improvement shows broadcasters, people see immaculate home after immaculate home. They may consider whether they prefer the wood paneling with a rustic finish or whitewashed wooden panels better. Is a lighter gray more on point or is dark the way to go? 

Due to bingeing episodes of their favorite home shopping or improvement shows, many buyers may even consider themselves experts. This also means that they expect the homes they see in real life to reflect what they see on TV.

I can hear you screaming from here, ‘But real life isn’t like TV!’ Yes, I know. These are some lofty expectations we’re talking about. But 23% of those surveyed admitted to staging homes as seen on TV, and they’re reaping the rewards.

Extra Opinions

On top of the unrealistic TV-inspired expectations, you can also count on buyers to get a second opinion. Maybe even a third. 

95% — yes, you read that right — 95% of survey participants stated that buyers brought family members with them who would NOT be a part of the home purchase. You’ll have to combat a lot of opinions from the peanut gallery, so let’s put your best foot forward, shall we?

Action Tips for Staging a Home

Buyers want to envision their life in a home as they walk through. So, it’s time to put away the stained coffee mugs and family photos. Whether someone is living in the home you’re selling or not, you need to set the stage for the prospective buyer.

Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Declutter.
  • Clean.
  • Add a few decorative throw pillows or dish towels. 
  • Freshen up the paint.

These tips may seem simplistic, but let’s break them down. Clutter is the number one thing to tackle. Do you know how many TV shows there are about decluttering right now? At least 10, and that’s not counting Hoarders. People LOVE to see a clear and clean space. So, do yourself a favor and put away anything nonessential.

If you have a tenant in the property, try asking if they could keep nonessentials in a closet. Or if there is a lot of clutter, you could get them a nice decorative bin to sweep all the clutter into before showings. 

You’ll want to stash excess clutter at a different location if at all possible. But if it must stay on-premises, try putting it in a secondary bedroom, office, or closet. 

Cleaning.

This may seem small, but TRUST ME, I’ve known buyers who refused to consider a home just because it hadn’t been properly vacuumed. 

You don’t need a deep clean, but you do want to have clean surfaces and floors. This is something you could do yourself or hire out. If you have last-minute showings, you may want to do a regular cleaning weekly or even daily (depending on how much use the spaces see) to ensure you won’t be left with buyers standing outside while you hurriedly vacuum and do dishes.

If you have a tenant, talk with them. Cleanliness is key to good staging.

Your Bottom Line

Your bottom line is what matters here. It’s why you chose to get into real estate investing and why you spend so much time considering how to get the best ROI. Make sure you have your systems and checklists in place and add staging to one of those lists! 

Even if you’re only staging the living room, primary bedroom, and kitchen, those areas have been proven to make a difference in the amount of time spent on the market and offer price. 

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Gina Soldano

Gina Soldano

Gina Soldano is a professional writer with seven years of experience writing online. She has written articles, blog posts, social media copy, email marketing, and ghostwritten for others on a wide range of topics including writing, health, real estate, and more.

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