House Staging Tips

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Real Estate

We frequently go on listing appointments for homes that are vacant, and the sellers always ask us, "Is it better if sell the house while it's empty, or should I have it staged?" In most cases, we recommend first trying to sell the house while it's empty. This is easier and more cost-effective for the seller, and if the house is priced right and marketed correctly, it probably won't be an issue that the house is empty. However, there are times when staging is a good move, and in this article we'll tell you why you may want to have your home staged, the rooms where staging matters most, and some staging fixes you may be able to do yourself.

As I said before, in most cases we recommend selling the home while it's empty, but there are two situations in which we'd say having the home staged would make it easier to sell. First, if the house has an awkward layout or smaller rooms, it can be better to stage the home so that potential buyers can see how they might use the space. For example, we frequently sell condos in an association that has several floor plans. The plan with a loft can be a difficult sell because there is a large spiral staircase right in the middle of what should be the living room (see below). However, of the three we have listed, the one that was furnished sold the most quickly. 

The second situation that may call for staging has to do with days on market. If a property is sitting on the market and not getting offers, the reason is most likely price, so a price change is usually the first course of action to get the property to move. However, if it's a vacant property, staging it may also motivate potential buyers.

Why does staging a home motivate buyers? For one thing, buyers will be able to see the house's potential -- how the house could look once it's decorated and how spaces can be used. Some buyers need to see a house filled with homey stuff in order to visualize themselves living there. Moreover, over 90% of buyers first find the homes they end up buying online, and since listing photos with furnished rooms stand out more than those that are vacant, staging an empty home makes sense.

According to Florida Realtors, the six most important rooms to stage are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, outdoor space, dining room, and...

the bathroom.

Keep in mind that the word staging means different things to different people, and how far a seller is willing to go in terms of staging is often tied to time and money. Three easy ways you can stage your home yourself are by decluttering, depersonalizing, and painting. Do these three things before your agent has the listing photos done. Remember that you want potential buyers to see themselves living in your house, so the house can't look like YOUR home anymore. Counters and shelves should be almost bare, and walls are better painted a neutral color (BONUS TIP: Buyers are really into shades of grey right now, like these shades and this one from Sherwin Williams). Of course, if you are willing to spend a little money to possibly make a little more, you could pay to have your home staged by a professional. Services can range from bringing furniture into an empty house (the entire house or just the high-impact rooms) to accessorizing with mirrors, plants, lamps, and rugs.