How Staging Can Help You Sell Faster and for More Money

Looking for an edge when you sell your home? You don’t have to add a new deck or remodel the kitchen to stand out from the competition. See how staging can help you sell your house fast and for more money – without making a big investment.

What Does Staging Involve?

Staging is the art of making a home appealing to as many potential buyers as possible. There’s more than one way to stage a home, but most staging involves the following three steps.

1. Remove Personal Items

A top priority of staging is making it easy for buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. That means checking your personal style and belongings at the door. The first step of staging is removing family photos, knick-knacks, toys and anything that would remind a buyer that someone else is living in the home. This includes items you have in cabinets, drawers and closets, so you may need to pack up a few boxes and rent a storage unit if you need somewhere to put them.

2. Create Bright Open Spaces

Most buyers prefer bright interiors. If you pull back all the blinds and notice some dark corners or gloomy areas, adding a lamp or two will probably be in order. It’s also often necessary to remove and/or replace furniture to create more space. Fortunately, you can rent newer pieces for exactly this purpose. Once you have your furnishings, arranging them to maximize space is the next step. This usually means grouping couches, chairs and tables away from walls and using area rugs to anchor conversation areas (like in a living room).

3. Apply Finishing Touches

After the main rooms are depersonalized, roomy and bright, the last step is typically adding a few stylish pops of color. Think accent pillows, pieces of artwork or even a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table.  Using consistent hues in each room creates a pleasing aesthetic flow throughout the home. Say your home has a neutral color scheme. Adding just two or three bright accent colors in the right spots can make your home feel more energetic, inviting and cohesive.

What Are the Benefits of Staging?

Staging your home can make it seem bigger, highlight its best features, and make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves living there. As a result, you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to get more offers and more money in the least amount of time.

More Offers

Most people look at online listings during their home search, and photos are typically the first (and often only) things that buyers will look at. Staging your home so your photos look like they came out of a magazine is the most impactful way to make your home stand out. The only way to get more offers is to get more people to visit your home and walk away impressed. Staging accomplishes both.

More Money

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, sellers’ agents responded that staging a home increased the value of offers by up to 10 percent. Considering that most major renovations (like remodeling a kitchen or bathroom) don’t result in positive return on investment, home staging is one of few actions you can take to net a much larger profit from your home sale.

Less Time on Market

If you need to sell your home fast, staging your home is a must. In the same study by the National Association of Realtors, nearly two thirds of sellers’ agents reported a decrease in a staged home’s time on the market, with homes selling 73 percent faster on average. The reasons provided are simple – buyers find professionally staged homes “well-maintained” and “move-in” ready, which are often reasons enough for them to make a competitive offer.

How Do You Stage Your Home to Sell?

Once you decide to stage your home, the question is whether to do it yourself or hire a professional. Many factors can affect this decision, from the condition of your home to how much time and money you’re willing to invest. See which option makes more sense for your home, goals and budget.

Hire a Professional

Don’t have the time, know-how or desire to get your home into shape? Hiring a professional could be your best option.

Pros

The biggest benefits of hiring a pro stager are convenience and certainty that the job is done right. You’ll probably be juggling a lot of tasks as you prep your home for sale, and staging can demand a lot of time and energy. Plus, if you don’t have an eye for décor or keep up on trends, you may not maximize your home’s value even if you are willing to put in the legwork. Hiring a proven expert means you don’t have to worry about deciding between two colors of bath towels or figuring out where to put a vase.

Cons

There is, of course, the matter of cost. Most professional stagers charge for a consultation, which can range from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand depending on the size of your home. The staging fee itself typically ranges from $700 to $7,000, depending on how many rooms you have staged and the work required. There may also be a furniture rental fees mixed in.

How to Find a Pro Stager

To choose a stager, check out local review sites like Houzz or Yelp. Look at several company’s websites to get an idea of the types of homes they typically stage and the quality of work they provide. Just as you would interview a real estate agent to sell your home, ask the company’s representative if they have experience staging your type of home and the results they’ve gotten. Ask about their accreditation, terms for rentals and availability to make sure the company you choose is a good fit.

Do It Yourself

If you’re passionate about interior design and you have the time, self-staging might turn out to be a fun project that pays off big.

Pros

As with any DIY project, cost savings is the biggest plus. You may need to rent some furniture, but even bringing in a complete living room set can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars for a month. With total control and the option to do as much or as little as you please, you can add plenty to your net profit by staging on a shoestring budget. Plus, if you have interest in interior decorating, staging your home can be the perfect opportunity to hone your skills and get feedback from potential buyers.

Cons

Staging on your own can take some time. Even if you have some interior design experience, you’ll probably need to research recent trends before getting started. Once you do get to work, the process can take up days or weeks of your time. It can also be difficult to look at your rooms, furniture and accessories objectively. After all, you probably chose most of your furnishings because you like them. It can be tough to detach yourself and replace items with new ones that have broader appeal. You might save money staging on your own, but it can cost you when it comes to your home’s final sale price.

How to Stage a Home like a Pro

If you aren’t an expert stager and want to save time, you can get a written consultation from a professional for a few hundred dollars. A stager will walk through your home, take some photos and prepare a detailed report of recommendations. This can point you in the right direction and spare you the time and effort of coming up with a game plan for each room. Generally speaking, you’ll want to stage the rooms that have the biggest impact on buyers: living room, kitchen, dining room, master bedroom and bathrooms. For helpful pointers on how to stage these rooms, check out ForSaleByOwner.com’s blog on the 5 Most Important Rooms to Stage.

Make Your Home Feel Move-In Ready

Many of today’s buyers aren’t looking for brand new kitchens or bathrooms because they have their own preferences in colors, materials and overall designs. What they are looking for are well-maintained homes that feel ready to live in right away, and that’s the effect that home staging can have. Plus, by decluttering and packing up many of your belongings now, your move will be that much easier once you do you accept an offer!

Looking for more helpful staging tips? Here are 8 Simple Ideas to Make Your Home Memorable.