Home staging has become one of the most critical steps in the home listing process. In addition to the standard cleaning and decluttering portion of preparing a listing, staging asserts to transform a home's personality.
In fact, all other aspects being equal between competing homes, a house featuring some form of staging, even if just a room or two, will stand out by a considerable margin from an unstaged counterpart.
But more than just the visual appeal, staging can have a significant impact on what you ultimately command monetarily from the sale.
How much of an impact?
According to the National Association of Realtors 2021 Profile of Home Staging, quite a lot. 47% of buyer's agents stated that staging a home has an effect on some buyers. 44% said it affected most buyers.
Perhaps the most critical stat is that 82% of buyers' agents stated that, for their clients, staging made visualizing the property as their future home far easier. In other words, staging unlocks the full potential of a property for touring buyers.
Those numbers are hard to ignore.
Though the ROI associated with home staging depends on several factors, it can be a wise choice should you want to sell your home quickly and for as much money as possible.
Staging costs are challenging to define. Overall spend is driven by a number of factors, including the square footage, the total number of rooms staged, and how much of a home is reworked to appeal to the target buyer.
In rare cases, staging doesn't cost a dime. Rearranging existing furniture, thinning out over cluttered bookshelves and walls, and removing heavy drapery will suffice. It gives a fresh open feel to the home without interfering too much with what's already there.
If you choose to take a do-it-yourself approach to your home's staging, consult with a trusted broker or agent. They can provide guidance on what's appealing to buyers and how to best position your home to boost its value and generate multiple offers.
However, most homes, and luxury properties, in particular, require a more hands-on approach when the need for staging arises.
For properties not classified as opulent mansions or luxury estates, those that range from $300,000 on up to $750,000, a staging budget between $5,000 and $10,000 will suffice. The price will vary at either end based on how extensive the process is and the fee a professional stager charges. For some, it's a flat fee. Others offer their services by the hour.
Larger homes, with more at stake and the need to make an impression and generate a lucrative sale command higher budgets. It's not uncommon for homes of this statue to spend between $20,000 and $30,000 - from 1% to 1.25% of the listing price - for staging.
Of course, this expense is more than justified when the home closes with a profit in the six-figure range or higher.
Most important rooms to stage
While you can debate staging costs, there's a clear answer as to which rooms receive priority when prepping a home to sell.
According to the NAR report, 46% of buyers' agents stated the living room is the most important room to stage. Following close behind is the master bedroom at 43%. Rounding out the top five is the kitchen at 35%, the dining room with 27%, and outdoor spaces with 23%.
While the top three rooms are no surprise - three critical spaces that define a homeowner's overall enjoyment of the house - the fifth spot reinforces the point that staging is a whole home affair.
In recent years, indoor-outdoor living has become a vitally important aspect of enjoying one's home. Creating a welcoming space - an extra room of sorts - adds plenty of value to a listing. Much like extra storage is always a bonus, more living space is a welcome sight to discerning buyers. They're willing to pay extra for it.
In addition to the rooms listed, buyers appreciate touring a home where flexible spaces and versatility are on display. You want your staging to make it easy for buyers to visualize the property as their future home. But it doesn't hurt to spur their imagination.
Staging flex spaces such as a home office, den, children's playroom, or loft showcases a property's potential use. Be mindful not to overstage. It's not necessary to go all out for these "utility" areas of the home. But setting up your house in a way that can attract young professionals or those with families will broaden your home's appeal by a considerable margin.
They'll also stand out when the buyer looks back on their tours and recalls the homes with adaptable rooms versus the houses without them.
While staging a home will certainly draw a homebuyer's eye, the more important question is does it draw more from their wallet. After all, one of the primary goals is to boost a home's value during the all-important listing phase.
Based on the 2021 NAR staging survey, it does just that.
Overall, 52% of sellers agents reported seeing increased offers from buyers for staged homes.
Twenty-three percent saw offer amounts increase between 1% and 5%. Another 18% experienced increased offers from 6% to 10%. And 11% of sellers agents saw increases of 11% or more from staged homes.
All of those numbers are consistent with what buyers' agents reported.
Two of the more intriguing numbers were the 25% of buyer's agents, and the 28% of sellers' agents who were unsure of the monetary impact staging had on offers. Assuming a deeper dive reveals more details similar to the survey's overall reporting, you could surmise that at least half of respondents saw some increase in offer value, 12.5% and 14%, respectively.
In addition to increasing the value of offers, staging makes a considerable dent in the amount of time a property stays on the market. Fifty-three percent of sellers' agents said staging decreases a home's time on the market. Thirty-one percent of those respondents stated it greatly decreased the time the listing stayed up.
There's more to the listing process than staging a home. Though physical staging provides a considerable boost to your home's value and ability to command above-average offers, homebuyers don't always have the luxury of touring a home at the drop of a hat.
In a period where home tours decreased dramatically from past years, vibrant online listings and virtual tours are more crucial than ever.
For their part, home sellers may also require an alternative to traditional staging, either by want or necessity.
As we've already noted, extensive staging can prove expensive. And though shown a proven, positive impact on ROI, not every seller wants to absorb the costs.
Along those same lines, attempting to stage a vacant property might give a few sellers sticker shock, particularly for those trying to limit their sales and relocation expenses.
Enter virtual staging.
An excellent and cost-effective alternative to the real thing, virtual staging is exactly what it sounds like - inserting photorealistic imagery into images of your vacant home.
Call it CGI-ing your home for its starring role online.
According to the NAR survey, having photos, virtual tours, and videos as part of a home's listing is vitally important. Even more so in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Consider that prior to 2020, use of the internet for home buying was already skyrocketing, with roughly 90% of buyers 18 to 53 using online search or apps to facilitate their search for a new home. Now, searching online listings is a near-universal part of every home search.
A robust, fully formed online listing is critical to ensuring your home is noticed by the right buyers - those who are motivated, with deep pockets, and ready to close on a new home or investment. High-quality imagery that shows off a home's best features is what sells your property online.
Depending on the vendor, virtual staging can cost between $50 and $75 per photo. For a package of 10 images, it's a manageable $500 to $750.
Regardless of how you approach your home's listing, it's clear that staging makes a difference in the eyes of buyers. From presenting a cohesive, well-organized space to showcasing its flexibility, staged homes are far more effective at leaving a positive impression on would-be buyers.
Even if you choose the virtual route and enhance your home's digital listing, the online impression it leaves is just as important today as what a buyer sees in person.
Ready to explore the best of San Francisco real estate? Contact the Gregg Lynn Team today to start your real estate journey. From Pacific Heights real estate to Noe Valley homes for sale, allow Gregg's years of experience and expertise to be your guide to the Bay Area luxury real estate market.