To Stage or Not to Stage

To Stage or Not to Stage

Our current market is moving at an unprecedented pace. Created by extremely low inventory combined with an overabundance of buyers all clamoring for a piece of our city. This perfect storm has put property owners and selling agents in a prime position. After a tumultuous year, sellers are listing with high expectations and a desire to scrape up every last dime from their investment. Which raises the question, why stage the property in the midst of this storm?

Emotional Intelligence

First reaction to this question would immediately be to list the property with no staging. Why? this way the seller would incur no additional costs, right? First, let me list a few reasons why staging is almost always the right decision. The majority of American’s name their home as the single largest investment they possess. As a listing agent, your responsibility is to garner the seller with the most potential earnings from their asset as possible. Which would lead to the second question, how does a seller scrape up every last dime from their largest investment? The answer is they showcase it in its most desirable state. The same reason you would spend $100 more on a pair of shoes that make you look great, is the same psychology for why you would dress up your highest valued asset for sale. Selling to humans requires emotional intelligence. The ability to look past the transaction and into the desires of a person buying a home is what separates us from an app on a smartphone. The properties where this does not apply, most often are in transactions to investors looking to flip, renovate or scrape. Outside of this small percentage, the agent is selling to the potential resident, so sell the most alluring version of the property. Staging was proposed to create this desire, without spending money on remodeling or cosmetic touches. A great stager has the creative ability to transform the way a potential buyer experiences the home. Regardless of a hot market, buyers are looking for a home they want to live their best life in and they will pay for it. If you’re still not sold on staging, the Real Estate Staging Association just released their 2020 statistics:

The Numbers

  • 85% of staged homes sold for 5-23% over list price.
  • 60% of stagers that spent at least 1.5% of list price reported ROI of 15-25%
  • 75% of sellers that spent just 1% on staging received approximately 5-15% ROI above asking price.

*for more in-depth analysis visit

Adding a Contemporary Aesthetic

Maybe your initial reaction to these statistics is to think that applies to flips or newer builds or even historic homes but not my listing. This listing is stuck in time, 70’s,80’s or 90’s with an, should we say, interesting layout and finishes. Typically, this is when it gets tricky, you have a family home that has an emotional bond with the seller, unwilling or unable to see the painting on the walls, you see the path of least resistance is to list as is and net out what is possible in this condition and because of this market, that would be pretty good. However, even with difficult conversations and stubbornly emotional sellers, more could be garnered out of this deal. Recently I requested to stage for two homes that sat on the MLS for 6 months before a price reduction, both homes fit into the stylings and layout mentioned above. I staged both with a beautiful contemporary aesthetic and both sold within the month. The ability to transform a buyer’s initial reaction is without question worth the investment. I want to emphasize, staging is an investment not a cost, with instant returns upwards of 5%. The Real Estate Staging Association found that staged homes sell faster, averaging just 23 days on the market.

Shifting Focus

Regardless of the age or design of a property, buyers are motivated to buy and buy quickly. Most likely they will be buying with the desire to move in immediately. Providing quality staging allows a buyer to view the property with this in mind. Instead of that same buyer looking around at all the work that needs to be done, they will look at the beautiful furniture and design and say to themselves, “we’ve got a couple of projects ahead of us, but I can see us living comfortably here.” I recently staged a home for a local builder who shared this with me:

“The Den’s staging allowed us to change our selling tactics, it took the property to its absolute potential. I thought our new development would sell itself, but I was wrong. Not every buyer has the vision when looking for their next home. A home and its spaces cannot be fully imagined until it can be seen and felt as such. Amanda and The Den change possibilities into reality, and it showed at the closing table, when it paid for itself tenfold. Staging our project was the best decision and investment we made.”

Final Thought

Staging is an investment every property owner should consider. If not for the marketing material, surely for the desire to not leave any money on the table.