Recently, a home seller contacted me through my website. He indicated that his Realtor® suggested he have his home professionally staged prior to listing, and although he generally understood the concept of staging, from a practical standpoint, he asked, “What return can I realistically expect from a staging investment?”
That’s an excellent question! The ultimate goal when selling your home is to get the highest possible sales price, and to sell quickly. Research consistently shows that staging affects both sales price and days on the market.
In Tallahassee, one way in which your Realtor® will help you arrive at a “listing” price for your home is based on a price per square footage, which is usually determined by checking recent home sales in your area. These comprehensive sales prices, or “comps,” will show a range of final sales prices. Every seller wants to list their home at the high end of the comps range. This is why preparing your home for sale is so important—only homes that are in good repair, clean and aesthetically appealing can expect to sell for top dollar. Aesthetic appeal is where staging comes into play.
Let’s look at the numbers. In a 2015 survey of 49,000 Realtors® conducted by the National Association of Realtors®, half of the Realtors® agreed that most buyers are affected by home staging. Additionally, 81 percent of actual home buyers reported they found it much easier to visualize a staged property as their future home, versus an unstaged property.
As of August 31, homes for sale in Tallahassee were averaging 90 days (three months) on the market. Staged homes sell, on average, sell three times faster than unstaged homes.
Statistics are one thing, but what is the real-world bottom line? Consider an 1,800-square-foot home, listed in a neighborhood where the comps are ranging from $90 to $105 per-square foot. If this home sold on the low end, the seller could expect to sell for $162,000. If the home listed and sold at the high end, the seller could expect to sell for $189,000. That’s a whopping $27,000 difference. Factoring in a staging cost of $2,000, the seller would see a return on investment benefit of 13.5! Not many investments return at this level, and this is why it’s so important for sellers to focus on how a staging investment will help them to achieve their ultimate goal—to sell fast, and to sell for top dollar.