Staging a Home for Sale

While location may be the prime determinant of real estate value, it is generally acknowledged that staging is one of the best methods of ensuring a quick sale at the highest possible price.

What is Staging?

Prospective buyers want to be able to picture themselves and their lifestyle as they tour a home. Staging can highlight the architecture, provide a snapshot of suggested room uses and furniture arrangement possibilities, graphically highlight special features of the property, and create a lasting impression.

Staging is not interior decorating; it is, rather, a marketing tool and a proven method of merchandising a home and generating offers. An increasing number of real estate agents employ staging for both vacant and inhabited homes, and require a staging consultation prior to listing.

What Staging Does Not Do

Staging will not hide imperfections, and it does not disguise poor quality. It can, however, emphasize advantages, suggest ways to minimize or "deal with" awkward spaces, employ creative solutions for storage needs or small spaces, and lend a fresh perspective to common floor plans.

Stagers approach each job as partners with real estate agents and owners. It is not uncommon for a stager to suggest moving some furniture, packing up personal items such as photographs or personal collections, clearing out closets or repainting walls.

All such suggestions are made with the goal of creating spaces that will appeal to the widest audience possible. Effective staging will define the personality and the character of the house.

What Does It Cost?

Stagers work in different ways: Hourly, on a fee basis, per room, or by offering DIY suggestions. In considering staging options, explore all possibilities and determine your compatibility level with a prospective stager. Check references; look for membership in the Real Estate Staging Association, gain a comfort level, and define exactly what the stager will do.

Costs may include renting or buying furniture and accessories, and may be a one-time charge or a recurring monthly amount. Weigh the charges against expected return, the cost of carry on the property while it is on the market, and your budget. Staging fees should be considered part of the necessary cost of readying a home for market, allowing you to achieve your goal of selling quickly and for the highest possible price.