Tips for First-Time Home Staging Sellers

by Hello Blue
February 13, 2020
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Home Staging 101

Home staging is the art and practice of modifying a home’s existing décor with the one objective –  to optimize the home’s appearance during the sales process. Home staging is used –

  • When photographing the home for its digital representation and,
  • For those buyers who physically tour the house with a real estate professional. 

A home staging artist/real estate professional has the talent and aptitude to convert a dark, dreary room to a bright, welcoming space. There are several ways to meet this goal. Some home staging can be as simple as rearranging the furniture or a small decorative touch that pulls the room’s look together. 

Apply the Professional Approach of Feng Shui

At the opposite end of the home staging simplicity spectrum is the ancient art of Feng Shui. Feng Shui seeks to synchronize universal life energies, which are often called Ki, Chi, or Prana, depending on the culture.

Feng Shui is considered one of the five fundamental Chinese metaphysics arts, with historical notations dating as far back as 4,000 BC. The purpose of the application of Feng Shui is to create harmonized living space(s) that align with nature’s energies – the forces of nature that operate invisibly at all times. Many decorators and home stagers use the principles of Feng Shui without the seller or the buyer recognizing the harmonic setup, as long as the seller approves of the final design. 

A clinical study performed about a dozen years ago, at the Curtin University of Technology, revealed that the application of ancient Feng Shui principles had a statistically noticeable and positive influence on the price of homes in the western world. For the study’s purposes, the western hemisphere was defined as the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and mainland Europe.  

The Importance of Home Staging

The reality is that most people find it challenging to envision how their lives would be while standing in someone else’s home – especially when that home feels lived in by another family! 

Home staging, as studies have revealed, is a smart home selling strategy. Home staging can be remarkably helpful when a priced-to-sell property sits for weeks without any serious viewings or offers to purchase. 

Keep the Stage Décor Appealing, But Neutral

Another essential home staging tenet is to choose neutral furnishings – a décor that is pleasing to the eye but unmemorable.  What is the point is of going to the cost and trouble of staging a home if a buyer will be turned off to the house because of the color of the accent pillows?

The Home Staging Effect 

Home staging has recently become a popular way to prepare a home for sale because the selling advantages have been quite impressive. According to the National Association of REALTORS’ (NAR) home stage profile study from 2019 –

  • Nearly 85% of real estate agents representing buyers reported that a staged home made it easier for a home buyer to visualize living in the house when considering whether to purchase it. 
  • According to buyer’s reps, the most important rooms to stage were –
    • The living room, with 47% of respondents preferring this room staged.
    • The master bedroom, with 42% of respondents preferring this room staged.
    • The kitchen, with 35% of respondents favoring this room staged.

Additionally, about 25% of buyer representatives in that same study reported that a staged home increased a home’s value (1% to 5%) when compared to the sale prices of homes that were not staged.  

What Does Home Staging Entail?

The type and depth of home staging that is required depend upon each sales transaction. Although, the National Association of REALTORS’ home stage profile study revealed that the median amount a homeowner spent on staging when selling a home was $400. This study result indicates that effective staging is possible even on a somewhat limited budget. 

For homes that are empty when being sold, it usually pays dividends to temporarily rent furniture and decorations as a way to increase the property’s marketability and show-ability potential. And, while some people are quite talented at envisioning their lives while standing in an empty space, many more buyers find the experience less than appealing and counterproductive to decision-making.

If a seller plans to live in the home while the home is being marketed for sale– which is what happens most often – the existing furnishings can be used if there is a viable way to spruce up the home’s look for a minimal cost.  

An experienced real estate professional or staging expert have great resources, ideas, and insights that will help place your home in the best possible light online and during an open house or home tour. 

Standard suggestions from top home and real estate stagers include –

  • Create the illusion of the most space possible by rearranging furniture and furnishings into functional and appealing layout designs. 
  • Create visually appealing spaces by applying homey touches throughout the house using items currently owned by the seller. 
  • Clean the home until it is spotless. Hire a professional cleaner if you can.
  • Declutter each room. Reduce personal items to maintain a more neutral, open space.  
  • Use aroma diffusers to keep each room smelling inviting. Bake an apple pie during the open house to create an aura of home to each visitor.

Is Home Staging Worth the Time & Effort?

Home staging is effective in both marketability and the pricing of residential real estate. Home staging helps reduce a seller’s anxiety regarding a number of typical seller concerns. 

Home staging has been shown to help maximize a home’s sale price. 

In the NAR 2019 home profile study, it was revealed that 22% of selling agents reported that offers increased by 1% – 5% for those homes that were staged. More than 15% of selling agents said that a staged home increased the value of a home by 6% – 10%.

Let’s put that in a little perspective –

According to FRED – the Federal Research Economic Data – issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in January 2020, the median sales price of a home in the United States was $327,100. For each additional 1% increase in a sales price for an average U.S. home, the owners would potentially receive an additional $3,271. (1% of $327,100). A five percent increase for the home based on staging could potentially generate an additional $16,355 (5% of $327,100) for the median-priced home in the United States simply by staging the home. 

A five percent increase in sales price almost pays for all the real estate commission fees for the sale!

Home staging provides a canvass upon which buyers have the ability to envision themselves living in the house.

Some homeowners fear home staging will make buyers feel like the home is well not genuine -staged. In other words, the worry is that the inauthenticity might be a turnoff for some buyers. 

In the NAR 2019 Home Profile study, 83% of buyer agents reported the staging was helpful to their buyers’ ability to visualize living in the space, which pretty much dispels this seller worry.

Should I Stage my Home for Sale?

With great hesitation, the answer is yes, but only if you are an experienced professional designer or home stager – who has the ability to compartmentalize their emotions and delete these emotions from the business decisions needed during the sale of a home. 

It also pays to follow Bill Nye, the science guy’s advice, by asking for help when needed during a home staging. Because, according to Bill, everyone you will meet will know something you don’t.

Listen to the science guy; he knows what he is talking about.