Maybe you are currently in the process of selling your house, or your real estate business is.
You might have been advised to look at home staging and that it may help move your property faster.
But is it worth the while? And how much does it cost to stage a house?
Staging a house costs, on average, $400 and can increase the dollar value of a home between 1% and 6%.
The costs of staging a house can become a ‘money graveyard’. Yes, it has many benefits, but it can also be easily overdone and nullify any benefits.
Today we discuss general aspects of home staging, some interesting stats, how much it costs, and the ROI you may get from it.
What Is Home Staging?
When you usually go out to a nice restaurant for a date night or a real date, or when you participate in a formal gathering, you usually want to present yourself from your best side.
You want to make a good impression, appeal to as many people as possible, or attract your date.
Home Staging is basically the same without makeup or your favorite wardrobe.
It’s usually the preparation of a private residence for sale in the real estate market to appeal to the largest potential buyers possible.
Another aim is to increase the perceived value of a home so you can achieve a higher selling price on the market.
The task of a home stager is to make changes to the interior design so that the home becomes more attractive and welcoming.
This is very important for potential buyers to see themselves living in it more easily.
Few people have good visualization skills and can imagine a fully furnished home according to their taste while visiting an empty home or do the same with a not-so-well-interiorly designed one.
Is Home Staging Worth It?
Before concluding if home staging is worth it, let’s check some stats about it and then compare some pros and cons.
Staged homes can sell between 3% and 6% above the asking price (source1, source2).
This is more or less confirmed by 25% of buyer’s agents who stated that it increased the dollar value of a home by 1% to 5%, compared to non-staged homes.
On the other hand, almost 30% mentioned that staging had no impact at all on the dollar value.
A staged home made it also easier for a buyer to visualize the property. This was stated by 83% of buyer’s agents.
Staging, in general, had an effect on a majority of buyers’ view of a home. This was reported by 40% of the buyers’ agents.
Only 6% of the survey participants claimed that it had almost no effect on the buyer’s view of the home (source).
A tiny majority of sellers’ agents claim that staging decreased the time on the market (28% report a slight decrease, and 25% a significant reduction).
What Percentage of Homes Are Staged?
This is an essential question if you want to know what you are up against in terms of competition. Also important to know is if you can risk not staging a home as a real estate professional targeting retail buyers.
Sellers’ agents stage a house in 28% of the cases and only stage homes 13% of the time when they are difficult to sell (source).
That makes 41% of homes offered staged on the retail market.
Who Pays for The Staging of a House?
According to the same study mentioned in the source above, the average cost of staging a house was $400.
Usually, the seller’s agent personally offers to stage the house.
The seller covers the costs (in 18% of the cases), or the real estate agent offers it as a staging service to the seller (in 17% of the cases).
The Pros and Cons of Staging a Home
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of staging a home to determine if it’s worth doing.
- It can increase the dollar value of a home between 1% and 5%.
- It makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property.
- Staging has a positive effect on a majority of potential buyers and how they view a home.
- It can give you a competitive advantage.
- Staging makes a home look well-maintained, contemporary, and spacious.
- The interior of a home can be better tailored to a special target group the real estate professional is focused on (e.g., getting rid of carpets if you target first-time home buyers, such as covered in my article)
- It makes necessary repairs better visible, so bad surprises will happen less.
- When you plan to do a virtual tour, staging can also help better prepare the respective house.
- It helps make a house stand out, making it more memorable for potential buyers after a showing is done.
- Staging can be time-consuming, and costs can run out of hand, especially when you have to deal with furniture.
- If costs run out of hand, getting a positive return on investment can be challenging.
- It will be challenging if you still need to live in a staged home and maintain empty closets or remove things again and again before showings to potential buyers.
- In terms of speed, there is no clear evidence, according to statistics, that a staged house always moves faster. Why go through trouble if you sell a house in a high-demand area?
- The advantages of staging may not have the same effect on an older and used home as on a newly built one. It might even be counterproductive if overdone with an older house, where potential buyers mostly don’t expect a brand-new interior.
- Doing it right is almost an art, as a middle ground between letting the potential buyer have enough freedom for imagination and not giving him ideas for all the needs.
So is it worth it? Let’s do a quick math example.
If we trust the stats, the average cost of staging a house is $400. But let’s be a bit more conservative with it and assume it is $700.
The median listing price of a house in the U.S. is $226,800 (source).
Now, house staging can increase the dollar value of a home between 1% and 5%.
Applying these numbers to the median listing price of $226,800 would mean an increase between $2268 and $11,340.
Based on the math, you can say that it’s worth doing it.
You will get a return on investment of 224% ($2268 minus $700 divided by $700 multiplied by 100) and 1844% ($13,608 minus $700 divided by $700 multiplied by 100).
But staging homes below $100,000 could quickly put your return on investment at risk if you don’t get more than a 1% increase of the dollar value.
What Is the Best Way to Stage a House for a Quick Sale?
To answer this question, we need to ask which house areas are most important to stage.
The study mentioned above also found the living room (47%) and the master bedroom (42%) most important to stage. They were followed by the kitchen (35%).
Of course, you can stage everything else too, but it wouldn’t have the same effect.
So, applying the 80/20 principle, the 20% of rooms for home staging that affect 80% of the outcome would be the rooms mentioned above.
Could Soft Staging Be an Alternative?
Soft staging could be an interesting alternative to get even more out-of-home staging in the context of the 80/20 principle and protect and/or improve your ROI better.
It is a more budget-friendly version of conventional home staging, focusing on the most essential things that positively affect potential buyers.
Traditional home staging usually involves using different types of furniture. Soft staging doesn’t use furniture.
It works with what is already available in the house. It complements the interior with further accessories and artwork at much lower rental costs.
The goal is the same as conventional home staging, to make the ambiance more welcoming and warmer.
Although they don’t seem to make a big impact, these little details can positively impact the psychology of potential buyers.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find empirical data and stats about this sub-niche of home staging.
However, my intuition and logical thinking tell me this is probably the best home staging option for older houses, where staging can be easily overdone.
However, soft staging might not be the best choice when it comes to entirely new constructions.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.
Author & Founder
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