Staging to Sell: How to Make a Great First Impression

Staging to Sell: How to Make a Great First Impression

Spring is almost here, which means it’s about to be the busiest time of the year for buying and selling homes. Are you thinking about putting your home on the market? The key to a successful home sale is making sure your home appeals to the widest range of prospective buyers. This can be achieved through home staging. 

What is home staging?

Home staging is decorating or rearranging the interior and exterior of your home to attract the best and highest offers. Through effective staging, buyers can easily visualize themselves living in your home, allowing them to form an emotional connection and enticing them to purchase. Staging is often left to professionals brought in by real estate agents, but can also be done at different levels by the homeowner or agent themselves.

Why it matters

Home staging has proven an effective way to reduce time spent on the market and increase potential profits from a home sale through heightened perceived value. 

In addition, home buyers typically start their search online and home staging can generate higher quality photographs. Aesthetic imagery creates a positive first impression, generating increased interest in the home before prospective buyers even step foot on property.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2021 Profile of Home Staging Report:
  • 23% of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1-5%, while 18% stated staging increased it between 6-10%, compared to similar un-staged homes on the market. 
  • 82% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
  • 53% of sellers’ agents reported that staging decreased the amount of time a home was on the market.
  • More than 25% of buyers are more willing to overlook property faults if a home is staged.
Virtual staging

Virtual home staging has become increasingly popular throughout the years. With virtual staging, all staging is done online with a computer. Decorative elements are inserted into high-resolution photos to highlight an otherwise vacant room’s potential. This method of staging is typically cheaper than in-person staging, reduces “staging” time for the seller, and allows for quick and easy changes in order to attract different target markets. Homes that can benefit from a virtual staging include vacant homes, homes with outdated furniture, or properties with tenants. 

How much does it cost?

In-person staging can cost anywhere from $770-$2,863, with the average being $1,766. These amounts vary based on the home’s size and location, as well as any additional cleaning, maintenance, and repairs needed. Virtual staging ranges from $100-$1,000, depending on the amount of work required. While this may seem costly to some sellers, staged homes can sell for an additional 8-10% compared to non-staged homes.* 

If you want to save on costs, try focusing on a few essential rooms to start and skipping extra cosmetic projects. 

How to make a great first impression

There are some general rules of thumb when staging your home to sell:
  • Declutter and depersonalize – you want potential buyers to be able to picture themselves living in your house. Take family photos, memorabilia collections, and personal keepsakes and place them in storage.
  • Repaint walls – give your walls a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color, such as white, beige, or gray.
  • Make repairs – make quick fixes and replacements, and take care of any issues that may discourage buyers—such as leaky faucets, squeaky doors, broken cabinets, or cracked windows. Consider hiring an inspector to determine the state of these areas: floors, plumbing, lighting, HVAC, water heater, doors and windows, outdoor drainage system, roof, driveways and walkways.
  • Clean until it sparkles – clean or replace carpets, bleach grout, wax floors, wash windows, replace fixtures, and clean every possible surface until it sparkles.
  • Create good lighting – a little bit of lighting can go a long way in making a room appear bigger and brighter. Open blinds and curtains to bring in the natural light and add floor or table lamps to brighten dim areas.
  • Hide away pet areas – pets should never be present during a showing, and pet areas should be stowed away, clean and odor free.
  • Consider your exterior space – maximize curb appeal by repainting your front door, purchasing a new welcome mat, keeping the grass cut and bushes trimmed, clearing sidewalks and staging outdoor furniture.
Rooms that benefit most from staging are the living room, primary bedroom and kitchen (NAR 2021 Profile of Staging Report). These are rooms where you can get the most bang for your buck. Here are some additional staging tips for these spaces:
  • Living Room –replace dark curtains with lighter colors, arrange furniture in conversational groups, pull furniture from the wall and remove pieces if needed to make the area more spacious, Clean the fireplace, Incorporate extra shelving or storage, Remove or tuck all cords and wires, and Show a slideshow of beautiful images on your TV like a screensaver.
  • Primary Bedroom – swap out mismatched clothes hangers and pack away 50% of your closet, remove TVs or video game consoles, replace old bedsheets with white linens. 
  • Kitchen – clear off countertops, freshen up cabinets with new paint or hardware, scrub appliances and backsplashes clean, remove fridge magnets, clean cabinet interiors, organize pantry space, remove trash cans, bake something that smells good prior to open houses.
Home staging is a proven and powerful marketing tool that can increase your home’s visibility and overall appeal in a competitive market. Speak with your real estate agent about whether or not your home could benefit from staging before putting your house on the market this Spring. 

*Source: HomeAdvisor