To Stage or not to Stage?

That is the question (when selling your home).

Does staging a home for sale make the home sell faster or at a higher price, and does that more than offset the additional cost of the staging? This is really the only question that needs answering. Unfortunately I have not seen any scientific evidence that helps home sellers answer this question.

Staging involves a wide range of activities to prepare a home for sale to look its best. To most, staging involves engaging a design professional to, at a minimum, consult and suggest changes like moving furniture and displaying accessories, to a complete furnishing and accessorizing a vacant home. In most cases the cost will range from about $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the range of services and the amount of furnishings used.

Logic would suggest that a home that looks better than its competition will sell faster or at a higher price. Still there remains skepticism on two fronts. Sellers wonder if the higher cost will really produce a higher price. They also worry that buyers may look beyond the cosmetics and base their decision on the fundamental merits of the house, which staging cannot change. A three bedroom, one bath home with a one-car garage is still a 3 bedroom 1 bath home after staging. No amount of staging can improve these fundamental obstacles.

If the staging of a home cost $2,000, the seller wants to see a benefit in terms of higher sale price of more than the $2,000 or the risk was not justified. What the appropriate return should be is probably an individual matter, but I would think the additional price expected should be at least 2 or 3 times the amount invested in staging to justify the risk.

For a number of years homes were selling so fast and so easily that sellers didn’t really have to work very hard to make their homes more competitive. That’s all changed. Buyers now have choices and are taking advantage of their new muscle. It does not require scientific proof to know that making your home easy to buy, by preparing it so potential buyers can better visualize themselves living in it. Those who have an eye for design may be able to achieve many of the benefits from staging themselves. Others who struggle more with color and design might benefit from some minimal consulting, and possibly some accessorizing. I am personally much more skeptical of the staging that requires wholesale furnishing of a home.

Comps Report Now Available
Report on 2006 Four-plex Sales

Our report on four-plex sales in Sonoma County in the year 2006 has been assembled, and is now available to subscribers. Analysis of comparable sales is the basis used for valuing properties. Information about comparable sales is not always is to come by, so we are making this report available to assist our investor clients.

To receive your copy of the report send me an email and I will email you back a copy of the report in PDF format.

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