Home Staging, Is It Worth It When Selling Your Home?

Home staging—where you decorate your house in an effort to entice buyers to bite—may seem counterintuitive at first blush: Why spend money on a place if you're moving out?

As it turns out, staging your home can lead to a quicker sale at a higher closing price, and thanks to staging services, it can be a lot less work than it sounds. So how does home staging work? Read on to find out more about staging your home to prepare for sale.

What is Home Staging?

Home staging is the process of professionally furnishing and decorating a home in order to make it look as beautiful and appealing as possible to potential buyers. Staging isn't meant to cover up any negative aspects of the home - the aim is to accentuate the positive features of your property and show buyers the potential space holds.

Home staging essentially means refurnishing and decorating your home prior to selling it, and although it may sound unnecessary, this important real estate practice actually offers all kinds of benefits to the sales process.

Staged Living Area

Why Stage your Home

Home staging is an important real estate tool that can help your house sell quicker and for a higher price. So how to does it work?

First and foremost, home staging helps your listing photos stand out. With so many homes to scroll through online, it's important that your photos be attention-grabbing, lest your listing may be overlooked. The goal here is to capture someone’s attention enough to make them want to come to see your home in person.

Quality photos also can make your home more aspirational. Interior designers, bloggers, and design magazines are popular for a reason - most people would love to live in a magazine-worthy property, but few have the design savvy to make it happen. By setting up your space to reflect what we see in glossy pages, you'll be capturing the attention - and the imagination - of your home's future owner.

Speaking of imagination, staging can also help people to imagine what living in that space would be like. When a house is empty, it can be difficult to envision what living there would actually be like. Home staging helps to bridge the gap, allowing the buyer to get a clear picture of what their life in the house could be like, and helps them understand the home's full potential.

Maybe you always used that extra bedroom for storage, but if a potential buyer sees it transformed into a lovely guest bedroom their best friend from out of town could stay in when they visit, or a fun playroom for their young children, suddenly that extra bedroom takes on a whole new life.

Staging can also make the space seem bigger. It might seem like completely emptying a space would make it seem bigger, but on the contrary, rooms can end up looking small when they’re completely empty. An empty room might not look like it would fit a king sized bed, but when you have one already installed you're showing off the full potential of the space.

When a home is well staged, potential buyers see the house as a place they could move into and immediately begin enjoying, which is an essential part of creating an emotional connection to the space - and once someone has fallen in love with the idea of living somewhere, it’s much easier for them to commit to buying.

Decorated Living Room

How do you get your home staged?

Getting your home staged is easier than you think. You don't have to scour design magazines, come up with ideas and start buying furniture. There are professional stagers who are experts at making homes look amazing, and they will bring in all of the necessary furniture and decor. Speak to your real estate agent first, as they will most likely already work with a stager or have a few contacts they can share with you.

The stager will bring the items to your home and set everything up to make it look sales-ready. Everything that is rented during the home sales process - furniture, decoration and all - will be picked up by your staging company once your sale is finalized. If you have a good home stager, the process should be completely stress-free. Which leads us to our next question - how much will a good home stager cost you?

How much does home staging cost?

How much home staging will cost you depends on several factors, from how large your home is, to how long it needs to be staged, to what furniture you already have and what type of staging you want- even what city you live in might factor into the price. As you might imagine, the more expensive the home, the more it will cost you to stage. However, here are some guidelines you can use to estimate the expense.

As a general rule of thumb, most stagers charge $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation and $500 to $600 per month per room.

"Therefore, a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month," explains real estate professional Crystal Leigh Hemphill. Most professional home stagers also require a three-month minimum contract, "even if you sell the home in 24 hours."

Which means you could be looking at a final bill of around $7,000.

Your real estate agent might split the staging cost with you, or you might be on your own, but you can expect staging to run you anywhere from hundreds of dollars to a few thousand. The question is, is the investment really worth it?

Staged Bedroom

Brown Bedroom

What is the payoff of having my home staged?

For most people, having your home stage is worth the investment. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged ones - and most frequently are sold at closer to their asking price.

In some real estate markets, having your home staged is the difference between it standing out to buyers and actually selling, versus sitting on the market for months and not going anywhere. In other markets, having your home beautifully staged is the difference of thousands (and sometimes even tens of thousands) of dollars in the final sale price.

Ultimately, the decision is yours - however, keep in mind that forgoing staging could mean leaving thousands of dollars on the table when you're selling your home.