Even though it’s a hot market, it still pays for sellers to adequately prepare their homes before placing a for-sale sign in the yard. That’s according to a new study that finds that home staging — the process of cleaning and decluttering a home to help it appeal to the largest number of buyers — helps homes sell faster and for more money.
On Tuesday, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the 2021 Profile of Home Staging. The report included key findings such as 82% of buyers’ agents saying home staging made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
Staging also appears to increase the amount buyers are willing to spend for the property. Twenty-three percent of agents said home staging raised the dollar value offered between 1-5% compared to similar homes on the market that hadn’t been staged. Twenty-six percent of buyers’ agents and 29% of sellers’ agents said it increased the value more than 5%.
“Staging a home helps consumers see the full potential of a given space or property,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “It features the home in its best light and helps would-be buyers envision its various possibilities.”
Among sellers’ agents, more than half said staging decreases the time a home is on the market, with 31% saying it greatly decreases sales time.
The survey also examined the impact of real estate TV programming on buyers’ expectations about the purchase process. The findings show that sellers who decide not to stage may risk disappointing buyers who assume the properties will look like those seen on television.
In fact, 63% of agents said their buyers indicated they believed homes should look like they were staged on TV shows. About 68% of agents said buyers were disappointed by how homes looked compared to those they saw on TV shows.
Home staging tips
Because home staging plays such an important role in shaping buyers’ perceptions, it’s important for sellers to carefully consider their staging options.
As a seller, you can stage your house on your own, hire a professional stager or work with a Realtor who also provides staging services.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to take the following steps (as ranked in order of the most commonly recommended to the least commonly recommended):
- Declutter the home (93%)
- Clean the entire home (85%)
- Remove pets during showings (81%)
- Improve curb appeal (78%)
- Clean carpets (73%)
- Take professional photos (73%)
- Make minor repairs (69%)
- Depersonalize the home (68%)
- Paint walls (63%)
- Touch up paint (58%)
- Landscape outdoor area (55%)
- Grout (35%)
When cleaning, remember this should be a deep clean of the entire home, including scrubbing walls and baseboards and getting rid of any unpleasant odors. Also, make sure to clear out anything that is cluttering the room and making it look smaller. This includes removing excess furniture, papers, décor, items in closets, etc.
You’ll also want to place out of sight anything that personalizes the home. This includes photos, religious items, clothes and toiletries. When you do this, it makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine the space as their own.
If you have limited time and budget, consider staging only some of the rooms. For example, the survey found that the most important rooms to prepare for buyers are the living room, main bedroom, kitchen and dining room.
To learn more about home staging and what it takes to get your house ready to sell, contact a local Realtor. Find a Realtor who specializes in your area at UtahRealtors.com.