Does Staging Work?

I was curious to see what agents on Trulia would say about the value and benefits of staging, so I threw out the question — anonymously — “Do you believe staging helps sell homes? If not, why not?” Nine out of 10 said a resounding “YES”. One said she’s still “up in the air”, although she definitely believes de-cluttering and “freshening up a tired home” helps them to sell. Her caveat was “when it comes to hiring someone to come in and buy new furniture I’m still on the fence.”

Well, I don’t know any stagers personally who would recommend buying new furniture, UNLESS there is a vacant area or odd corner, etc. in the home that leaves buyers wondering what to do with that empty space. We either bring in or recommend buying slipcovers for stained, old, or really out-of-date furniture, but we understand that sellers do not generally want to buy new furniture for a house they’re selling. Another option that is far cheaper is to rent furniture. Of course, if you are moving and want to update anyway, buying new will always make more sense.

A few of the comments I received were:

“Absolutely staging helps to sell homes! That is why builders have “model” homes. There is a misconception that it is expensive and that it includes major changes . . . in reality, it can be simple.” T.H. ? no state given

“I have come to realize the importance of staging. It has made a huge difference in my world as to whether or not a home sells. The clients that have taken my advice have sold IN THIS MARKET in 2-4 weeks. The others? We’re still waiting,” — L.C., Wisconsin

“Staging can do wonders for defining the purpose of rooms, and giving buyers vision of the possibilities for them when they move in.” — E.M. Pennsylvania

“Staging works. There was a renovated vacant home on the market forever, they dropped the price several times, and it had a nice renovation, but no offers. Then they placed nice furniture provided by a staging company and it sold right away. When the house was vacant the rooms looked very small, but with the right furniture, people got the idea of what really fits.” M.F., New Jersey

“I wish every seller would consider staging before placing their home on the market, but they are reluctant to invest. Of the clients I know who staged their homes, the homes sold faster and they typically received better offers.” — J.C., New Jersey

“With so much competition out there staging is absolutely essential. Pricing at (not over) market value, and having a very strong internet presence with exceptional photos is the untold remainder of the story.” — R.K., New Jersey

Do I need to renovate my kitchen and bathroom(s) to sell?

The answer is . . . it depends. On what kind of shape the fixtures and cabinets are in, on whether they can be “spruced up” by glazing (as in a bathtub) or painting (cabinets) and swapping out new hardware for old or new faucets for old. Most buyers really want and will pay more for granite or marble countertops and vanities, so those improvements will make a big difference in getting buyers’ attention. MirrorMate frames are a great way to add stylish wide frames to existing “builders special” mirrors in bathrooms, without going to the trouble of taking out old mirrors (especially large ones) and replacing with new framed ones.

Kitchens and bathrooms always sell houses more than any other room, so unless your whole house is being sold as a fixer-upper, it is wise to do some sort of remodeling, but not necessarily a full renovation, on older baths and kitchens. You will likely get at least 100% back of the inexpensive fixes described above. For a full remodeling, Remodeling Magazine reports that kitchen and baths will return around 72%, on average. But that doesn’t include the speed of selling and the greater interest that remodeled rooms will generate in the house.