The age old dilemma for a real estate agent. “should we stage this vacant home?” There are plenty of statistics (published by Staging companies of course) saying staged homes sell faster and for more money. Not sure if I believe all the statistics since I have seen many homes sell in out market over the last few years in less that 2 weeks that were vacant with no furniture. They didn’t even have shower curtains in some and they sold in 3 days above list price. There are many levels of staging and to say “yes” right off the bat is not really feasible. The easiest and most inexpensive way to stage, that as a real estate agent, I would not only say “yes” to but I would gladly pay is the staging consult. That is having a designer come in to the home and tell the seller what they should do to prepare their home for buyers to be more appealed to the home. It is an easy thing, usually takes a couple hours, the stager uses the sellers furniture. That is the key for this type of staging, it is basically a staging company coming in and arranging and decluttering for the sellers. This type of staging works out great since it is an actual professional telling the sellers they need to de-clutter more and how to set up the furniture. Sometimes that has a little more impact than just a Realtor advising the seller of this. The other reason this type of staging is feasible is that the seller is providing furniture and it doesn’t need to be rented from the stager. The consult usually only cost a few hundred dollars and as real estate agent I would gladly flip the bill for that one.
Home Staging or Not to Stage – A Vacant Home – That is the Question
Now this is where things get very pricey. When the choice of staging needs to be taken into to consideration. When it isn’t as much of a “no-brainer”. As the member of one of the largest Facebook real estate groups in the country I posed this question about staging to the community and was kind of shocked by the response. This group is composed of real estate agents from all over the country. Many different markets and price points. It seems that the market I am in costs over twice as much to stage a vacant home. Remember though a vacant home needs the original consult, renting the furniture as well as moving it in, arranging it and then moving it out when the home is sold. The quotes I was getting in the Denver Foothills area was between $2,500 to $6,000 per month. Some staging companies have a 2 or 3 month minimum rental. Keep in mind this was not a very large home. The home was under 3,000′ Sq and 3 bedroom. That is a very large chunk of change and a pretty heavy investment to make for something that is intangible and unable to measure the true impact it actually has on buyers.
OK The Seller Decides to Stage the Listing. So Who Pays? Seller or Realtor?
This was part of the question I presented to the Facebook group I mentioned above. There were hundreds and hundreds of comments and I think it really shocked a lot of agents when they saw what most agents said. For starters one of the things that was noticed is staging a home costs different in many areas. I don’t mean a little difference there was a huge difference in cost. Some agents said they could get an entire home staged for about $500 a month. That is what I would consider an acceptable cost and I would most likely pick that cost up myself and not think about it. Just consider it a marketing cost. As mentioned before that cost in my area was 10x that. Even with that being said most agents, by most about 80%, said they would not pay for the staging but would pay for the initial consult. Only a couple said they wouldn’t pay for any of it. The argument most agents had was that it is the seller’s responsibility to prepare the home for sale. That would fall under the category of preparing the home. The one thing about the very unscientific poll on FB was the real estate agents, whether for paying, not paying, not worth staging, or definitely staging, they were very animate about their position. The overall position on who pays for the staging was the agent will flip the bill for the initial consultation but the seller is on the hook for the rental and delivery of any furniture that is provided.
Even if You Decide to Stage your Home – You need to Price it Right
Many times real estate agents encounter sellers that think if they do something like staging their home they can list their home for way over the real value of their home. For example a vacant home that is listed for $100,000 over market value will sell for that price if they just had a sofa in the living room and some towels hanging in the bathroom. If your vacant home isn’t selling the chances are it isn’t just because of home staging. There might just be something else a seller needs to address. Thinking that staging a home will fix any problem with the home is just a misguided and dangerous way to think.
Staging Might Only Make Sense If the Seller Uses Their Own Furniture
The opinion of this real estate agent about home staging is I don’t believe there is enough real data out the to determine that the only factor of a home selling faster and for more money was that it was staged. There are so many other variables in the home buying process that it is hard to say that happened because of just one thing. I am of the opinion that instead of spending $5,000, $10,000 or more on staging the home, put that into repairs or painting. Getting an ROI on rented furniture is not something I see as really happening. I think a buyer would rather see that money put into remodeling and updating the master bath or kitchen. I believe that money spent on renting furniture for staging could be spent on making the overall product better. I have sold plenty of vacant homes at value to know they still sell and they still get a good amount for them. Also personally I have bought and sold at least 14 of my own homes in the last 20 years and I have only bought one that had furniture in it at the time of previewing it and most of the times I sold my homes they were vacant and not staged.
We are More Than Happy to Discuss Staging Options With You
With that being said Orson Hill Realty would be happy to work with sellers and negotiate and figure out how to best market the home. If staging is the route to go then we will work with you to stage your home. We will always do what is best for our clients. We will always pay for (if needed) the initial consult for staging and then we will work with the sellers on what else is needed.