Home staging. Can you justify the cost? Home staging gets a lot of buzz these days. Home stagers say vacant homes sell faster and for a better price. They say you have to have your property staged if you want it sold in this market.  They say that buyers can’t imagine what an empty house would look like, that you have to show how each space can be used and what it might look like when there is furniture and belongings in there. Home stagers say you have to present an environment and atmosphere that will draw buyers in and create an emotional attachment with them.  But is what they say true? Is it really worth it? Should you stage, should you not stage.

Well, according to the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), staged homes sell 85% faster than unstaged homes.  If you list your property before considering staging, it may linger for up to 6 months unsold. And keep in mind that the majority of interest comes when a property is first listed. If you wait to see if you get any offers and don’t, you lose precious time, money and potential buyers in those first days and weeks.

Are potential buyers that tour your property really not able to visualize what the living room would look like with a sofa and a chair in it? Easy enough to determine, try this little exercise:

You can leave your eyes open or close them, whichever is more comfortable for you. Now, picture in your mind the image of a cloud. Picture it growing.  Now see, and “feel” its heavy cold rain. See the rain hitting the ground, then flowing toward streams and rivers toward the ocean. Now “see” the hot sun hitting and evaporating the water and forming clouds.

Were you able to create this scene in your mind, clearly see it? Were there other clouds in the sky? What color was the sky? Black or blue? What about the water, did you see every detail? Could you see the rain pouring down? Were the drops big or small? Was the rain coming from the east or west, north or south? You get the picture. No? You’re not alone, neither can 90% of the rest of us.

So, now you know that staged homes sell 85% faster than vacant properties and you can understand how important visualizing is to the home selling process (check out HomeGains annual 2011 Home Improvements Survey). You can understand that the property needs to “connect” with potential buyers on an emotional level and home staging does exactly that.

When it comes right down to it, money is always the “issue” and the deciding factor. Sellers are hesitant to make the one investment that will give them an edge over their competition. The one strategy that is able to provide tangible, proven results.

Let’s go back to RESA’s 2010 study. Using their example and formula you can determine approximately how much money you will continue to spend while your home is on the market un-staged.

If your mortgage is : $1800.00

If your direct expenses are: $300.00

Total carrying cost per month: $2,100.00

RESA’s study shows home owners had their property on the market for an average of 6 months. $2,100.00 X 6 months = $12,600.00 in expenses. Had those homeowners staged first, their time on market would have been cut by 120 days on average (4 months). $2,100.00 x 4 months= $8,400.0. Staging their homes first would have saved them $ 8,400.00.

Costs for staging a vacant house vary, subject to the square footage, # of rooms staged, target market and other factors. But let’s say you invested $3500 to stage your property for 60 days (the average time on market per the RESA study and what’s more, properties staged by Pro Staged Homes average less than 54 days from the date staged to CLOSE OF ESCROW). You would have saved $4900.00 overall. And what if you choose not to stage and have to reduce the price?

 That’s another $5000-$10,000 taken out of your pocket.

These numbers are all relative to individual mortgage and expenses but you can use this simple formula to determine how much you will save by staging your home  or listingbefore putting it on the market:

Mortgage + expenses (utilities etc.) = Monthly expenses

Monthly expenses X 6 months (avg. time un-staged) = Cost to list house un-stagedSavings: Expenses x 4 months (average time on market reduced) – staging fee = Savings if you stage your house first!

** If you have a price reduction you can also add that into the loss you are taking by listing a property un-staged.

Check out RESA’s Home Staging Calculator to see how much you can save:

Want more proof?

This Chino Hills property sat vacant on the market with no offers for nearly 50 days. It was staged by Pro Staged Homes mid January and went into escrow less than 30 days later!

This Whittier property sat vacant for over 125 days. After being staged by Pro Staged Homes, it closed escrow less than 60 days later!




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