Home Staging 101: What is Staging and Is it Necessary for Selling Your Home?

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Home staging is much more than just a real estate industry buzzword — it’s an essential strategy that can dramatically influence a buyer’s first impression, the sale price of a home, and how quickly it sells.

HomeLight’s Summer 2023 Top Agent Insights Report estimates that professional staging can add an average of $8,300 to the resale value of a home. And the National Association of Realtors reports that staging makes buyers more likely to picture themselves moving in, according to 81% of buyer’s agents.

This guide will provide you with all the information you need about home staging to ensure your home not only captures potential buyers’ attention but also their hearts and offers.

Find an Agent Who Can Help You Stage Your Home

An experienced agent will understand the value of staging, provide DIY tips, and refer you to the best staging experts in your market. HomeLight can connect you with a top-performing agent near you.

What is home staging?

Home staging is the process of adding decor, rearranging furniture, and expertly dressing up the home to make it look appealing for listing photos and walkthroughs. It’s a marketing tactic that can make even the most dark, drab space feel bright and homey.

The reason home staging is so important is because it can turn around a sale that otherwise wasn’t moving. Considering that almost all buyers use online tools during their home search, having beautifully staged listing photos draws in more buyers and boosts interest in your home.

If you’re selling an empty home, in most cases you or your real estate agent will need to call in a professional home stager to bring in furniture and home decor to set up the space.

If you plan to live in your home during the selling process, most real estate agents recommend using your existing furniture and home decor to keep costs low.

A top agent experienced in home staging will be able to walk into your home and help you compile a list of everything you’ll need to do to stage it effectively. They’ll also have a Rolodex of reputable professional staging companies they’ve worked with before who can give your home a polished touch.

What does a home stager do?

A home stager is a professional who specializes in preparing residential properties for sale, ensuring they appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers. At the core of their expertise is the understanding of buyer psychology and current market trends. A stager meticulously assesses each room, decluttering and depersonalizing spaces, optimizing furniture layout, enhancing lighting, and introducing decor elements that elevate the property’s aesthetic appeal.

Their goal is twofold: to create an immediate connection for potential buyers by showcasing a home’s best features and to make spaces feel larger, warmer, and more inviting. Through these strategic transformations, a home stager ensures that a property doesn’t just get noticed, but also gets buyers excited about the prospect of living there.

Should I stage my home?

Whether or not you should stage your home depends on your selling situation. If you need to sell your home fast, you may opt to sell to an investor or house-buying company, like HomeLight Simple Sale, allowing you to forego the staging process altogether. If you’re planning to sell the traditional way, staging your home can help generate buyer interest and higher offers. Let’s break down some seller concerns that staging a home can ultimately solve for.

I’m worried my home won’t sell for top dollar

NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Staging found that 20% of potential buyers increased their offer on a home from 1-5% because it was staged. Take the current average national home price of $416,100, for example. Based on NAR’s survey, you could make $4,161 to $20,805 more on a home that’s been staged.

What if no one comes to see my house?

NAR also reported that home staging convinced 40% of potential buyers to go check out a house they had found online. That means staging your home will bring more buyers in the door.

What if potential buyers don’t get that “homey” feel?

Home staging made 81% of potential buyers more able to imagine themselves living in the house. That connection is essential to the purchase of a property; a buyer won’t put in an offer unless they feel emotionally invested in a home. Staging helps it get there.

Can I stage my own home?

Yes, but you’ll likely want some help. Even if you’re a professional interior designer, working with an expert real estate agent and professional staging company will ensure your home is staged successfully to sell.

For example, James Knurek, a top agent in Rockville, Connecticut, took on a home that had been listed previously with two other agents and had not yet sold. After putting in some serious time and updates, Knurek called in the professionals.

“We brought in a stager and did a lot of painting. The client did have a lot of nice furniture, so we did a lot of repositioning and hired a high end photographer,” he said. “Buyers came in and said, ‘This is a showpiece home. It looks like a magazine.’”

Stage your home to increase buyer interest and resale value

If you’re getting ready to sell your home but aren’t sure where to start in terms of staging, talk to your real estate agent. HomeLight can connect you with a top agent in your market who can provide you with a home staging guide specifically tailored to your space and connect you with professional staging companies who can help.

When you’re selling, the goal remains clear: You want to present your home in its best light, ensuring it resonates with potential buyers and maximizes your return on investment. Home staging can transform a property into a buyer’s dream space, often leading to increased buyer interest and potentially higher offers.

Home staging FAQ

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