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Does "staging" pay off?

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gonnabe2016 posted 1/18/2013 08:16 AM

I have a home that is currently vacant and we are planning to put it on the market. Is having it *staged* worth the cost?

Anyone done this and what was your experience?

JustDone posted 1/18/2013 08:29 AM

I'm newly in the business, and the answer probably is "it depends". It depends on the area, the price, your realtor, the condition, the neighborhood, the cost of the staging, etc.

PM me if you ever want to chat about specifics.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 1/18/2013 09:25 AM

According to the 'flipping' shows I watch it is - particularly if there is an undefined oroddly shaped/placed space.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 1/18/2013 09:25 AM

Duplicate Post

[This message edited by Lucky2HaveMe at 10:14 AM, January 18th (Friday)]

LoveActually posted 1/19/2013 12:03 PM

I have been in the real estate business for over 20 years and honestly if your home is in the $650,000+ price range then staging can be worth it. However, the real key to selling your home is pricing it right to begin with. I find that most people that have to stage their home have way over priced themselves in the market and it's a suggestion or ploy by the realtor to get to keep the lisiting a little longer or to "freshen up" a listing that's been sitting on the market too long--it can be a huge waste of money for the seller so be careful. The most activity is going to be generated in the first 30 to 60 days your home is listed so pricing is crucial.

[This message edited by LoveActually at 12:04 PM, January 19th (Saturday)]

gonnabe2016 posted 1/19/2013 12:11 PM

Thanks.

it's a suggestion or ploy by the realtor

^^this^^ is what I fear....along with a couple of other things. I figure that if someone likes the home, they are going to like it regardless. At the same time, there are a lot of homes available in my neighborhood and so the buyers can afford to be choosy. However, my gut is telling me to watch out for ulterior motives......

meaniemouse posted 1/19/2013 12:17 PM

I didn't so much stage my house but just emptied it out. I had to rent three storage units but it was worth every penny. I only left the best pieces of furniture, took everything extra out of the closets, garage and basement--kept enough to make it look like a home. Also removed everything personal like family pictures, etc. Then I cleaned it within an inch of its life and it sold in two weeks. In a bad market.

Oooh . . .I just got the shivers remembering it and how stressful it was.

gonnabe2016 posted 1/19/2013 12:19 PM

The house is actually vacant....so this staging would involve bringing stuff in. Furniture, rugs, pictures....

mom of 2 posted 1/19/2013 17:22 PM

I'm in the process of prepping my mother's townhome to put on the market. It will also be vacant. And I mean nothing. No furniture, curtains, pictures, NOTHING. I'll let you know how it goes.

Personally, I would not spend the money for someone to professionally stage it. If I felt the house would show better with staging, I would drag my own stuff over there before hiring someone.

WarehouseGuy posted 1/19/2013 18:29 PM

It seems like a waste of time and money to me. If I'm looking to buy a house I'm more interested in the mechanicals of the house. The plumbing,electrical and structural etc.--than a picture on the wall or a nice couch.

WHG

[This message edited by WarehouseGuy at 6:39 PM, January 19th (Saturday)]

Heavy Sigh posted 1/19/2013 18:34 PM

Love Actually and others gave excellent advice. I did exactly what Meanie did - emptied out except for a few things, bought pretty hand towels from the dollar store, and we also sold in a down market.

I think empty is fine. But what won't be fine in a competitive market will be stained carpets and scuffed up walls, that sort of thing.

Know who your likely buyers will be - don't assume millionaires want a starter house to renovate so you can leave it "as is" and get top dollar. I knew my likely buyers would be looking for an above-average starter home, so we refinished the floors again, painted everything in neutrals, including inside closets. A back door was weathered a bit, so we replaced it.

Young couples with little kids and people transferring to a new city prefer to have the basics done, especially the floors, before they move furniture onto those floors. And singles and young couples with a little kid were the market for our home.

Some sellers won't do the repainting and won't replace worn things, because they do not want to spend the money for someone else. Their homes sit on the market and they lose more money in the long run.

Make sure it looks as if upkeep has been done (no broken lights fixtures, that sort of thing). You do not wish them to assume that the heating, air and serious upkeep wasn't done, and base this on only one loose doorknob.

[This message edited by Heavy Sigh at 6:41 PM, January 19th (Saturday)]

circe posted 1/20/2013 05:56 AM

When we sold our first house we did almost exactly what Heavy Sigh did. We replaced a cracked basement window and a skylight screen, refinished the living room hardwood floor, replaced a few light fixtures, things like that. Then we painted absolutely every wall neutral and made sure it was spanking clean. We hired a cleaning service to do that part because they did inside of the oven and refrigerator and the unfinished basement and garage floor as well. That was worth every penny.

Our realtor's advice based on the buyers we were likely to attract was just to make it move-in ready. Our home was open plan and on TV shows they always seem to stage open plan homes, but ours showed fine without staging.

One thing we did that our realtor said wouldn't matter, but we felt strongly about, was doing the front landscaping. We didn't do much but we had a crew haul out an old and spindly huge ornamental bush that took up a big stretch in front of the house, and replace it with several really nice smaller ornamentals, and we personally installed window boxes. We felt strongly about this because when we were house hunting we tried very hard to be open minded, but you know when you're tired and stressed and you've been looking at too many homes, when you pull up in front of the next one you kind of just want it to look pretty and friendly and welcoming from the start, and sometimes that dictates your entire willingness to like the home once you walk inside. So while we didn't stage, we did put some extra effort to give it curb appeal.

authenticnow posted 1/20/2013 06:07 AM

I agree that clean and not run down will make the difference. We did a semi-stage. We got rid of a lot of personal photos on shelves and the walls (I hated living that way while it was on the market!). We replaced the rugs in the bedrooms with neutral tones and painted. I painted the front door because it was bleached out from the sun and that made a huge difference for little $ and maybe two hours work.

People were saying to have the cats stay somewhere else because if people see a litterbox they automatically get turned off. I wasn't doing that but I did make sure it was squeaky clean every day.

I think if your house is empty you should just polish it up and make sure nothing is run down or raggedy looking.

I do think this applies to the outside as well. Even a new welcome mat and definitely no dead bushes or worn out landscaping.

gonnabe2016 posted 1/20/2013 11:32 AM

You guys are all great. I really like the collective experience and wisdom of SI.

Gotta admit that I'm a bit stunned that a realtor would tell you to not bother with freshening up the front landscaping. Huh. I agree with you that it seems pretty important.

So, the interior is going to be painted and I think a few odds & ends type of things will be fixed/freshened. The *staging* that my stbx was talking about doing was a *whole hog* staging....furniture, rugs, pictures, etc. And it just sounded like an expensive pain in the butt to me....for not all that much of a difference in selling price. Not to mention, he's going to be living there for a while.....so I can't help but feel as if he's being disingenuous with me.

Anyway. Thanks for all of your replies. You guys are better than HGTV!!

circe posted 1/20/2013 12:59 PM

Gotta admit that I'm a bit stunned that a realtor would tell you to not bother with freshening up the front landscaping. Huh. I agree with you that it seems pretty important.

She said the front looked neat and fine, and it did look just about at the "fine" level compared to a lot of the comparable homes, and she said that the time it would take would equate to a mortgage payment plus the cost of landscaping and we wouldn't get that much back. I have no idea if we did or didn't recapture that expense in the sale, but it sold fairly easily and I'd do the same thing again. And the landscaping took like 4 days total from scheduling to finish, so it wasn't a huge undertaking.

Oh, we had already moved out at this point so there was no furniture at all in the house, and only kitchen appliances. We took the nice washer and drier and we didn't replace them, so there was an empty laundry room. We thought we'd buy used ones on craigslist to fill in that room, but it sold before we did that. I guess we had anti-staging.

Heavy Sigh posted 1/20/2013 13:41 PM

I would be concerned that the realtor will be living there.


He/she will have no incentive to sell it, unless realtor has a set date to be out, such as he's already purchased a home and has a closing date.

I remember searching for a home and the renter in one home told us all of these horrible things about it. Another friend later bought that home, and I asked her if she had a lot of work to do to fix x,y and z. She said none of that stuff was true. She had purchased it after the renter had moved on and wasn't there to spread disinformation and stress the faults.

gonnabe2016 posted 1/20/2013 13:43 PM

Stbx will be living there, not realtor.

stillstrong posted 1/23/2013 00:27 AM

It's funny gonnabe. Our house was on the market for 5 months. Our realtor suggested staging. My STBX lives there alone in a 5 bdrm 2700 sq ft house so most rooms are empty. However, there is a billiard table in the living room/dining room. Our realtor suggested we move it out and stage the rooms as they were meant to be. STBX was away so I couldn't have the billiard table removed but I did remove a pine wood kitchen table out of our dark wood kitchen which also has dark hardwood floors. I also removed the privacy curtain from out master bathroom doorway. (I found it incredibly weird that there is no door on the bathroom) We got 4 offers within 5 days!
They do say that a vacant house takes twice as long to sell as a furnished one, but the staging in your case seems a little elaborate.
You never know...

somanyyears posted 1/24/2013 09:16 AM


..my 2 cents..

..staging means $$$$ ,time, energy(if you are slinging couches and hanging pictures)

..but, will it increase the selling price?? or make the sale go quicker..??

you want maximum bang for your buck obviously..

..do the potential clients want 'the decorated, model home' look, or is the property in a 'rat infested basement ghetto apartment/ crack house neighbourhood??

..does the realtor just happen to know a 'staging' aquaintance??

..

..lots of people like to walk in to a clean, bare to the walls home.. they can visualize their own stuff in an empty space.. and ..it looks as spacious as possible with it totally empty!

good luck and i hope you bargained with the realtor's commission rate ??

smy

mom of 2 posted 6/16/2013 21:04 PM

Update: I posted a reply earlier on this thread about not staging my mother's home.

It's been on the market for 2 months and I've had 2 offers. The first offer was too low and I rejected. The second offer came in yesterday and I accepted. In *my* case, I don't think staging made a bit of difference. It had interest w/o a piece of furniture in the house.

edited for clarity

[This message edited by mom of 2 at 9:05 PM, June 16th (Sunday)]

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