How important is staging for a home sale?
May 1, 2017
One of the questions I get asked most frequently is “Do I really need to stage my home to sell it?”
The answer is almost always yes, for two reasons.
Reason Number One
When preparing your home or condo to go on the market, clearing out everything except for the necessary items like furniture and lighting can give a buyer the idea of proportions of a room. If there is too much furniture or too many extras, it makes rooms feel smaller than they are and it’s hard for most buyers to figure out how they will be able to fit all their stuff or use the room with what they already have.
When the eye is all over the place, it’s hard to focus on a space so, staging certainly helps with that. Less is more is the way I think about staging – good furniture placement is what you need for an understanding of how to use a space in a functional way. Stick with convention – if a wall is meant to have the couch on it, it should be there – not floating in the middle of a room.
Many people have difficulty imagining a room’s potential. Whatever you can do to make them visualize them in the space is a good idea.
Reason Number Two
The second reason to stage is to make the space look better in photos. Almost every potential buyer is going to check out the home online and a busy space can often times not photograph well. For instance, I’ve had listings in the past where the owner has a great eye and exquisite taste; the décor, for living, is beautiful. Everything is very strategic, but the combination of books, artifacts and other cool stuff makes the home look extremely hectic in photographs. In short, paring down to get the home ready for sale is key. Found objects and objects of interest are important to any decor but if there is too much for a buyer to absorb, they often can get distracted by those items instead of being absorbed in the space. Ultimately it’s the space you’re selling so make it more of a blank palate for a buyer to envision themselves in.
How much does staging cost?
The cost for staging depends on whether somebody has the basics; such as a couch that’s well proportioned with the space. It’s like having the staples in your kitchen so you can prepare a dish rather than having to go shopping for all the ingredients.
If you need furniture rentals, the cost for staging a one bedroom apartment would range from $1,500 to $3,000. A two-bedroom condo could be as much as $5,000.
A survey by the National Association of Realtors showed that an investment of between 1 and 3 per cent of the homes asking price resulted in a return on investment of 8 to 10 per cent. So if you have a one-bedroom condo that you’re looking to sell for $300,000 (which is rare these days!) a 1 per cent investment could pay off.
A house may be more expensive to stage. Not only are there more rooms, but there may be other repairs to take into consideration. That said, a one per cent investment in a property selling for over $800K is still smart.
Even in today’s market, staging still plays a role. True, if a home isn’t staged it will still sell. But today’s buyers want something that is move in ready and if people can’t picture themselves in your home, you’ll be losing out on a number of buyers which can result in a lower sales price.
What is the cost of not staging? It’s hard to quantify. I recently sold a loft on King Street that wasn’t staged because it was tenanted and it still sold for well over the asking price. However, we gave the unit a really good deep clean and tried to maintain that level of cleanliness during the listing.
If you can’t afford to repaint, you can at least declutter and edit and that doesn’t cost anything. You’ll have to do it anyway when you move, so you may as well do it now and get ahead of the game! A staged home creates more of a neutral canvas and buyers to imagine themselves in the space. It casts a wider net in the people who would be interested in the place, better exposure, more people through the door… more people, more offers, more money!
If you’re considering selling your home or just have questions about Toronto’s real estate market, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!