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Once thought of as a pricey way to prepare a home for sale, home staging has become entrenched in the home sale process. Not only has it become part of the home seller experience, home buyers and their agents now expect some staging when they visit homes.
The spring home sale season is the perfect time for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to roll out the results of their 2019 Profile of Home Staging survey (nar.realtor). In a March 14th press release, NAR President John Smaby summed up this year’s profile by stating, “Realtors understand the importance of making a residential property as welcoming and appealing as possible to potential buyers. While every Realtor doesn’t use staging in every situation, the potential value it brings is clear to both homebuyers and sellers.”
Staging may affect a home’s time on market, and it’s likely due to visual cues. More than half of the agents who responded to the survey indicated that home staging reduces time on market. Forty percent of buyer agents said that home staging effects most buyers’ perceptions of a home. Eighty-three percent of buyer agents believe that home staging makes it easier to visualize living in the home.
It’s not surprising that agents agree that the most staging attention goes to the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and the dining room. It’s not that these rooms have special significance, but rather it’s because it’s where people spend most of their time in the home.
The survey found that real estate TV shows have impacted home buyers’ views and expectations. Thirty-nine percent of buyers indicated that they experienced a more difficult home buying process than what they expected. Twenty percent of buyers reported being disappointed that homes they visited didn’t look like the ones portrayed on TV. While ten percent believe that homes should look staged as they are depicted in TV shows.
Not all agents stage the homes they list for sale. Only twenty-eight percent of listing agents said they staged all sellers’ homes prior to listing them for sale. Compared to the thirteen percent of agents who confessed that they only stage homes that they deem difficult to sell.
Does staging affect sale price? It was noted that all agents surveyed indicated that home staging affected their home sale positively. Twenty-two percent of the agents reported an increase of up to five percent in buyers’ offers, while seventeen percent reported offer increases up to ten percent. Only two percent of the agents responded that it increased offers up to twenty percent.
But the idea of staging your home to get top dollar may just be traditional wisdom, as evidenced by NAR’s survey. One of the few studies on staging revealed that indeed, staging does not have a significant impact on sale price. Lane, Seiler & Seiler’s 2015 study (The Impact of Staging Conditions on Residential Real Estate Demand. Journal of Housing Research, 24,1. 21-35) concluded that although staging affects the home buying process and the buyer’s opinion and perception of livability, it’s not enough to result in a higher sales price. The authors stated, “These results stand in stark contrast to the conscious (stated) opinion of both buyers and real estate agents that staging conditions significantly impact willingness to pay for a home. As such, the findings are new and useful to a large group of stakeholders (sellers and agents).”
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Success in Potomac, MD. You can access more information at DanKrell.com