11 Staging Tips to Help You Get Top Dollar When Selling Your Home

For home shoppers touring one property after another, homes for sale become a blur. Make yours stand out from the pack.

If you are thinking of listing your home for sale, consider staging it. As you know if you watch home-decorating TV, staging is a trend for home sellers. The idea is to clear out your possessions and carefully present each room in a way that’s calculated to appeal to buyers.

When home shoppers visit a property for sale they are trying to picture themselves living there, experts say. To help eliminate distractions, professional stagers advise erasing all traces of yourself and furnishing and decorating just enough to let shoppers see the possibilities.

Does staging work?

Professional stagers say that the practice helps sell homes faster and for more money.

A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors of 2,373 members lends some support to these claims.

“Realtors who work with buyers say most buyers are willing to offer more money for a staged home compared to a similar nonstaged home,” the report says, adding that:

  • 49 percent of selling agents surveyed said staging usually has a positive effect on how buyers view a home.
  • 47 percent said staging helps sometimes.
  • 4 percent said staging made no difference in how buyers respond to a home.

When to stage a home

Staging is not necessarily for every home. Selling agents told the NAR that they use staging strategically:

  • Just 34 percent stage every for-sale home.
  • 13 percent use staging primarily on homes that are difficult to sell.
  • 4 percent stage only higher-priced properties.

If you are on the fence, view listings similar to yours online and in person to see if those in your price bracket use staging. If they do, maybe you should, too, so your property doesn’t suffer by comparison in buyers’ eyes.

Consider the cost

To engage a staging professional, expect to pay about 1 percent of your home’s sale price, About.com’s staging expert says. That’s around $4,000 for a home listed at $400,000.

The NAR survey found that the median cost (half cost more, half less) for staging was $675, which suggests that many homeowners do much of the work themselves.

With elbow grease and imagination there is much you can do while keeping costs low. Here are 11 tips for staging a home on a budget:

1. Find an agent who’ll pay for staging

The NAR survey found that 62 percent of its selling agents polled have paid for staging their clients’ homes.

How agents contribute to staging for clients runs the gamut. Some with expertise do the work, while others advise clients on what to do. Some, usually in large firms, have stagers on their staffs and even have warehouses of furniture to use. Other agents contribute money for staging and view it as a cost of doing business.

When you negotiate with agents for your home sale, ask about including this perk in your contract. If this is a sticking point for you, keep shopping until you find an agent you like who covers at least some part of the service.

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