Once upon a time, when you wanted to sell your home, it was as simple as giving it a good scrubbing, touching up a few paint chips here and there, and maybe hiding the kitty litter. You’d list the property, it would sit on the market for a few weeks or months, and eventually you’d receive an offer.
The world of home sales has changed dramatically from those simple times 20 years ago. Perhaps it’s because Toronto real estate has risen to incredible heights, and the industries that support the market have grown too. Perhaps it’s because of the rise in popularity of television channels like HGTV and shows like House Hunters. Or perhaps it’s a simple fact that our tastes have changed, and we expect more.
Whatever the reason, preparing to sell your home in 2017 is not as simple as it was several decades ago, not even close. There are many factors to consider when marketing your property such as professional photography and staging. In fact, in recent years, professional staging has risen in popularity to the point where asking yourself whether you’d like your home professionally staged should be on every serious seller’s mind.
So, should you have your home professionally staged before selling? Let’s look at what professional staging is, the real, tangible benefits of home staging and an example where it worked to the seller’s advantage.
What Does Home Staging Entail?
Professional staging is a service where a professional stager makes your home more inviting to potential buyers through the use of rental furniture, paint, and artwork. The services offered by professional stagers range broadly, from a simple consultation for a flat fee to a full-blown home makeover including new fixtures, paint, and furniture. Home stagers don’t need to have a professional certification to advertise their services, but they usually have a background in interior design.
How Much Does Home Staging Cost?
Professional staging ranges greatly in cost depending on the market and the type of services you select. A simple walk-through consultation could cost as little as $500, or a complete makeover could cost as much as 1% of the purchase price per month. While that may seem like a big expense, remember it is part of marketing a property and will help your online listing and photography shine.
When Should You Stage Your Home?
Professional staging isn’t for everyone, and it has the biggest impact on certain types of properties. Homes that are empty or have outdated furnishings and paint colours benefit the most from home staging. If you’d made a strong effort to declutter your home and already have contemporary furnishings, paying for the services of a stager may not have as big of an impact as someone who has moved out of their home, and it now sits empty. After all, an empty home not only looks smaller but the lack of furniture means there is nothing to disguise or minimize the home’s negative aspects. For example, if your home is empty and has an awkward floorplan, the lack of furniture may leave buyers wondering where to put the dining room table. A professional stager will be able to solve this problem by bringing in rented furniture and clearly defining the living spaces.
Professional staging makes your home more attractive to buyers, there’s no doubt about that, but does a professionally staged home sell quicker or for a higher price? These questions have been studied extensively, but due to slight variations from property to property, it can be difficult to say how much quicker your staged home will sell, or for how much more.
The Impact of Staging on Purchase Price
What we do know for sure is that professionally staged homes tend to sell quicker than unstaged homes. The Consumers’ Guide to Real Estate Staging reports that staged homes sold in 23 days, on average. In comparison, unstaged homes sat on the market for an average of 143 days. If you are selling a home in the expensive Vancouver real estate market, this reduced time on market could mean thousands of dollars’ worth of mortgage payments get to stay in your pocket.
Regarding whether having your home professionally staged results in a higher final selling price, the jury is still out. A 2012 study by Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William and Mary found in his interviews with 800 would-be home buyers that they didn’t value homes that have been staged as worth more than homes that hadn’t been staged. This doesn’t jive with the dozens of anecdotal examples of professional home staging working like a charm for sellers.
Restage and Relisting
One shining example belongs to Zoocasa’s own Jim Roberts. A seasoned real estate agent, Roberts took a three-bedroom semi-detached home in the popular Riverdale neighbourhood and used the power of professional staging to sell it. Before retaining Roberts’ services, the home had been sparsely staged by the owners and was originally listed for $1.17 million. After holding off offers for a week, the home got only one offer – at asking price.
The disappointed sellers contacted Roberts and the Zoocasa team for a professional staging that included turning the finished but sterile feeling basement into a cozy retreat. The rest of the home received a similar treatment. Roberts relisted the home for $999,000 and sold it within 24 hours for a cool $1.35 million.
Whether you choose professional home staging for your property or not, the facts are clear: professional staging is here to stay.