The Guide to Staging a Home

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2021 Profile of Home Staging, staging a home can increase the sales price by over 20% in some markets, with around 52% of listing agents reporting a value increase (28% of agents are unsure about the value increase, and no agents reported a negative impact). Furthermore, staged homes sell faster, with 31% of agents reporting that time on the market is greatly decreased because of staging.

In this guide, you’ll find home staging tips that you can share with your clients to cement yourself as an authority in the space.

What Is Staging?

Staging is the art of using furnishings and accessories to make a home more appealing to potential buyers and/or renters. Staging is a spectrum. On one end, you have minimal do-it-yourself staging. This might involve rearranging furniture to better fit the space, adding lighting to brighten the space, and swapping out old linens with new ones. On the other end, you have full, professional staging. This typically involves hiring a staging company to fully furnish a vacant home.

Here are five tips to guide you when staging a home.

1. Your Staging Should Sell a Lifestyle

The point of staging is to entice buyers and renters to choose your client’s property. And the best way to sell someone on a property is to promote the desirable lifestyle the property offers. 

Here are a few ways to help buyers and renters imagine living their best lives in your listings:

  • Position fancy olive oils and spices on the kitchen counter to help prospects imagine cooking healthy meals in the kitchen. 

  • Place a novel on an end table to help buyers picture themselves cozying up for a good read. 

  • Arrange luxury bath and body products in the bathroom to promote the idea of an everyday, at-home spa experience.

2. Take Inventory of Your Seller’s Current Staging

Your clients may already have everything you need to stage the home. In many cases, staging is simply a matter of rearranging furnishings to showcase special features and detract from potential downsides. 

Take the dining room table, for example. Your sellers may be using the table as a catch-all for odds and ends. Or they might be using it for crafting or as a desk in the absence of a home office. This may work perfectly well for your sellers, but potential buyers generally prefer the idea of shared meals around the dining table. Clearing the clutter and adding a table runner and tasteful centerpiece will appeal more favorably to buyers. 

Take a look at what your clients have to work with, and use it in your staging!

3. Match the Staging Budget to Your Demographic

If fixer-uppers or starter homes are your niche, a full staging would likely be an unnecessary expense. Buyers at this price point aren’t expecting magazine-quality interior design from these properties. You can set your listing apart simply by making it clean and clutter-free.   

However, if you’re working the luxury market, your staging will need to be high-end to meet the expectations of your discerning buyers. Your sellers may already have spectacular furnishings, but if they have moved out, you’ll likely want to stage the entire home to ensure a faster sale at a higher price.    

4. Keep a Mini Staging Kit Available for All Vacant Homes

Vacant homes at any price point can feel cold and uninviting. It can be difficult for buyers and renters to imagine their lives in an empty space. But a few small accessories can add a bit of life and warmth. Have a “staging kit” ready with some affordable home decor items like:

  • Tea towels for the kitchen

  • Fluffy, white towels for the bathrooms

  • A few candles to help with the stale air in a vacant home

  • Some lights to make the space feel warmer and brighter

  • A few small, good-quality fake plants that you can place on counters and sills

  • One or two larger fake plants (like ferns) that can sit on the floor to brighten a corner

5. Consider Fronting the Funds for Staging

In most cases, your sellers will pay for staging because they benefit from the quicker sale and higher sales price. But you will likely come across sellers who don’t have the cash available for staging. Perhaps their available cash is tied up in their new home, and they're just making ends meet until this home sells. 

In this case, consider covering the upfront cost of the staging and getting reimbursed once the house sells. After all, a quick sale and a high sales price are in your best interest as well! Just be careful to detail this arrangement in your listing contract, and outline a repayment plan if the house fails to sell.  

By giving your clients sound staging advice, you’re improving the results of their sales and leases, and increasing your chances of referrals and future business!

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