An ethical and hardworking real estate broker has the best interests of the client in mind at all times. When working with a seller, it’s clear that we want her to benefit financially as much as possible from the sale of her home. But, that’s only the end result. The best brokers will also initiate some hard discussions about what it will take to show the home and its features in the best possible light.
In Seattle, homebuyers have come to expect homes on the market to be staged. It’s often helpful for understanding how the home flows and opens the imagination to what it might be like to live there. Staging, in sync with the home’s character, will welcome everyone in while also enticing further exploration.
Potential sellers, particularly who’ve lived in their homes for decades, must wrestle with this new idea while also weighing the added cost. Touring other properties for sale with seller clients will immediately highlight just how staging impacts the emotions by creating ‘wow’ moments scattered throughout the home. It’s often one of the reasons why buyers strongly connect with the home, making an offer or multiple offers much more likely and more financially significant.
According to the 2017 Profile of Home Staging released by the National Association of Realtors®, twenty-nine percent reported an increase of 1-5% of the dollar value offered by buyers when compared to similar homes. Twenty-one percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between 6 and 10%. Additionally, thirty-nine percent of sellers’ agents stated that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time the home is on the market.
The cost for staging varies widely between staging companies and is largely dependent on a home’s square footage including the numbers and types of rooms. All homeowners should set aside some time well ahead of listing date to interview at least 3 staging companies. Ask if their staff is made up of employees rather than independent contractors. A well-managed company will retain employees, provide them with benefits and supply appropriate workers compensation and liability
insurance to cover them while on the job. Discuss costs for installation and de-staging, costs for additional or pro-rated months of renting the furniture, how home damage is handled or any other aspects of the contract. Ask for first-time discounts. Let them know that other stagers are being interviewed.
While walking a stager around the home, listen for how s/he understands its character or history. Listen for their vision. Does it tell a story or does it feel dry and transactional? What connection, if any, do you feel with the stager? Which one captured a sense of delight? For additional perspective, always invite your broker to attend those meetings.
The initial cost of staging can add significantly to the budget for preparing any home for market especially when it may be necessary to paint, install new floors, landscape or make significant repairs. Staging, however, provides the opening for all buyers to say “WOW” when they step into your home, and, according to statistics, gets more dollars in the offers, maximizing that particular return on investment.