Staging a Home, is it necessary?

This is going to be one hot topic.  Here in San Francisco, staging is the norm and absolutely helps the home present in the freshest way possible.  Stagers and their agents often go the extra mile and participate in color choice, will sometimes work with current furniture and accessories, replace lighting and hardware and can really use a critical eye to bring out the homes best attributes.
I have used different stagers on different kinds of projects, ie...modern, victorian, condo, single family and get a different result and stage, depending upon whom I choose. 
Staging can cause a "buzz", an unknown quality that makes a buyer say, "I can see myself here"...which can add to the ability to ask for a higher asking price and may even command a higher final purchase price.  
If you would consider freshening, repairing your home for market, then staging is a natural final step to presenting a beautiful home to the buying public. 
  • October 05 2011 - San Francisco
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Answers (39)

Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
Its not necessary however I personally bringing my stager to every home I list, she is amazing and serves several purposes. She can be the 'bad guy' and tell the homeowner 'how it should all look' And she is a professional who has a great eye to setting the home up so it potentially can sell faster.Staged homes do sell faster.
  • October 06 2011
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Staging gives a home "universal" appeal.  Homes that are staged tend to go under contract faster with a better price and terms.  ALWAYS stage a home!!!
  • October 06 2011
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We have found when listing homes it is necessary to have furniture in the home in order to offer depth perception to rooms when using photographs for internet outlets, and brochures.  When showing an empty home to clients, potential buyers usually walk through the home placing their furniture visually in vacant rooms. We're sure their are many opinions on this topic. 
  • October 06 2011
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In this "challenging" Buyer's Market, Seller's can use every advantage to show off their property in the best possible light, and help differentiate from all the other competition. In addition, staging may very well get you the reasonable asking price in a timely manner.
  • October 06 2011
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There is a reason why developers usually offer a model-beautifully staged,defining purpose of each room. The models are usually the first ones that get sold. Staging is quite important part of a selling process.

  • October 06 2011
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If a home is aggressively priced and staged - regardless of whether it is vacant or occupied, high-end or low-end - it will sell faster than those that aren't staged. Of course, there are bargain hunters and investors who look specifically for foreclosures and short sales, and they don't care as much about the home's presentation because they plan to gut and remodel it anyway, but for the average homeowner, staging (combined with the right price) makes a home hard to resist.


  • October 07 2011
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As buyers continue to demand 'move-in ready' homes, I think staging is becoming even more important for home-owners and realtors to consider as a viable and proven tool to help them sell the house more quickly and at the best price. I think Professional Home Stagers really come in handy when homeowners don't have the time, don't know where to start, or lack the ability to 'see' the home as a buyer would. Whether staging is done as a DIY project or by a professional, the benefits far out-weigh the costs in most circumstances.
  • October 07 2011
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Profile picture for SteadyState
I am not an agent so my views are somewhat distrustful of staging. First I see it as a way to put the current owners in an awkward situation - if the sellers home is staged, the seller and family are not at ease living in their own home.

Nevertheless if the listing agent says that staging is necessary than the REA needs to pay for the staging not the home owner.

  • October 07 2011
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Profile picture for TheBarbeeTeam
I think it is specific to the home. There are pros and cons to staging a home, but if its a "unique" floor plan, it may be necessary.
  • October 07 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I staged my own house and did a dang good job if I might say so since my house sold in about 10 days. People say that there is no value in watching television, but HGTV sold my house and the hours of work I put in watching Sell This House, Designed to Sell etc. gave me low and no cost ideas for my worst offenders. It also helped me see what universal design looked like beyond the constraints of a hotel room.

Good staging should not be plastic or devoid of personality, but it should not be offensive to the majority. When you sell a house you are working the numbers. The more people that like and can afford your house the more likely you are to get offers. Staging does not have to cost money. I spent under $1000 on my 2000 sf house. $150 of that was a neutral couch and chair set from Goodwill that had a scale that made a difficult room seem spacious and useable.

Simple staging does work, but you can do it yourself as long as you keep an eye on what buyers will see. That means clean everything until is sparkles, take your fridge magnet collection and precious moments display cases in every room out of the mix before you put your house on the market. 
  • October 07 2011
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Profile picture for ladavidson
Does the Real Estate Agent receive a percentage on what the 'Staging Professional' makes?
  • October 07 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
In my area, they don't receive a commission or fee from the stager, but if it helps sell the house faster then the agent and the seller both benefit.
  • October 07 2011
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There are RESPA rules that Realtors must follow.  We cannot accept money from a person or company we recommend to a buyer or seller unless it is fully disclosed when the recommendation is made.  A Realtor must disclose to the buyer and the seller if they are receiving compensation from both parties as well.  We cannot keep secrets from buyers or sellers.  Unless it is easily observable Realtors must give all of the information that we have to our client if we are a 'Single Agent'.  If we are a 'Single Agent' full disclosure is required.  If we are a 'Transaction Broker' material facts must be disclosed.  Here is a post I wrote about a law suit,[hotlink removed by Zillow moderator] with a chart showing disclosure requirements. Currently Florida Realtors are presumed to be Transaction Brokers unless the buyer or seller and Realtor have a written agreement stating that the Realtor is a Single Agent. 
  • October 08 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I would appreciate it if you would explain to me exactly where under RESPA an agent is forbidden to get a referral fee for something that is not even listed on the HUD settlement form.

It looks to me as a non attorney that paying a referral fee is completely legal under RESPA with an outside or affiliated business entity as long as it is disclosed with an Affiliated Business disclosure statement or if actual services or value are provided.
  • October 08 2011
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Profile picture for SteadyState
Maya says:
"   A Realtor must disclose to the buyer and the seller if they are receiving compensation from both parties as well.  We cannot keep secrets from buyers or sellers. "

But you also must have an NDA with the buyer, with the seller and the staging company. So practically can you disclose the information? Most importantly if the listing brokerage is given a "staging rebate" but the listing agent is not, is such information disclosed?
  • October 08 2011
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Staging = Universal appeal


Aram Arakelyan
Your LA Broker For Life!
Realty Needs Network
house value check
  • October 09 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"Staging = Universal appeal"

Wow. I can see the light. Am I dying?
  • October 09 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Twice in the last decade we've sold and the agent has called in a stager.  Both times the agent paid the fee.
  • October 09 2011
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You bet! When I hire my Stager to stage the client feels more confident in selling their home! I provide clients with a complimentary consultation so they are given upfront knowledge on what it takes to sell their home in the current market conditions. It really takes the stress off of the client when they can rely on a professional. My clients appreciate the staging I provide as one of the many important parts of my marketing.

Also, when I take my clients out on buying trips they are impressed and inclined to stay an extended time in a staged home verses a vacant or non-staged home. Homes that are cold and dark with the blinds closed offer no sense of warmth or attractiveness to the home buyers out shopping for homes and it effects the time on market.

Great subject! 
  • October 16 2011
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Profile picture for BobDandi

A good agent should be able to give you most if not all the staging help you need. With 20+ years of experience in buying, selling, remodeling, renting homes and multiunits there isn't a place that I cannot  inexpensively have prepped and staged to make it look its best. Furniture rental places make this so easy nowadays, too so ask your agent for tips on what to do before spending money on a stager.

  • October 27 2011
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Profile picture for Stage It Up
Although still not the norm in the southeast Texas area (and I sure wish it were), the agents I work with have had more successes when using my services than when they haven't. The trend is growing in this area though.
  • November 05 2011
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It is not unusual for my company to be called in to stage after a house has already been listed for several months.  After my team stages the house it sells within 6 weeks.  Staging alone doesn't sell the house, it has to be priced right too.

Yes, a lot of agents are perfectly capable of staging themselves.  The agent I work with the most actually had the same training I did.  The reason successful agents bring me in to stage, and often pay part or all the fee, is because good staging takes time and the agent doesn't have time for it.
  • November 05 2011
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I am both an experienced Realtor and an ASP (Accredited Staging Professional) and an IAHSP (International Accredited Home Staging Professional) in New York Westchester County. Staging absolutely makes a difference in marketing a property. For more in depth details go to stagedhomes.com and discover the difference it can make.
  • November 06 2011
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
Just for informational and assessment purposes...

The Accredited Staging Professional (ASP®) designation takes a whole 2 days. [Link]

The 3-day version appears to be one day of hands-on staging, one-day of how to convince others to follow your advice, and one-day of how to build/price/market your business. Ummm.... [Link]

As near as i can tell, IAHSP is just another professional club, with the prime requirement being having the ASP® designation (i.e., you paid for the class). [Link]

In all seriousness, and not to denigrate a person's chosen vocation, it sounds like Mary Kay for real estate.
  • November 06 2011
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Thats a question for the ages! Ultimately it depends on your neighborhood, the condition of your home and your target marketing demographic.

If you can afford to put up the extra cash to stage, the more likely your home will sell quicker and potentially for more than if it was not staged. HOWEVER - given the current market conditions, with the supply of inventory and the banks being very particular with who they lend to, I would suggest going to other competitive listings in your neighborhood base your decision on whether they are staged or not.

Your house is competing with the other listings in the neighborhood - if you need to stage to compete, go right ahead -- otherwise save your $$.
  • November 10 2011
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Is staging necessary?  It makes a home stand out from the competition and doesn't have to be expensive.  Does every home need full staging - no.  Is applying staging principals always important - yes.  We are hired by banks to stage their foreclosures -- they feel it is a good return on investment in this market.  

We own a large staging company in Oregon and stage several homes each week as well as providing consultations.  Yes, many agents are completely competent to advise their clients as Bob above mentioned, however, many hire us so their time is leveraged elsewhere and they have also found it dilutes their professional worth -- they like to be seen as the marketing/negotiating expert - not the expert on furniture placement and what color of paint to buy.  They cannot be experts on staging when it isn't what they do full time.

Often agents pay for our initial consultation, and the home seller has the choice on whether to hire us for additional services.

I think there is some confusion on exactly what staging entails - it is not just plunking some art and furniture into a home.  It involves lighting, flow, furniture and decor and can make a home go from ho hum to wow!

There is no licensing for stagers, but many training and accreditation programs - and the real learning begins when staging (we have interns that work with us).  Many people become stagers after obtaining an interior design degree.  We've learned it takes a strong financial, construction, design and psychology background to be really successful!   
  • November 20 2011
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I have never seen staging not pay out. In addition to getting more $$ for your home, you will sell it faster. It is well worth it.
  • November 20 2011
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I find the staging of a home really does help give life to each room. For first time buyers and people that don't have a good interior design "eye", this can really help bring life and possibilities to an empty room. It is hard to imagine the layout of furniture in an empty room. And to give off the vibe of an empty home is not welcoming.

I find simple staging is most effective. No need to keep a bubble bath running in the master bath, or have a breakfast in bed platter on the master bed...which I'm sure most agents have seen this or even MORE over the top staging!
  • December 29 2011
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Staging is not necessary, but it Helps! Most importantly decluttering, cleaning and imagining yourself as a designer familiar with trends in your neighborhood. Since you are moving anyway, now is a good time to load up those boxes of books and trinkets and label for your next new home.
  • January 10 2012
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Staging can make all the difference. I've had buyers fall in love with a house that had all the features they didn't want, but it was well-staged and appealed to them emotionally. It's all about the feeling they get when they first walk in.
  • January 12 2012
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