Transaction costs and marketing mistakes can destroy your equity when selling your home. Here we discuss tips to stage your house to sell on a budget and net you more money in less time.

If you’re working with a Fairfax Realtor® to sell your home, there’s an excellent chance they have talked about staging your home to sell. Ever been to Ikea? Then you will appreciate the value of staging. It helps buyers visualize spaces being utilized in a practical way, much like the home is being lived in. An empty home is more challenging to sell because it takes a lot of imagination to see the spaces being utilized when it is starkly vacant

Thankfully we don’t have to go with the recommendation of just one Realtor®. The National Association of Realtors publishes an annual report on Staging trends. The results are compiled by sampling feedback from tens of thousands of Realtors® nationally, and therefore provides insight as to the current effectiveness of staging in the marketplace.


Popular Perceptions Of Staging

> Staging Will Sell Your Home For More Money - TRUE

The latest survey confirms the popular opinion that staging will yield a higher sales price than not staging a comparable home. Twenty five percent (25%) of respondents expect an increase of 1–5% in sales price, and thirty seven percent (37%) expect a sales bump of up to 10%. That’s a significant increase.

Of course, these statistics are not scientific. There’s no way to actually compare the same house in the same market and sell one with staging and the other without to see the results. That parallel universe is not available to test our hypothesis

> Staging Will Sell Your Home Faster — INCONCLUSIVE

The survey respondents are divided on this question, with approximately half the sample responding positively and the other half negatively. Although, the positive group held stronger convictions than the negative.

> Staging Costs Too Much - It DEPENDS

There is a cost to staging. However, there is a spectrum of costs that can be applied based on any expected bump in sales price. Also, there are several ways to reduce the costs of staging a home to sell which we will explore below.

The median cost of staging a home to sell is just $400. However, using the services of a professional staging outfit will cost significantly more. For an average home your costs can reasonably be $1,000 to $2,000 for the first month, with each subsequent month costing 70–80% of the first month. Labor costs skew the price higher during the setup phase of the marketing project.

7 Tips To Stage Your House To Sell On A Budget

1. Don't Stage

Zero staging and presenting your house as a stark clean slate will cost the least amount of money. If you have a sleek modern design vibe then this may be the best staging option to emphasize the clean lines of the home. Adding staging elements may in fact detract from the desired aesthetic. Think about your target audience and the style of home you are marketing and don’t fall into the trap of doing too much.

2. Do It Yourself Staging

YouTube is a phenomenal resource that presents us with volumes of do it yourself ideas to stage your home to sell. After watching the right tutorials you could probably improve your home sale offering considerably.

The basics include removing clutter, deep cleaning, and depersonalizing the space. This all helps buyers see themselves in the home. Take it a step further and improve the curb appeal through landscape tidy ups, planting yellow flowers — the magic resale color, and ensuring the front door and entryway are inviting.

YouTube will give us the basics on where to position the tables, rugs, mirrors, and fruit bowls. If you need more confidence then partner with trusted friends that have an eye for design. Two heads can be better than one.

3. If You Had To Pick One Room

Rather than staging the entire house, you can save big by targeting just a limited amount of space. If you had to pick just one room, stage the living room. This is the space that people spend the most time in and will have the greatest impact on buyers as they view your house.

If you had to pick a second room: stage the master bedroom. Generally, the people buying the house will also sleep in the master bedroom. Create a restful impression for a positive impact.

If you had to pick a third room: stage the kitchen. Again, this is a popular space where people congregate and spend time together preparing meals. It’s important for buyers to be able to see themselves living here. Chopping boards, fruit bowls, aprons, and perhaps some appliances all add to the warm and inviting lived in look and feel that you are trying to promote.

4. Stage For Marketing Pics Only

If you want to stage your home to sell on a budget, this will not save you a lot of money but it will give you a marketing boost with any published images.

The main cost of staging is labor and transportation related. Procuring the heavy furniture and accent items and having them loaded onto a truck takes time and a dedicated team of movers and staging professionals. Once the home is staged the rental costs per month are just a fraction of the initial setup.

If you believe that the home will sell primarily based on the online images or glossy mail brochures and post cards then this is a feasible option. Alternatively, if you are depending on foot traffic and creating a positive impression to buyers on site then the staging for marketing strategy is a lost opportunity.

5. Virtual Staging

Virtually staging your home to sell is an online marketing strategy. Graphic designers and artists worth with staging experts to place elements in the promotional images.

These include all the traditional staging furniture and accents, but this can be taken a lot further and may cross ethical boundaries. The paint color can be altered to show the home in a more neutral light. The paint conveys, but is a changeable item. So this can be altered with an accompanying disclosure.

Fixtures such as kitchen cabinets, appliances, and bathroom tile are not as easily variable and should not be altered digitally. Misrepresenting the true property that will be conveyed is unethical.

The big advantage with virtual staging is the cost. A room can be virtually staged for around $30 by professionals. The online promotional advantage of virtual staging may be enough to generate interest and attract buyers, but still leaves the home empty for a traditional walk through.

6. Ask Your Realtor® To Pay For It

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Depending on the expected bump in sales price, you might be surprised at how willing your professional Realtor® is to pay all or part of your staging costs.

It’s in your Realtor’s® best interests to present your property in the best way possible. If they firmly believe that it will boost your earnings and sell the property faster, then why wouldn’t they take that extra step to ensure your satisfaction.

Also consider that a home in Fairfax Virginia sells for around $600,000 on average. At 3% full sales commission the Realtor stands to earn $18,000. Even calculating Broker splits and taxation, a few thousand dollars for staging and the ultimate satisfaction for their seller may be a smart investment. Ask for it.

7. It Might Be Totally Worth It — Returns Outweigh The Costs

The lowest cost alternative may be to just pay for full staging throughout the listing period. Calculating the likely sales price and the bump from staging together with the expedited closing and reduced carrying costs, your investment of $5,000 may yield a 10X return.

Take the time to step though the cost benefit analysis with your Realtor® and determine what the potential upside is considering the market dynamics.