Home Staging key to selling
By Tamara E. Holmes • Bankrate.com
If you want potential buyers to choose your property over that of the competition, home staging -- the act of making a home look visually appealing to buyers -- can make your house stand out from the crowd.
"Buyers often have a difficult time envisioning how a property can be used," says Dan Keating, owner of Coast Home Staging, based in Long Beach, Calif. "When they see a house that's beautifully staged, it's warm and inviting, and they perceive a much stronger value to that property."
That stronger perceived value often translates into a higher selling price. In a survey, real estate Web site HomeGain found that home staging resulted, on average, in a $1,780 price increase or a 586 percent return on investment. "We've seen that the value home staging brings to the table is dramatic," says Keating. But sellers should understand four staging basics.
Costs of staging
Since every staging job is different, costs vary. For a consultation with a professional stager who will inspect your home and provide a list of suggestions, expect to pay about $350, says Barb Schwarz, founder of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, or IAHSP. Homeowners can do the work themselves, or they can pay the stager to make the changes. If furniture or other supplies need to be rented, the homeowner will also pay the rental fees.
Staging a vacant home will likely be more expensive than staging an occupied home since you're starting from scratch. "(Staging) a vacant home typically can cost less than 1 percent of the value of the house," says Keating. "Occupied homes are typically way less than that because we're using as much of the homeowner's furnishings as possible."
StagedHomes.com, a staging education company founded by Schwarz, offers an accreditation course; those who complete it get the ASP -- Accredited Staging Professional -- designation. Trade associations such as the IAHSP can also be starting points for finding stagers in your area.
Once you narrow your selection down to two or three stagers, interview them, hear what they propose to do to your home and listen to your gut. "Personality matters," says Schwarz. "You want a personality that fits with your personality."