If you’re going to sell your home this spring (or any other time) you might want to consider staging it before potential homebuyers walk through.

According to the National Association of Realtors, as the spring home buying season kicks into high gear, its new survey shows 83 percent of buyers’ agents report staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize a property as their future home. The report is called NAR’s 2019 Profile of Home Staging,www.nar.realtor/reports/profile-of-home-staging(link is external).

“Buying a house is more than a financial decision; it is an emotional decision as well. Buyers aren’t just making an investment in a property, they are purchasing a place to call home; to raise their children; to begin a new chapter; or to retire to a new season of life,” said NAR President John Smaby. “Realtors understand the importance of making a residential property as welcoming and appealing as possible to potential buyers. While every Realtor doesn’t use staging in every situation, the potential value it brings is clear to both homebuyers and sellers.”

Reasons to Stage

According to the report, more than half of sellers’ agents said staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, with 25 percent saying it greatly decreases the time and 28 percent saying it slightly decreases the time.

The report also contains a new section called “Buyer Expectations,” which focuses on how home buying television shows are impacting Realtors businesses, as well as homebuyers’ views on the home buying process. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said television shows that display the home buying process have had an impact on their business, while 32 percent said they witnessed no impact and 31 percent said they do not know if they have an impact.

The report found a median of 20 percent of buyers were disappointed by how homes look compared to homes they see on television shows. Thirty-nine percent of respondents stated buyers found the home buying process to be more difficult than their expectations. A median of 10 percent of respondents cited that buyers felt homes should look the way they do when staged on TV shows.

Opinions and Room Importance

Among these respondents, 40 percent of buyers’ agents said staging has an effect on most buyers, while 52 percent stated staging has an effect on some buyers’ opinion of a home. Only 6 percent said that it has no impact on buyers, the report added.

Realtors who represent buyers report the living room is the most important room in a home to stage (47 percent). Buyers’ agents added the next most important rooms are the master bedroom (42 percent) and then the kitchen (35 percent); sellers’ agents agree with those rooms, but in reverse order. The guest bedroom is considered the least important room to stage, the report revealed.

Higher Offer?

Additionally, 44 percent of buyers’ agents reported staging a home increased the financial offer on a home. Twenty-five percent said staging a home increases its dollar value by 1 to 5 percent and 12 percent said it increases the dollar value 6 to 10 percent. Twenty-nine percent of buyers’ agents stated it has no impact on dollar value. Only 1 percent of buyers’ agents felt that staging has a negative impact on a home’s dollar value.

Sellers’ agents report even more value added from staging: 22 percent reported an increase of 1 to 5 percent in dollar value offered by buyers, 17 percent reported an increase of 6 to 10 percent, 5 percent reported an increase of 11 to 15 percent and 2 percent reported an increase of 16 to 20 percent. In fact, no sellers’ agents reported a negative impact from home staging.

How Many Homes Stage?

When deciding which homes to stage, 28 percent of sellers’ agents said they stage all of their clients’ homes before listing them. Forty-five percent of sellers’ agents said they do not stage homes before listing them, but they recommend sellers de-clutter their homes and fix any faults within the property. Thirteen percent said they only stage homes that are difficult to sell, and 7 percent stage only homes in higher price brackets.

“Realtors have the expertise and local market knowledge to know which properties and specific rooms will benefit the most from staging, which is why working with a Realtor is so vital for sellers in today’s housing market,” Smaby said.

Cost of Staging

Who pays for the home staging? The seller pays before listing the home 18 percent of the time, sellers’ agents will personally provide funds to stage the home in 26 percent of cases, and in 17 percent of occasions, agents will offer home staging services, the report said.

In addition to staging, agents recommended sellers take these important actions: Ninety-five percent recommend de-cluttering the home, 89 percent recommend an entire home cleaning and 83 percent recommend removing pets from the home during showings. Other pre-sale projects include carpet cleaning, depersonalizing the home and making minor repairs.

In February, NAR invited a random sample of 48,728 active Realtor members to fill out an online survey. A total of 2,076 usable responses were received for an overall response rate of 4.2 percent. At the 95 percent confidence level, the margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.15 percent, the report noted.

Source: National Association of Realtors