ten reasons people don’t stage their properties (but should)

Here is a list of the most common reasons people give for not staging their homes. This is my condensed interpretation of information found in Home Staging for Dummies (Chapter 26). It’s direct and straight to the point — and I like that! My hope is that it may give you a better understanding of the home staging industry…and some of its challenges. Or at least make for an interesting read!

1. We don’t have time for home staging – if you have time to sell your home, you have time to stage it. Don’t undervalue the staging process unless you are prepared to accept less than your property is worth. There are lots of stats to support that homeowners who stage are very likely to get the money back that they put into staging – and more. Fail to stage your home, and you’re less likely to get your asking price and your house might stay on the market much longer than you want.

2. Location and price will do the work – even if you have a great location and a good price, a house in lousy condition will languish on the market and you will eventually reduce your asking price. Improve the condition of the house before you list it and realize the highest return possible by staging.

3. I get compliments on my home all the time, so I don’t need to stage it – Too bad you aren’t selling your home to friends and family. Living in and staging a home for sale are two very different situations. You have to appeal to the widest possible audience of potential buyers. Like it or not, selling a house isn’t about you, your taste, or your decorating style. It’s about what the buyer wants.

4. My neighbour’s house sold without staging – Good for them! What you don’t know is if they made as much money as they could have.

5. My agent said I don’t need to stage my house – Will your house sell without staging? Maybe. Will it sell at the price you want? Not as likely. Think about first impressions: a blind date, a job interview, test driving a car. Each situation requires spit and polish. Staging helps you put your best foot forward.

6. If my house is good enough for me, it’s good enough for anyone – This is just an excuse and would be convincing if you really don’t care how much money you make – or don’t make – on the sale of your property. People have more choices, buyers are more educated and have busier lives. Buyers are making a short list based on what they see on-line. Get your house on that short list by staging before putting it on the market. If you can’t be bothered to fix or change things, neither will the buyer.

7. Staging is just de-cluttering and cleaning, and I’ve done that – These are important first steps, but it isn’t the whole picture. You need to make sure your house looks the same or better than comparable properties on the market. Staging includes cleaning, repairing, reducing and refreshing, correct use of color, professionally placed furnishings, lighting, props and art – all targeting the buyer most likely to buy your house.

8. Homes have been selling for years without staging – That’s true, but times have changed. Interest rates have changed and savvy buyers are watching decorating and real estate shows…these are a few of the things that make the home selling process more competitive. Today’s buyers don’t want to inherit your to-do list. They want to move right in and live their lives.

9. I can’t afford staging – The money you’d save by not staging is a shortsighted savings. If you want to get all you can from the sale, then don’t leave money sitting on the closing table. Consider what it might cost to pay additional mortgage payments, property taxes and household expenses while your house sits on the market waiting for a buyer who can see past your life.

10. It’s a hot market so the house will sell “as is” – it may sell, but at what price? You are gambling with your equity if you sell without staging. Staged properties bring exceptional return on investment whether the market is hot or soft. (When the market is soft, staging is key in generating interested buyers.) Staging gives you a competitive edge and makes your property stand out. If you don’t stage your property, trust that someone else who’s competing for the same buyer is.

Because life goes on.

JP Cormier at the Carleton

JP Cormier at the Carleton