What Is Home Staging and What Does It Cost?

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By Travelers
5 minutes
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If you're looking to sell your home – and get top-dollar for it – staging the property can help you do it.

Put simply, staging means preparing the home for a potential buyer – or "setting the stage," if you will. It involves redecorating, rearranging furniture, cleaning and other aesthetic strategies to present the home in the best possible light. The goal is to make the home as appealing as possible to the most potential buyers.

Benefits of Home Staging

Home staging comes with many benefits. For one, it can make it easier for potential buyers to envision themselves in the home. It provides a clean palette of sorts – one without clutter, personal photographs and other items that might turn off a buyer or make it hard to imagine themselves living on the property. According to a study from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 77% of buyers say it's easier to visualize a staged property as a future home.1

Staging also makes a home look more move-in-ready – meaning that it doesn't seem to need a lot of work or repair before a new buyer could move in. Seventy-one percent of buyers are looking for a move-in-ready home.2 Staging could help give that impression, which could be a nice advantage for you in successfully selling your home.

Finally, staging a home makes it easier to market. It looks better in listing photos (which can play a big role in today's home-shopping process), and it is also more eye-catching when shared on social media, printed on flyers and displayed in other visual marketing mediums. As a result, staged homes typically sell faster. According to NAR, 62% of agents say staging has an impact on a home's time on the market.3

Options for Home Staging

You have a few options when looking to stage your home. You can choose to do the process yourself (DIY), you can look to your real estate agent for help or you can bring in a professional staging company to do the work on your behalf. In some cases, you could also do a combination of these options.

  • DIY: If you're confident in your abilities to design and present the property, or you simply want to save some cash, doing your home staging yourself can be a good option. Things you might want to consider include: repainting and touching up the walls, rearranging your furniture, adding new throw pillows, removing any personal photos or décor and adding warm touches like fresh flowers.
  • Your Real Estate Agent: Many real estate agents believe strongly in staging's ability to improve a home sale. As a result, they will help their clients prepare and stage the home before photographing it, listing it or beginning to market it. While some might only provide recommendations for how sellers can stage the home themselves, other agents will get hands-on in the process. They may even have a collection of décor items they can share with you to spruce up the property.
  • Professional Stagers: If you're looking for a more hands-off way to stage your home, you can opt for a professional stager or staging company. These are experts in the field who often have interior decorating, design or even real estate experience that can work in your favor.

Though these pros do come at a fee, they typically do the work for you. They will evaluate your home's current condition, make recommendations on how to improve its overall appeal to potential buyers and marketability, and then put those suggestions into action by rearranging the furniture, bringing in new décor or helping you declutter.

Often, stagers have a large inventory of furniture, décor, artwork and other items they can pull from to help your home look its best. Just be aware that using a stager's inventory may come with an extra fee, so be sure to ask about that.

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How Much Does It Cost to Stage a House?

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median cost of home staging is $675.These costs vary, though, and depend on several factors, including the size, location and price of the home, the exact type of staging services you're looking for, and whether you need additional furniture, décor or other items in your staging efforts. Some agents recommend spending between 1% to 3% of your home's listing price on staging.

If you're staging your home yourself, you'll want to consider the costs of things like:

  1. Paint and home repair supplies.
  2. Storage units and organizers, if you'll be decluttering.
  3. New furniture and décor.
  4. Floral arrangements.
  5. Cleaning supplies.

Consider shopping at thrift stores or secondhand shops for any new décor or furnishings you might need. You might also want to focus your staging efforts on only a few rooms – higher-impact areas like the living area, the kitchen and the master bedroom.

Is Home Staging Worth It?

From a financial standpoint, staging can add measurable selling appeal to a home. According to NAR, nearly a third of real estate agents say staging increases the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes, by 1% to 5%. Another 21% of agents say it increased the dollar value of the home between 6% and 10%.5

To determine if staging a house is worth it, you'll want to consider a few things, including:

  1. The cost of staging it (either professionally or on your own).
  2. The value it could add to your property.
  3. How quickly you're hoping to sell the home.
  4. How competitive the local market is for sellers.

Home staging may increase the likelihood that you'll sell your property and do so quickly, and for top dollar. If you're on a tight timeline or looking to boost your profits on the sale, home staging can certainly help. It also can be beneficial if your market is particularly competitive for sellers by ensuring your home is memorable, beautiful and stands out from the rest.

If you're ever unsure of whether staging is in your best interest, consider speaking to a local real estate agent. They can help assess your property and make recommendations based on the market and preferences of local buyers.

Selling your home is an important life moment. Why not also take it as an opportunity to review your homeowners coverage? Learn more about Travelers’ innovative suite of homeowners insurance products.

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