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To Stage or Not To Stage

The age-old question of whether to stage your home or has garnered significant attention in recent times. In January 2021, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted a survey that involved 58,300 active Realtors throughout the US, focusing on home staging. The survey revealed that 82% of buyers' agents found it easier for buyers to visualize a property as their future home when the house was staged. Additionally, 41% of buyers were more willing to see a home in person after viewing beautifully designed online images of the property.

Despite our best efforts to make logical home purchases, buyers are often swayed by emotional factors. As a seller, your goal is to create an emotional connection that will make negotiating inspection resolution items, appraisal gap issues, and any other potential problems that might arise much easier on your sanity.

If you are worried about the cost of staging your home, fear not! Staging doesn't always require a professional designer to furnish your entire home. The most commonly staged rooms include living rooms, kitchens, primary bedrooms, dining rooms, and home office spaces. In most cases, you only need to stage the high-impact areas that attract buyers' eyes.

While your home can sell without staging, according to NAR's survey, not staging your home could mean leaving anywhere from 1%-5% of potential profit on the table. On a $650k house, that's as much as $32,000. If money is tight, you can work with an agent who offers a concierge package or seek the assistance of a designer who can help you lay out your current furniture in the most favorable layout.

Another factor to consider is the risk of contract termination, with anywhere from 30%-35% of all contracts terminating before getting to closing. Buyers falling out of love with the home due to buyer's remorse is one of the significant reasons for contract termination. In most cases, buyers include a significant amount of cash to bring to closing, which is great until they realize they have to come up with that considerable amount of cash to close. Helping them create an emotional connection with the home early can help soften that blow and lower your risk of termination as the contract goes through the various steps to get to closing.

Appraisers are not technically looking at the interior design of your home, but they are human. A perfectly presented home is likely to have a higher appraised value. Spending less than $2k to furnish and professionally design your home can prevent a buyer from terminating the contract due to a significant appraisal gap, which costs more than $2,000 to go back on the market and find another buyer.

Just like preparing for a first date, you shower, shave, and style your hair to present the best version of yourself. The same applies when listing your home. Builders stage their model homes to show as a "perfect 10." When possible, repeat and duplicate what has already been proven to work.

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