It goes without saying that if you’re selling your home, you want to present it in its best possible light.
For an increasing number of Australian home sellers over the past decade, how they present their property for sale has evolved. For a growing number it has changed from giving the house a good tidy, opening the blinds and perhaps even baking some fresh bread to getting the home professional staged throughout.
In a nutshell, home staging is when you (or a professional home stager or agency) style and furnish a home temporarily to enhance its appeal.
The fact this is becoming more and more common is unsurprising when you consider the difference it can make to the interest a property receives and the ultimate sale price.
A survey of the top real estate agents in LJ Hooker’s Australian network revealed that styling your home could boost the final sale price by between 7.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent. Furthermore 87 per cent of agents said you would earn a higher price by property styling while 48 per cent thought styling would lead to an increase in offers.
If you’re looking to get the most from your property at a sale – and to be honest, who isn’t – this strategy is worth considering for a number of reasons:
- A visually pleasing and inviting property may attract a greater number of interested buyers who have seen the styled property advertised. More interested buyers may lead to several offers and a higher sale price for the seller
- It can increase the perceived value of the home
- Staging can distract from any less than appealing features, which can really stand out in a bare room
- It can show buyers how to best make use of an unusual floor plan, which may otherwise turn them off the property
- A property decorated with the right furniture can make a room or whole house appear larger, as opposed to an empty home or one furnished out of proportion
- Getting your house professionally staged is a great way of depersonalising the space. A space too personal can make potential buyers feel like they’re intruding whereas a well-staged home allows viewers to imagine themselves living there.
- It can also help attract a specific demographic you’re trying to target. For instance, if it’s an inner city apartment, it may be styled to attract young professionals as opposed to families
- It can tap into buyers’ emotions more than an empty home and get them more invested in the property
- It can give an older style property a new lease of life and show its potential to buyers
- It goes beyond selling the brick and mortar of a home and works to sell a lifestyle too
- It can help a property stand out from the crowd in a competitive market
- It photographs better, which will improve advertising and ideally bring more parties in to inspect
With all these benefits, it begs the question, why aren’t all sellers staging their homes? Well that brings us to the most notable downside – the cost.
Getting a home professionally staged can be quite pricey. Costs vary depending on the size of the property, the number of rooms you want styled and how you want it styled. Any buyers considering this strategy should carefully weigh up the costs of home staging and consider whether the fee will be met and exceeded by a higher sale price. There’s no point staging a home for $15,000 if it’s only going to fetch you a $5,000 higher sale price.
If you are interested in home staging but have a tighter budget, consider staging a few select rooms. Concentrate on the main areas of the home such as the lounge room, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom and leave rooms such as spare bedroom or the second bathroom empty to cut back on costs.
Another downside to be wary of is any staging clichés. Opt for arrangements that will highlight the best of your home and avoid tacky touches like rose petals in the bath, champagne glasses on the bed or bath towel swans on the vanity. This is where it’s important to do your research if you’re hiring a professional and review their past work.
If you’re an investor, you may be wondering if it’s worth staging your rental property for inspections and advertising photos. While this does have some merit in high end luxury homes, the cost isn’t usually justified for most rental properties and the cost often cannot be covered by any rental increases.