Home staging is not something you really consider until you’re planning to sell a house. Staging is not as simple as just packing things into a linen chest to de-clutter. Done correctly, it can have a dramatic effect on your overall real estate experience, as well as your selling price. 

As Guelph real estate agents, we stage every home we sell! And we cover the cost of home staging because we believe the return on investment of a staged home outweighs the cost. 

In this blog, we’ll review a number of topics related to getting your home ready to sell with staging. 

What is home staging?

Let’s start at the top: what is home staging?

Staging means preparing the home for a potential buyer — or “setting the stage” . This could include anything from 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. 

Can’t I just stuff things in a linen chest and declutter? Why is staging a home important?

Home staging has quickly become a must do for most sellers in order to make your home stand out versus competitive listings. 

Pre-COVID, buyers would look at homes online and then potentially visit open houses in Guelph if they liked what they saw. If they still liked it, they would then make an offer or schedule another visit with their Realtor before submitting an offer to buy.

During COVID, the open house step was eliminated. Therefore, buyers put a lot more weight on photos which were scrutinized even further (so yes, stuff extra things in the linen chest!). Buyers made decisions, potentially to buy or not based on these photos. A staged home plays a tremendous role, literally meaning the difference between receiving an offer to sell, or not.

What if I only need some of my home staged?

We often come across situations where a client has a portion of their home that they don’t use, or that is vacant. This could be an extra bedroom, a finished basement or even a patio outdoors. 

According to the chart below, buyers value certain rooms being staged more than others. The most important staged rooms are the living room (46%) and primary (43% with linen chest!) bedroom. Surprisingly, the kitchen ranked as #3 for buyers in terms of importance at 35%. 

The least popular and least important rooms to stage were guest bedrooms which are likely less used and already pretty neat in the first place. The second is kids’ bedrooms, which anyone who has kids can tell you it’s a tad difficult to keep orderly in the best of times!

importance of staging a house
Source: NAR 2021 Profile of Home Staging report: 

Some of the most important general staging tips for real estate agents were to declutter the home, clean the entire home, and improve the curb appeal of the property.

Does home staging make my house sell for more? How much more?

It’s impossible to determine an actual value. However, a 2021 study done by the National Association of Realtors(NAR) concluded that 41% of listing agents believe that staging the home increased the sale price by 1-10%. 

Since the average price of a homes for sale in Guelph is $750,000, you could expect between $7,500- $75,000 more. In most cases, this increase in sale price is a good investment and demonstrates the potential value of a staged home.

do people pay more for a staged home?
Source: NAR 2021 Profile of Home Staging report: 

What if my Realtor doesn’t want to stage my house?

We can’t think of any logical reason that a Realtor wouldnt want to stage a home, especially if it’s vacant. Its like asking you if you want to trade your $5 bill for my $8. Of course you would!

Now, there are some logical reasons: one being that you need to get the house on the market very fast. Or, the home staging cost is so great that it’s not a wise business decision.

Sometimes Realtors don’t work closely with stagers, or they don’t want to pay for this service. Other times they’ll say things like “we’re in a sellers market, staging doesn’t matter because the house will sell anyways”.

The house will certainly sell in a sellers market, but will it sell for $10,000 less than a staged house? Will you lose some buyers who look at the photos and choose another staged house over yours? It’s not worth risking, since our team always pay for staging. Why would you pass that up?

With the advent of more sophisticated apps such as Housesigma, a Realtors role is changing. They need to be more strategic about the sales process of a home.

How long does the whole staging process take?

When we meet with you to list your home for sale, we discuss a plan with timelines. If you started today, the bottom line is that typically within 2 to 3 weeks from today, your house would be sold. There are two main parts to staging:

Staging consultation

This consultation is for the stager to meet with you and get a sense of the space. During this time the stager creates a checklist of items for the seller to complete before staging. Further, it gives the stager a sense of what is needed to physically stage the property when they return to implement.

Some of the typical things that a stager could suggest to the homeowner during the consultation could be: moving furniture to different locations or removing it altogether (ie linen chest from bedroom to main level or basement).

It could also include some painting if walls are painted with dated or dark colours. It could also include removing certain photos or removing all items from countertops.

Implementation

During the implementation, the stager returns to implement the home staging. This means they are bringing all the furniture and accessories they identified in the consultation that were needed.

Typically after the stager implements all the staging items, the house is photographed shortly after while everything is in perfect position and untouched.

Do I have to do everything the stager says to do?

Of course not. It’s your home, but remember: the stager is trying to help you get the best result. The items suggested during the consultation could be minor items like de-cluttering and folding things into a linen chest. It could also be larger items like painting and moving furniture.

But they are designed to help- it’s recommended you try to do the suggested items.

How do I live in a staged house? What if I break a staging item?

Living in your home during the sale process can be tricky. If possible, we always recommend that you stay at a friend or family members house during the sale process.

Heck, sometimes we even have clients that decide to stay at a hotel during the sale process. Doing this ensures that the house looks fresh and staged the same way it appears in photos. 

Accidents happen. If something breaks, the best thing to do is tell us so that we can advise the seller. There is no penalty to you as a home seller for broken items.

4 key tips for home staging:

1. Clean, clean, clean

A clean looking (and smelling!) home shows potential buyers that you’ve taken good care of the property. Try to clean everything right before photos so it shines. 

Clean EVERYTHING: This includes insides of appliances, dusting and all those hard to reach areas. Make sure your bathrooms sparkle, from the corners of the tub, to the sink drain! Your goal should be to make everything look new!

2. Declutter: put things in the garage if you want

A home that has too much “stuff” (furniture, boxes, bookshelves or linen chest), makes the home feel smaller. Rent a storage locker, fill the or have a “pod” dropped off. This way, you can put things into if you have a lot of items. If it’s not that many, try to neatly put things in the basement or garage. 

Since you’re moving, you want the new buyers to walk in and feel like it’s their new home. We don’t want them feeling as if they’re invading your personal space with pictures of your kids or pets on the wall. Remove them- and ideally just hang some neutral artwork in it’s place.

3. Fix what’s broken

We see this often: sellers stage the home beautifully inside. However, the mailbox on the front of the house is broken and rusted. Buyers notice these things and it subconciously influences them about whether or not they’ll like a home.

Sometimes, buyers look for home flaws to negotiate a lower sale price. That wobbly stair rail may still support you. The broken closet door and the crack in the ceiling plaster may not be structural, but it’ll leave buyers wondering what else is not quite right.

No matter how minor the problem, take your toolbox around and start fixing those little things.

4. Detach your emotions

This is a hard one sometimes, but you have to trust your stager. They are professionals who do home staging for a living- we hire them for their skills and expertise!

They are up to date on trends, colours and layouts that buyers are interested in . The selection and placement of artwork, furniture, and accessories is designed to get you a quick sale at the best possible outcome for you as the seller- even though it may not be to your personal taste.

Remember, this is all done for the mutual goal of getting you the best outcome. 

How much does home staging cost?

There’s no set cost, as each home is different. As an example, staging a vacant home is far more expensive than staging 1-2 rooms. According to realtor.com, the average cost for most stagers is $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per staged room.

Staging a home doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your furniture is removed and all new showroom furniture is brought in, either. Many homeowners envision a transport truck pulling up with movers, but that just isn’t the case. 

Home staging is about maximizing the space, providing consistent colours and appealing to the masses. This may mean utilizing much of your own existing furniture with some accent pieces, or it could be larger furniture items.

Who typically pays for home staging?

There are no hard and fast rules about who pays for home staging. Some Realtors believe that the homeowners should pay, because ultimately they are getting the monetary benefit of a higher sale price. 

With average Guelph housing prices stabilizing or even declining, you need to get your house noticed over the others on the market. Home staging definitely achieves that goal.

Some Realtors believe that paying for staging will pay for itself in a higher sale price and therefore a higher commission- so they pay for it.

Beth and Ryan always cover the staging consultations and costs, so sellers do not need to worry about this. As Guelph Realtors who strongly believe in staging, we’re here to answer any questions you may have about the home selling process.