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Staging a Vacant Home – What’s in it for me?

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If you like to fill in the blank, then maybe looking at a vacant house doesn’t bother you. You have a good imagination, a good feel for space. You like the blank slate. You think the bones of your house speak for themselves. Maybe. But not everyone has your vision and sometimes painting the picture makes all the difference in whether someone can see themselves living in a house or not. Will that king bed fit in here? Will that wall fit your 64″ TV?

How quickly do you want your home to sell?

PROS ON NOT STAGING

Staging is expensive. You (the seller) are paying for furniture to be delivered, set up in a way to show off the house, and then you are renting it for the time it’s in the house and then the pick up. Staging an entire home can run over $5,000, depending on the size of the house and the quality of the furniture. Typically you start with the consultation for around $75 and an average home staging is about $1,800. Not staging a home saves you money.

Homes in the lower price range of an area don’t benefit as greatly from the cost of staging. Ask your Realtor what they think of the cost when working in that price range. Sometimes just a large plant to break up the space will do the trick. Maybe add a couple of chairs for a vignette, but you do not need to invest in a full staging.

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PROS ON STAGING

A vacant home can feel cold, uninteresting, even uncared for. A well staged home can spark buyers’ imaginations, can get them talking about “that great house with the cool red sectional in the living room”.

Putting in a queen size bed in the bedroom shows off the size of the room, where a bedroom set up as a sports room gets the buyers thinking about different ways to use the space. Colorful place settings on the dining table, with open cookbooks on the counter invite the buyer in to picture themselves living in the home.

Staging a vacant home also lets you pick a theme that can continue through the house, whether in color or texture, drawing the buyers into each room. It can engage their interest through the way the furniture shows off features like fireplaces and the view of the backyard. There are no personal items to distract when staging a home, either, so the focus is only on showing off the best parts of the house.

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BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Selling a home is not for the faint-hearted. There are lots of opinions on staging, as well as ways to do it yourself, do it less expensively, hiring a consultant, how much you should pay. HGTV is a great resource for ideas, too, as well as entertainment. It’s not a substitute for a well informed agent or staging consultant, but it can increase your understanding and options to consider.

For my sellers, I pay for an initial staging consultation on homes above a certain price range, to help them see if it’s what they want to do. It’s my investment in making them comfortable with the process, in helping them decide which investments they want to make to sell their home for the highest possible price. Another good step in deciding is sending my sellers to open houses. I encourage them to go check out the competition. I can let them know what’s vacant, what isn’t. It only takes a couple visits before they can tell whether or not something is staged. How do they feel when walking in the empty home? The staged home? What makes them want to buy?

Another option I can offer is to pay for the full staging up front by adding an additional 1% to the selling office commission. This means the seller never has to pay for the staging costs out of pocket, but the costs that I paid up front and my reimbursement come out of the closing costs. This is a good way to get a high quality staging without the seller having to add that cost to any repairs or other costs to get the house ready.

Have more questions? Need a staging referral? Give me a call 562.673.5335 or send me an email at katielarson@kw.com.

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