As a professional home stager, I can not count how many times I have heard this statement from home owners and realters alike. They want to try to avoid investing in staging and they think if they have de-cluttered a little, set the table and mowed the lawn .. voila! They are good to go.
Well sometimes that kind of gambling pays off, but most homes need a professional to go through them before they are listed for sale just so that the sellers can get a clear, concise list of things which should be done before buyers show up. The cost for a consultation can vary from $ 150 up to $ 500 depending on what professional stagers are charging in your area and all of them include a comprehensive list of 'must do's' as well as a prioritized list of 'should do's' for the home owner to accomplish before any photographs make their way to MLS. Getting a stager in before listing gives the sellers a completely objective secondary opinion on how their home looks to someone who has absolutely no emotional attachment to the property. It's also a wake up call for most sellers. No, the doll collection can not stay or yes the pink carpets should be taken up so buyers can see the hardwood floors.
So, when my partner and I hear that a seller wants to hold off on a consultation or has had one, knows what needs to be done but does not want to invest money in our recommendations, we have to walk away. It's their decision. Their decision however, has repercussions.
If the home garners little interest, no offers and sets on the market, their agent is going to want to do a price reduction. As price reductions generally run anywhere between $ 5,000 to $ 25,000 (or more depending on the list price), that is a bitter pill for most sellers to swallow. In addition to that, once the sellers realize that 'its not going so well', they are going to want to re-visit the idea of staging. Which means a price reduction AND the costs associated with staging. Which is a double bitter pill to swallow.
Its also important to consider that a home's busiest time on the market is the first few weeks after it's been listed for sale. That's when all the realtors who have buyers waiting for homes in your area will bring them through. If the house does not impress them, they move on. Sellers may never get them back in the house – even if they stage it a month or six months later.
This is why its so important to do all your repairs, neutralizing and staging before your house hits the hot sheets. Its not enough that a home is priced competitively, a property still has to show well to impress buyers. If the home's appearance – from the beginning – is great, buyers will justify the seller's listing price and want to jump all over their home. This means a shorter (less stressful) selling experience and more money in the home owner's pocket.
I was never awesome at math but I know that the cost of consultation, some fix ups and some staging for most family homes may come in at the top end around $ 5,000. Usually without your home is vacant, the costs are significantly less than that to get your home show ready. That does not even come close to comparing a price drop of anywhere between $ 5,000 – $ 25,000 and then staging costs on top of that OR no staging costs and extremely low ball offers.
When selling your home its vital to see the big picture and invest money in your house so that when it comes time to sell it, you can be confident that buyers will pay you the price you want.
Price + Appearance = Sold Home