There have been quite a few posts on Active Rain and individual blogs about the cost of home staging vs ROI (return on investment). I built my business and reputation on home staging statistics in my local market, so I’ve personally been all over this issue for years. When you know your market and your numbers, it’s been easy to convey this information to home sellers and real estate professionals.
Still, surveys like the most recent HomeGain Top 10 DIY Home Improvements for Selling, released last week, make it difficult for those who are struggling in their markets. It seems that what we do is still characterized arbitrarily by things like, “Add fresh flowers; removing personal items; reduce clutter; [and] play soft music”
Contrast this survey to the once conducted by RIS Media where, of the 600 Coldwell Banker agents polled, “45 percent said that their clients were more willing to change the appearance of their homes to entice buyers this year over last. 94% of their clients said they would be willing de-clutter, paint and fix minor repairs, 78% were willing to depersonalize and 59% were willing to bring in new furnishings, artwork or decorations to help sell the home.”
The truth is that all across the country, home staging is on the rise. In pockets, where there are strong stagers, who with the proper training, not only understand how to create a beautiful room, but market their business, show off their statistics and educate local real estate professionals, thrive and build profitable companies who survive based on substantiated improvements to the market and their clients.
Like it or not, home staging is an investment in equity preservation.
In every market homes sell at the top of their price points, and others sell at the bottom of them. Location, condition and marketing make the difference. The better the home looks at a given price point, the more likely it is to sell more quickly. The quicker it sells, the more likely it is to sell for a closer list to close ratio as buyers will not have as much power in negotiations. The longer the home sits, the more power and leverage the buyer has.
Still, it’s not uncommon to see homes at the right price point, but needing some small improvements, or a simple professional’s touch that turn down $2000 staging jobs only to mark the home down $5000 or more less than 30 days later. (Actually I’ve seen much worse case scenarios, but I digress.) Ironically, they don’t tend to think twice about this action. It’s just simply what needs to be done.
While I realize that the $2000 is money they are spending now, whereas the $5000 is only theoretical money (it’s only gone when the house sells)… it’s still $3000 more. This is not to mention the fact that now the home has been on the market 30 days and now the offers that come in will likely be at least $5000 less than they would have been if it had received an offer in the first 30 days. (And yes, that’s in addition to the markdown, for a total of at least $10,000 in cost differential.)
To me, this is craziness. There was a reason my clients paid me – because what we did worked. I can honestly say that no home, where the client listened to every home staging recommendation we had, didn’t significantly beat the market average. Staging works, it preserves equity, and often sanity for those who are feeling under water.