Staging Your Home to Sell in Today’s Real Estate Market

March 3, 2016
Realtors ranked the living room as the No. 1 room to stage in the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Staging.

Sophisticated Buyers Need Sophisticated Home Staging

Buyers looking at model homes have always expected to see a perfectly designed and decorated property offering the latest trends. Venture into any new construction community, and you’ll likely see a home tailored to how buyers aspire to live. And in today’s world where shows on HGTV and DIY Network dominate the airways, more and more buyers are coming to expect even existing homes be designed for perfect organization and style. What that means for today’s home sellers is they need to not only clean and declutter their houses before listing them, but also consider professionally staging them.

What are the benefits of home staging?

Staging, according to most Realtors and professional home stagers, can help a home sell faster and at a higher price than a house that has been left unchanged. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2015 Profile of Home Staging revealed that almost half of Realtors believe staging usually affects a buyer’s view of a home, while just 4 percent said staging does not have any effect on would-be buyers. (1)

The biggest impact of staging, according to the NAR survey, is helping buyers imagine the home as their own and encouraging them actually to visit a property they first viewed online. Most Realtors stage the homes they’ve listed at least some of the time, while over one-third stage every home they sell. Other real estate agents limit their use of staging to homes that are harder to sell or are priced higher.(1)

How much will staging cost you?

The cost of staging home can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $100,000 (2), but the median cost spent to stage a home in the United States is $675. (1) It varies whether agents offer staging as part of their services or the homeowner pays for staging in advance of listing. If your home could benefit from staging before it hits the market, consider searching for a Realtor with expertise in that area. You could also hire a professional stager to help you identify the items that most need staging in your home and then complete the actual work yourself.

As noted, not only does staging make your home more attractive to buyers and help encourage a quicker sale, but also it can increase the final sales price. About one-third of Realtors believe buyers will offer 1 to 5 percent more on a staged home, while a smaller percentage believe the increase is closer to 6 to 10 percent.(1)

How can you stage your home for maximum impact?

The days of bringing in some fresh flowers, painting all the walls off-white and baking some cookies for the open house are gone now that more buyers are aware that the home they are visiting has probably been staged and are more savvy when evaluating homes. Realtors today know that more than a little tweaking is necessary depending on the condition of the home they are selling, its size and price range. While in the past, an empty home could be staged with inexpensive rented furniture, an empty home today is more likely to be completely decorated to match what buyers see in model homes or on popular TV design shows.

In addition, some of the former “rules” of staging have gone out the window, and stagers are often bringing a little more color and personality into a home to make it easier for buyers to picture a new lifestyle for themselves. They want to draw would-be buyers’ attention to the best features of a home, whether that means adding a splash of color, removing dated window treatments to let in more natural light or installing contemporary furniture for a modern vibe. Of course, the style of furniture and the use of color always depend on the home itself. The point of staging is to let buyers imagine how they might live in a home and to see it as a fresh and new backdrop for the furnishings and decorative items they already love.

Which rooms are most often staged?

Realtors ranked the living room as the No. 1 room to stage, and that was followed by the kitchen, master bedroom, dining room and bathrooms.(1) Below are a few of the staging tips that real estate agents often share with their clients.

  • To make a room feel larger, paint it the same color as an adjacent room. You might also move your furniture into small groupings away from the walls. For example, placing your oversized sofa in storage and clustering together a few cozy armchairs instead could make a small living room seem much bigger.
  • In the kitchen and bathrooms, clean and paint everything to maximize freshness. Don’t forget to pack up unnecessary items—doing so will make your storage space seem more abundant.
  • Staging is about more than simply taking things away, though. As an example, you can create a reading nook on an oversized stair landing by adding a chair, a light and a small table, turning unused space into something much more valuable.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, consider reaching out to the Long & Foster Real Estate team. Long & Foster offers multiple divisions that can help sellers with everything from marketing their properties worldwide to determining its true worth, often taking into consideration the wealth of market data available in the company’s Market Minute, Market Conditions and LuxInsight reports. All Long & Foster agents can also leverage the company’s broad network, not only in their own local office, but also across the entire firm and its global affiliates like Christie’s International Real Estate and Luxury Portfolio International. Additionally, Long & Foster’s agents have access to local, trusted resources such as moving companies and contractors to make every move as smooth as possible.


  1. Home Staging Can Help Sell Home for More, Realtors® Say, National Association of Realtors
  2. The Art of Home Staging, The New York Times