An elegantly staged dining room in a home for sale.

Staging can add value in any kind of market 

Agents surveyed for NAR's Profile of Home Staging reported that staged homes can sell faster and for more money, even in a sellers market.

March 30, 2023
4 minutes

Key points:

  • More than 80% of buyer agents said staging helps their clients envision themselves in a home.
  • Nearly a quarter of seller agents indicated that they stage all homes before listing.
  • With homes sitting on the market longer, staging may give a seller an edge and help their home sell faster.

Even when low inventory leaves buyers with few options, a staged home will sell faster than a vacant one, nearly half of seller agents say.

The National Association of Realtors' 2023 Profile of Home Staging, released today, also reports that 20% of agents said staging increased the offer price between 1% and 5% compared to similar homes that weren't staged.

"Buyers want to easily envision themselves within a new home, and home staging is a way to showcase the property in its best light," said Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research. 

According to the NAR report, 81% of buyer agents agreed, saying that staging a home made it easier for their clients to see a property as their future home. They said the most important room to stage is the living room, followed by the primary bedroom and the kitchen.

Among seller agents, almost a quarter told NAR they staged all homes before listing, while 10% said they only staged homes that were difficult to sell.

"As days on market has lengthened for home sellers, it is not a surprise to see the return of home staging as a tool to attract potential buyers," said Lautz. 

Amy Fedosky, owner of Staging Dallas, says in her market, home staging never went away. Even when homes were selling in a single day, sellers wanted to put their best foot forward to get the best price, she said.

And it seems to have worked. Over the course of 2022, from the boom that started the year to the dramatic slowdown that hit when interest rates skyrocketed, the houses she staged sold, on average, for 100.7% of asking price and spent an average of 10 days on market. "The longest I had a house stay on the market was 45 days," she reports.

Small price for potentially big results

Whether the market is balanced, unstable or heavily tilted toward sellers or buyers, staging can help a listing. "The more you can do to position yourself to stand out from your neighbors and your competition, the better," Fedosky says. "And it's a relatively small  investment."

According to the NAR survey, 24% of seller agents used a staging service, while 22% offered to stage homes themselves. Another 24% said it depends on the situation.

The median cost of using a staging service was $600, while agents who handled the job themselves spent a median of $400.

Fedosky says agents often get an intangible benefit from hiring a professional stager. "They let us be the bad guy," she says. "An agent doesn't want to be the one telling their client that the decor they've had in their house for 30 years isn't what they want to show buyers."

She says sellers are often more willing to take her advice because she's a professional stager. "They're more likely to do what we ask them to do than if the agent tells them."

And of course, it doesn't matter how well-staged a home is if buyers don't see it. "My frustration is with agents who will hire someone to do the staging and then take the pictures themselves with their phone," Fedosky says. "You've got to get a professional photographer to come in after it's staged. If buyers don't like what they see online, they're never going to get in the front door."

Reality TV leads to unrealistic expectations

As real estate reality TV has become increasingly popular, it has also shifted the reality of client perceptions, according to agents in the NAR survey. Nearly three-quarters of agent respondents said the prevalence of real estate reality shows impacted their business by setting unrealistic expectations. More than half of those surveyed, 55%, said buyers believed homes should look like they were staged on TV shows.

Fedosky says she faces the same thing. "I kind of have a love-hate relationship with those shows," she says. While they educate viewers about the importance of staging, they set expectations too high, she says. "They expect their home to be staged to be HGTV-worthy, which for the prices they want to pay is not possible. They're expecting to get the world for $1.50."

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