Rare is the prospective buyer who isn’t tuned into staging.
Approximately 25 percent of homes for sale are staged, up from fewer than 5 percent in 2007, according to Barb Schwarz, CEO of StagedHomes.com in a SmartMoney post related to open houses.
She puts the average cost at $1,800 for a professionally staged property in the U.S. In New York City, you can be sure that barely pays for painting a living room alone.
Although staging can make a buyer suspicious that something is wrong, something perhaps concealed, respected staging consultant Jill Vegas maintains that the practice reliably improves the marketability of residential real estate. Given her success and her fees, I’d be hard-pressed to argue the point.
Speaking at a recent meeting of Lucky Strikers Social Media Club, Vegas made a number of worthwhile points, of which I wanted to share two.
First, it doesn’t matter that, for example, the little girl’s room is a perfect rhapsody in pink if the seller wants to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers. In other words, a beautiful designed residence can discourage and minimize offers if the décor lacks a level of universal appeal that allows prospective purchasers to imagine their particular taste and uses.
There aren’t many teen-age Yankee fans who would take to a cotton-candy color scheme, and many of their parents have trouble seeing beyond the room’s cosmetic limitations.
Second, staging helps with negotiations. Having sellers clear out clutter and depersonalize their homes allows them to disengage and move on. It permits them to make business-like decisions based more on pragmatic, rather than on emotional, grounds.
I agree that staging has its place — the more expensive the property and the bigger the project, the more necessary it is. But some of the work is so basic that anyone with a good eye for design can work wonders too.
That said, a professional stager can be particularly effective in situations in which the sellers refuse to follow their listing brokers’ suggestions, which are offered at no additional cost.
Whether sellers pay for a professional stager or follow a trusted friend’s or other professional’s dispassionate advice, beneficial results are virtually guaranteed.
Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup
To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you can privately search all available properties for a new home.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022