Is home staging necessary?

By Nina Doiron


What’s really being asked here is, can a property be sold without it being staged? And the truth is, yes it can. There’s a buyer out there for every property if they deem that the price they’re willing to pay equals the value they will get. What this means is that your listing can be sold without it being professionally staged, but it may take longer, and your client may not be able to get the price they are after.

It is a common practice to recommend a price reduction of two per cent for every two weeks that a property is not sold. For example, if a property is priced at $500,000, a two per cent reduction means $10,000. If it doesn’t sell then, another two per cent is recommended, which equates to another $9,800, bringing the total reduction to $19,800 after four weeks on the market.

According to Schwarz’ statistics, home staging can help reduce a property’s listing time on the market by 30 to 50 per cent and could deliver a price that is six to 20 per cent more than a vacant home or a home that is not properly staged.

Based on statistics from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), staging a 2,000 to 2,500 square foot vacant property can run from $2,950 to $5,250 in Ontario. Staging an occupied property of similar size can cost anywhere from $1,400 to $2,700, depending on the condition on the homeowner’s furniture. That’s a small investment if it can help to sell the property faster and fetch more money for it.

The alternative is do nothing and keep reducing the price of the property until it sells. Using the price reduction example above, having the property staged equates to a saving of approximately $14,550 to $18,400. In this scenario, both seller and agent made more money.

Home staging has been around for a long time for luxury properties, but it really took off and became popular as a real estate marketing strategy in the late 2000s when real estate became a buyer’s market…our current market.

People lead busy lives. They don’t want to walk into a home and make a list of things that they need to fix and renovate. They would much prefer and are willing to pay extra for a move-in ready home. If your clients have been living in their home for a while and have some outdated furniture and decor, buyers will not be able to see themselves or their belongings there, especially if the space is cluttered and filled with dated and overstuffed furnishings.

A professional stager’s job is to provide an unbiased viewpoint and offer advice to help you and your client sell fast. The primary objective is to help sellers sell and help buyers visualize themselves living there.

So, in short, yes you can sell a property that’s not staged, but at what cost?

If a professional staging service is not within the budget, my recommendation, at minimum, is to advise the clients to declutter every living space, including the garage, by a minimum of 30 to 50 per cent. Remove oversized furniture and create a warm and inviting space for buyers to help them see the potential in the property for themselves. The more you and your client put into the preparation of the property, the greater the benefit, both in time and money.