Is Staging Necessary in a Seller's Market?
The 2016 housing market once again is favoring sellers - inventory is relatively low, houses are moving quickly, and home sellers are expecting top dollar for their properties. This begs the question: Considering the market, does staging matter? Most experts answer with a resounding YES - staging is a crucial marketing tool in every housing market, benefiting not only sellers, but real estate agents.
Staging is designed to show each property in its best light . . . it also portrays the sellers themselves in the best light. When a home is staged, it shows that the seller is motivated, serious, and ready to entertain offers.
Some of today’s homeowners consider the current market to be their playground…. “It’s a seller’s market - let’s put a sign out, ask a huge amount, and see what happens. We’ve got nothing to lose.” But in fact, they do. Today’s savvy buyers will not overlook obvious flaws and pay sky high prices to sellers who aren’t serious about getting it sold.
Keep in mind that staging is not just adding pretty throw pillows on a couch — it is also taking care of necessary updates and repairs. When a home is staged, buyers see it as more move-in ready and well-maintained, and they are less likely to request concessions for repairs. Sellers score big when they go ahead and complete these projects in advance instead of planning to give an allowance, which typically costs 10 times as much. Consider a $100 faucet taking $1,000 off the list price... or a $1,000 carpet replacement costing $10,000 in allowances … yes, staging matters.
Sellers who don’t invest in staging also risk low-ball offers and a lower eventual sales price. When buyers view a property that has not been staged -- drawing attention to the home's best features while diminishing any perceived negatives -- they tend to make lower initial offers. And if those offers are not accepted by the seller, their final contract price will likely be much lower. Statistics show that the longer the home is on the market, the less it sells for. Home buyers search the internet, and if they see that a property is not under contract within 3 weeks, they perceive it to be flawed.
A word about vacant listings…. they take twice as long to sell.
When a house is empty, it appears smaller, and it’s harder for buyers to visualize themselves and their belongings in it. And with no furnishings to look at, buyers tend to notice every scuff on the wall, every stain on the carpet, and every outdated fixture. They start mentally tallying repair costs and end up requesting huge allowances, bringing the sale price down.
Staging benefits real estate agents, as well. With a lower inventory in Atlanta, there are fewer listings to go around, and more realtors competing for them. Staging is marketing the home - and agents who include staging services in their new listing packets are perceived to be more business-savvy, knowledgeable and assertive in representing the seller. For every property that comes on the market, there are dozens of agents vying to list it. The ones who offer the best "value-added" services are usually the ones who get the listings.