10 Reasons Why You Should Stage Your Next Listing

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

Sometimes it can be a challenge convincing the home seller to use a certified staging professional so I created some visuals using the latest, 2014-2015 statistics to assist agents in getting the point across to their clients. Professional home staging is not only for homes that are a “mess” but it also makes a huge difference in the selling price for homes that are “typical”.


In fact, statistics show that it doesn’t matter whether the home is vacant, occupied, a fixer or a beauty — when a certified staging professional gets a hold of it, an average 10 percent better sales price can be expected!


Sellers can be nervous that the stager is going to tell them to make expensive improvements to the home, but the reality is that only improvements that will have a BIG IMPACT on buyers and a good return on investment will be recommended. That same home staging survey of over 3,500 homes sold showed an average 1000 percent return on investment when the seller spent a mere 1 percent of the value of their home.

OK, so maybe spending an extra $20 to wash your car before selling it is not worth the $200 more you got in price BUT the $4,000 you spent on staging your $400,000 home is probably worth the $40,000 on average return you will see over your neighbor who did nothing…especially if the $40,000 is tax free!


Staging has always had an impact on the speed of sale, but in this market, I think it’s wise to be the agent known for getting top dollar for your clients, not just a speedy sale. In fact, the savvy seller is wise to the agent who prices low and sells quickly compared to the agent who is pricing right and getting top dollar. In my neighborhood, where everyone is on a “Google group” chatting, the agent who took a bit longer to sell a home (3 weeks) but made the neighbor $85,000 over what the “quick sale” agent got another neighbor, is definitely the agent all my neighbors are going to use! Those poor agents had no idea we were commenting on their performance but I don’t think my neighborhood is all that unusual…do you?


Every agent knows that the moment their buyer is visualizing themselves in the home, the offer comes next.  Why?  Because people buy on emotion and being able to “see” your family living in the space is essential!


What’s the point in hiring a professional photographer if the room is not completely dialed in? The combination of staged room and professional photos really connect with potential buyers online.  In fact, there are many folks “considering” a move but won’t pull the trigger till they see the right home online.  Don’t you want to be the agent to get that first phone call about your listing?


The seller that thinks they can stage their home themselves has no idea of the impossibility of that process. I’ve been staging and training for more than 12 years and still brought in two certified staging professionals before I sold my home. Why? Because I know that staging my own home is like asking me to be objective about my children.  Our homes are filled with the emotions of living there and the items we’ve purchased on emotion, so how can we possibly be objective about merchandising each space?


I have to admit; even this latest 2015 NAR statistic on home staging surprised me!  You mean even if the home is on a busy street, backs up to the dump or has a tiny backyard almost a third of buyers will overlook those faults in favor of staging?  Just kidding but you get the idea! Sometimes there are problems with the property that just can’t be fixed by staging but can be alleviated.


Did you know that “Moving” was listed as a top five most stressful event in a person’s life? In order, “Death of a Loved One”, “Divorce”, “Moving”, “Major Illness”, and “Job Loss” were the biggest, most stressful events in people’s lives.  Even if you were moving up, it’s considered highly stressful!

The whole point to staging is to help the seller get packing early, organized for showing their home on the fly and helping them have the peace of mind of getting the best price.


We are really getting close to No. 1 now!  With No. 2, most experts agree that staging is a critical necessity to selling successfully in the 2015 market.  I know it’s frustrating for agents to convince sellers to use a professional stager.  According to Zillow, staging was listed as the second most critical action item for the seller to do when selling their home, so letting them know this statistic by real estate experts is a good one!

Drum roll please…..


I love this reason because at the end of the day, staging benefits the home seller more than anyone else….not the agent…not the stager.  While the agent and stager are invested in helping the seller get the most money from the sale of their home, if the seller just doesn’t want to listen, then so be it.   The seller doesn’t have to do anything…but there are consequences which are usually doled out in the form of price reductions.  Don’t help to see your competition when all you need to do is hire a professional home stager!

If you’re a real estate agent, feel free to share this, pin the images and send them to your sellers.  I’ve also created a one-minute YouTube Video that you can share or embed on your site to get the point across to your seller.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners. Connect with her on Facebook!

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. Is,nt staging decorating your whole house, with furniture and decorations,such as mirrors ,pictures an things? Does it all have to be new?

  2. Don’t buy a thing except brighter lightbulbs – Clean, clean – till everything sparkles. Declutter – start packing your belongings so you can expose as much floor space as possible. Have beds made, keep a co-ordinated set of towels, bathroom mat, new cake of soap together for a quick decoration of the shiny bathroom prior to an inspection. Dining room neat and uncluttered, bare table. Clear the walls of ‘personal taste’ decorations, and personal photos. Allow the potential buyer the opportunity to imagine their own belongings within the spaces of your home. Tidy garage – clean oilstains, laundry room – ensure tiles sparkle and washing machine and dryer also. Don’t overdo airfresheners buyer may think you are covering mould or dampness odours.
    When preparing our house for sale all five of us had an area of the house we were responsible for when the agent rang us – we asked for a phone call half an hour before she brought a client around to view. We had fun. We had half of our house packed up and in storage. Our children felt really included in what was happening – much less stress at the impending move – our youngest was only five at the time.

  3. Fantastic Article! I really appreciate your blogs and NAR leading the charge in the promotion of Home Staging! From One Home Stager to Another!

  4. Thanks Lynne for the excellent advice to Judy! It’s true that there is so much a professional stager can do in the home simply using what the seller already has. Having said that, most homes could really benefit from new pillows, throws, plants, towels and even bedding since these small accessories go a LONG way in affecting the way a buyer sees the home. These purchases are like investments in the sale of the home but they also are items that already go with the seller’s current decor, so they are getting a staging and redesign in one.
    HSR certified stagers have access to tons of trade/designer discounts so that when they shop for clients, they are getting the best prices. Hope this helps!

  5. What about the photography? How will buyers experience all the hard work of staging online? What access do Realtors and Stagers have to good photography that is consistently available and affordable?

  6. Staging is about making something ordinary look luxurious and expensive.

  7. We went for years at http://www.realhelprealestate.com without staging our builders spec homes. About 6 months ago we began basic and then more detailed staging, see photos at: http://viewpropertydetailsandphotosofthishome.realhelprealestate.com/idx/search/advanced
    The new staging has increased sales by over 40%. It has more than paid for itself! Highly recommended.

  8. I try to consult my clients that staging a home is a good idea and will make them money in the long run. This list will help with that! A 1000% return on short term investment is hard to pass up! Thanks!

  9. I am so excited about all of the great blogs and info in general coming out now about staging. I am on a mission to create awareness and to educate as many agents as I can in my area. Just 2 weeks ago there was a full page article in one of the main local newspapers sending a message loud & clear to realtors & homeowners alike!
    Thanks Audra for all you do to support the cause and your fellow stagers across the nation 🙂

  10. I am glad to know that the point of staging is to help a seller get packing early. It would be good to get organized for showing your home on the fly. My sister’s realtor told her that taking down personal photos from the walls can help a home sell faster.

  11. The article makes a really good point about how well staging works when selling a home. After all, when people are touring a house, they want to get an idea of what they can do with the rooms. By staging each room in your home, you can really get their minds invigorated and thinking about what they can possible do with your home.