3 Reasons Why Staging a Vacant Home Is Critical

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

When you see before-and-after photos of spaces not staged versus staged, it’s easy to quickly become a believer in home staging! Vacant spaces, in particular, absolutely need to be staged for these 3 HUGE reasons…

  1. An empty room EASILY SHOWS its flaws.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of strutting around in my bikini these days … are you? Why? Because with very little on, you can see every flaw on my body. Empty rooms are no different!

No room is perfect and empty ones especially are like walking around naked. Look at this room below which in its naked condition appears dark, dreary, small and what is that THING under the window?

Buyers walking into this space would immediately think it’s far too dark and notice the under window contraption. Then, they would walk out.

But look what happens when this room becomes professionally staged by a certified home stager (Stephanie White Interiors)…

Staged by Stephanie White Interiors

If you were not a “staging believer” before … I bet you are now!  You don’t notice the under-window contraption, darkness, or dreariness in a room staged and styled with warmth, texture, and well … fully dressed.

This room was brought back from the dead, literally!

2. An empty room almost ALWAYS looks smaller than it really is.

People have no imaginations and let’s face it, how could buyers intuitively even know if furniture will fit into a space. Empty rooms almost always appear smaller than they really are because without furniture … it has no frame of reference.

This empty room had doorways everywhere and a small fireplace that would make buyers feel like their furniture would absolutely not fit.  More importantly, buyers would have no idea how to do a furniture layout in this tricky living space. Why allow your rooms to look smaller than they really are?

Now, take a look at that same space with furniture …

By cleverly floating the furniture around the focal point and creating a seating area, Stephanie leaves nothing up to the buyer’s imagination.

Finally, here’s the number one reason it’s critical to stage an empty or vacant home…

2. Empty rooms are cold and lifeless (i.e. not exactly an emotion you want buyers to feel!)

Imagine the cost of putting up a lifeless, cold, sterile photo online of your empty home! In our 2018 staging statistics of over 4,200 professionally staged homes, the average increase in value to the home due to professional staging was more than 8 percent.

Vacant homes typically take twice as long to sell and go for even less than unstaged, “occupied” homes. So,  imagine the true cost of not staging a vacant home!

What emotion do you feel when you look at this empty, unstaged room?

3. Every room gives a stager the opportunity to add “emotional connections” to the space, so that buyers fall in love, aspire to live there and can actually imagine their family in that home.

Staging is merchandising and marketing in its purest form. Home stagers learn who the buyer demographic is and what they envision for a home will draw on those emotions with a carefully styled room…

Staged by Stephanie White Interiors

Can you believe this is the same dreary room you saw in the photo above?  Yep, that’s the power of staging and the importance of not leaving anything up to the buyer’s imagination.

For a quick guide on how to understand home stager pricing and proposals, check out: How to Understand Home Staging Pricing and Proposals: Do’s and Don’ts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president and founder of the Home Staging Resource, a home staging and redesign certification training company. Slinkey’s training program has been awarded the Most Innovative Product of the Year Award three times. She serves on the board of the Real Estate Staging Association. Slinkey is also a published author and international speaker on staging, color, and design. She is proud and privileged to help create and mentor thousands of staging and design businesses across the globe. To find home stagers that do the kind of work featured above, visit Directory of Certified Home Stagers and Designers.

Blog Contributor

This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. Wow! If someone wasn’t a believer before, they certainly would be after seeing the before and after photos in this story. Amazing results! And 3 great reasons to stage!!!

  2. Couldn’t agree more! Great article

  3. Donna Welschmeyer

    As an investor, I’ve gone back and forth a lot about staging. I don’t have specific data that shows a staged home sells faster, but I certainly have anecdotal evidence that staging can indeed help potential buyers fall in love with a home. I agree with all the points made in this article (and I love my stager–she’s awesome)!

  4. Staging should always be considered, imho, no matter the state of the house, vacant or otherwise. It should just be an expense that agents acount for in their marketing. Beautiful before and after photographs.

  5. Gaga

    All truth! I fall in love with the homes not houses. People have to know how would that house look as a home….

  6. Gorgeous photos! It’s amazing how the right design can transform a room!

  7. Wonderful article and great pictures. Really illustrates the tremendous value of staging a vacant property. Thank you.

  8. A very nice run-down on home staging’s most obvious benefits. Why are some Realtors still not educating their clients on its popularity and importance?

  9. This is perfect. I love statistics showing the power of staging and the money you are losing when you don’t. Why have a home sitting on the market longer than needed. Great Article!

  10. Pat Sullivan

    Staging is definitely worth the time, effort and cost in selling a home.
    My daughter had excellent results after staging her home; it sold in a week close to asking price.
    Very informative article, Audra, one everyone should read before putting their house on the market.

  11. Marlys Simoni

    Couldn’t agree more. Staging brings life to the room.

  12. Great Info! If you didn’t believe before you will now.

  13. Absolutely true! Every word, an empty house has a very slim chance in letting a perspective buyer connect emotionally. But give that buyer some pretty accessories and well suited furniture placed just right and voila! You have them!

  14. Even in a hot market, the correctly staged home has an advantage over a vacant home or a non-staged occupied home. Pictures are worth more than a thousand words these days; they are money in the bank!

  15. This article makes 3 great points- it’s amazing the impact staging can have on any home. If I had come across those photos before staging on an online listing I would have NEVER considered the home. The photos after staging really do make the home look warm and inviting. I’m sure the home owners were very happy with the results of that sale!

  16. Tia Dillard

    Awesome article! A must read for sellers as well as Realtors!

  17. Agree! well written and photos said it all

  18. Iris Iaquinta

    It shows only three steps, number two repeats but great article, thank you so much for sharing with us!

  19. Well said! With almost 20 years of experience in the design industry, I learned how many people are unable to visualize. Why leave buyers wondering, when you can’t paint the picture they want for them?
    When they wonder, what would this look like, they walk away. Vacant staging sells the lifestyle buyers want!

  20. Really great article although it would be more compelling if you also highlighted the benefits of professional photography and showed like for like photos. Imho

    Appreciate your articles!

  21. Susan

    Great article! The before and after photos say it all.

  22. Now they are a beautiful example of how staging works. It just makes sense for realtors and homeowners themselves to hire a Staging Consultant.
    Thank you Audra for your expertise.

  23. Clementine Bennett

    This article definitely showcases the importance of home staging! The room transformations are amazing! Great information!

  24. Wow! what a difference staging makes. There’s no question about it, a staged home shows much better than a vacant, empty, cold house. Staging is very valuable.

  25. Denise Newman

    Transformation is obvious. $$$

  26. Eric

    Good article, but it’s obvious that the before photos were purposefully dark and un appealing, only to have the staged photos be professionally done and properly lit.

  27. Katrina

    I totally believe a home sells better when staged. Love your points in this article.

  28. Emma Grace

    Wow Fantastic changes! Just the emotional changes you feel from one photo to the other. I would have to agree 100% staging is an absolute must if you want the best chance to sell your home. Thank you for a well written and information filled article.

  29. Ronnie G

    Second paragraph, after 1st picture…”professional” should be “professionally”. How come stagers don’t use pops of color in gray rooms? I continuously see whites and beiges. So very monotone! Give the people some imagination!

  30. Home staging represents new vision and new life for a space!!! It translates to success in the form of a quicker sale for the current client and encourages emotional connections for the new homeowner. It’s a must!!

  31. Well-written article !

  32. L Lindsey

    Very nice article. I think that most sellers believe Home Staging is a bonus but it is actually a necessity and can greatly assist in the sale of a home. I agree that most individuals are visual and have to see how they can use that particular space and Home Staging checks all those boxes!

  33. Helen Haskins

    I agree 100%-the before and after photos are amazing. You invest so much into your home so when time come to sell it well worth the cost to stage and receive on that investment. Great information-thank you.

  34. This was an absolutely excellent article! Well written the before and after photos are phenomenal.