Should You Stage A Vacant House?
Your seller doesn't see an empty house, they see the memories of kids opening presents on Christmas morning in the family room or the birthday party where the dog put his feet on the table to try and sneak a piece of food one of the kids left behind and the whole table came crashing down leaving a juice stain on the new carpet that never did come all the way out. They look around and see memories in every room.
The potential buyer sees pictures of rooms, but they aren't sure what room is what. As they scroll through pictures on Zillow they are thinking is that the dining room or the formal living room? Is that a bedroom or an office? Which room is the master again? The only room they know for sure is the kitchen. If they decide to look at the house in person, they see small rooms. A stain on the carpet and empty walls that really need to be painted. They see a seller who is willing to take a low offer because the house is vacant.
The professional real estate photographer sees a blank canvas, that needs a finishing touch... A stager!
Staging. Some people here that word and instantly see dollar signs and their defenses go up. When really it can be as simple as adding a few bar stools and a bowl of fruit in the kitchen, a shower curtain in the bathroom, or a rug in the dining room.
When someone goes fishing they use bait to catch fish right? You don’t have to use bait, but your chances of a successful day fishing are increased if you do. Think of home staging as the bait for potential buyers. You don’t have to stage, but your chances of selling a vacant home are increased if you do.
Now think about a model home. No one lives there, but the builder decorates the home from top to bottom as if someone does. Why? Only 10% of people can actually envision what they don’t see right in front of them. Most people just can’t imagine the potential of a home and perceive an empty space as being smaller. According to the National Association of Realtors, 81% of buyers said it is easier to visualize the property as a future home when it’s staged.
Empty spaces may also highlight what is wrong in the home. Stains on the carpet or scratches on the floor to name a few. Empty spaces tend to make flaws or potential drawbacks of a house stand out.
The Real Estate Staging Association states that professionally listed, staged properties spend 73% less time on the market, end up on buyers’ “must see” lists, and are more likely to receive an offer.
If your seller is still against hiring a stager after you have reminded them they are selling the most expensive investment they have ever made, you can slowly invest in a few items to help stage an empty home. Not only will you be able to use these items in future listings, you can market yourself as having staging items when competing for the listing.
Whether you make the investment in some staging items, repurpose furnishing from your home or the seller invests in a professional stager, the listing pictures will pop, the seller is likely to have more showing and they have a greater chance of receiving an offer on their vacant home when staging.