Staging a house – worth it?

Stagers insist that it is and here’s another success story. I remain skeptical; I’ve seen plenty of houses sell that were staged and plenty that were empty and I’ve never noticed a difference in the prices they fetched or the speed with which they sold. I do agree with stagers that clearing clutter from a house is always important and absolutely essential if the sellers are packrats, but putting antique tables in parlors and pictures of other people’s children on the walls doesn’t strike me as a worthwhile expense. Your call, naturally.


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10 responses to “Staging a house – worth it?

  1. Cheryl

    Pictures of other people’s children? There are a large number of places to get certified to stage, but I am not aware of any that recommend putting pictures of ANYBODY up. We generally recommend taking down all personal photos. Ditto for the antiques. I, most often, use the homeowners furnishings, and if they happen to be antique I will use them, but never would seek them out to use. Staging often is confused with decorating, and it could not be further from that definition. It is, decluttering, depersonalizing, and cleaning, AND rearranging of furnishings and accessories to make the most of the space. That’s my stager 2 cents…

  2. MSL

    I have only had one of my listed homes staged ever and it made for some nice photos but no sale. It was listed at 1.8 million, about 300K high in my opinion, although the seller had different ideas. I’m thinking that a reasonable price that reflects market conditions is probably the safer bet. But what do I know.

  3. Kidding Really??

    maybe sellers can “stage” potential buyers too in the backdrop of an overpriced house?

  4. Old Greenwich Builder

    My sense is staging works 1. when you have a new construction house where some spaces may be hard to visualize or seem small (especially the main living ares on the 1st floor), and 2. if you have good taste, or if you hire someone who has good taste. If these two rules don’t apply, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

  5. Old School Grump

    There was a discussion on this subject on this blog a few weeks ago, and we had a good chuckle about various absurd props that crop up: the breakfast-in-bed tray (does the butler convey?), the two glasses plus bottle of wine plus artfully-folded napkin (cute, but … on the toilet tank?), the multiple scented candles burning at a showing at 11 a.m. (did the satanic worship rental group from the night before not finish their clean-up? No deposit refund for them!) I guess maybe I’ve never seen a GOOD staging, or not recognized it as such. Seems to me, the best advertising would be “we came quietly, we staged discreetly, the house sold, it’s our little secret.” Kinda like a good face-lift.

  6. Flyover Girl

    Staging can probably add up to 3% to the price of a house, and make it move faster. Of course, the most important quality in selling a house is the asking price. Staging won’t sell an overpriced house.

  7. It scares me to read what people think staging is. The statistics from RESA, the real estate staging association just came out for 2008 and it shows that vacant homes spend 85% less time on the market if they are staged and occupied homes spend 89% less time on the market. Check it out at When staging, it is imperative that you find a Professional Real Estate Stager, look at their portfolio and make sure the photos are their own work.

  8. Old School Grump

    Gail at 11:23 a.m.:

    The very first paragraph at the link you gave is not exactly promising. Here ’tis:

    “The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) is a member governed trade association and was formed in order to support all professional real estate stagers in North America regardless of their training, certifications, designations, backgrounds or training.”

    Ummm, that “regardless of …” part might encourage wanna-be stagers to join up and pay dues, but it is a SERIOUS turn-off to a potential customer.

    The website did not provide any back-up to the extraordinary statistics you offered. If there’s a link to a write-up of the study, you may want to furnish it. If it passes muster with the readership of this blog, you can be sure it’s solid, and we will all have learned something useful. On the other hand, if it’s nonsense, it will be eviscerated promptly. Your call.

  9. RESA is a trade association. The National Association of Realtors doesn’t forbid agents from joining because they don’t have a particular training. Furthermore RESA is working to develop a higher level designation, continuing education, an accreditation for training providers along with many other things. RESA doesn’t exclude people based on their training as some other organizations do. The concept is about providing a resource for all stagers.

    As for the “wannabes” RESA is there to let them know that staging is a legitimate business and industry. “Hobbyists” are encouraged to work with professional stagers instead of under bidding them.

    Not trying to get in to a tit for tat, but truly RESA is doing some wonderful things for the industry and make sure that sellers get the professional level of staging they deserve. Which is why I made the comment about making sure you are hiring a professional real estate stager.

    There have been many studies done that are out there for the public’s view. Home Gains is one that immediately comes to mind.