If you asked me, "Is home staging worth the cost? Will it really make a difference?" I would emphatically say yes! Because I am a home stager, I see client's homes transform from homes that feel run down and undesirable to highly marketable properties that sell at the first open house – most of the time for over asking price. I also know the statistics that a staged home sells for 73% faster than a comparable home that is unstaged, and that the cost of staging has a 399% return on investment. However, something happened to me this weekend that reinforced my belief that staging is worth it.
Every year I take a few days off and go to Cape Cod with my best friend and mother. We have certain places and restaurants that we always visit, one of which is a little café in Sandwich, MA. All year round I look forward to their "Paris" tea, which is served in a white tea pot with little white mug and saucer with cream in a creamer cup. We sit outside in the crisp September air and sip our tea with whatever special pastry we've allowed ourselves to enjoy despite the calories. This year we went to the Cape and were anticipating our usual tea time experience. As we sat outside at the café tables, enjoying the warm sun and cool breeze, our tea was delivered to us – in paper to-go cups. Confused, we apologized for the miscommunication and explained we didn't want our tea to-go, we wanted to enjoy it there. The waitress told us that they no longer had dishware, and served all of their tea and coffee in paper cups and food on paper plates. I was a little disheartened, but figured I'd still enjoy the tea just the same. As I took a sip I was surprised. The tea was not the same. I could tell it was the same tea I enjoyed year after year, but it just tasted like any ordinary tea. The croissant I only allow myself to enjoy once a year delivered on a paper plate, tasted bland and store bought. I asked the waitress if the recipe had changed and she said it was the same recipe they have been using for years. Same tea, same food, the only thing that had changed was the perception of their worth based on their presentation.
Which one of the pictures below would you prefer? Which one would you pay more for?
How about these two photos:
This home sold after the first open house for $20,000 over asking price
People are willing to pay more money for something they perceive as being better, and we base the level of quality by how it is presented. Therefore, to receive the highest amount of money from your property, you need to present the home in its most favorable light. Hiring a professional home stager, who is trained in interior design and understands the desires of potential buyers, will increase the perceived value of your home and strong offers will be made.
We've decided we won't go back to that tea shop that we having been going to for over five years. Instead we will seek out a new tea shop that will deliver taste and presentation. Don't make the same mistake this tea shop made by assuming presentation doesn't matter. Entice buyers to buy your property by having it professionally staged and come on the market strong.