Home Staging FAQs, Answered
Jay Evan Schoenfeldt | August 2, 2023
If you’re asking yourself if staging matters, the answer is, resoundingly, yes.
Twenty years ago, this wasn’t the case. Now, it’s rare that anyone in Los Angeles sells an unstaged house unless it falls into the “total renovation” category. So, right off the bat, if you are not staging your home, you are starting at a disadvantage.
Staging can be a little tricky, so to make it less so let me answer some of the frequently asked questions I receive:
Why should I stage my home?
The short answer: Your house will garner an emotional response from potential buyers, sell faster and for more money.
According to the National Association of REALTORSⓇ, a staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. That’s 87% faster than non-staged homes.
In my experience, there are a few reasons why:
A non-staged home draws buyers’ focus to minor details and imperfections they wouldn’t notice if it were furnished. This results in fewer and lower offers.
More importantly, an unstaged home doesn’t emotionally appeal to buyers. If your active listing is unfurnished, buyers are forced to imagine how they would utilize the space and if their belongings will fit in it. Not everyone has that imagination.
On the other hand, if a primary bedroom is staged with a club chair next to a nightstand and king-sized bed, it accentuates the size of the space and invites potential buyers to see themselves sinking into that chair with a good book.
That type of emotional connection needs to be made with buyers when they first view your property’s photos online, before they’ve even step foot inside your door. If your home doesn't look Instaworthy, it won’t grab buyers’ attention.
You might be thinking, “But my home is already well appointed.” Even so, replacing your personal belongings with generic, neutral furniture and decor enables buyers to envision their lives in that home; not yours.
Which rooms do I need to stage?
If economically possible, all of them. If not, be certain to prioritize the common areas of the home (living room and kitchen) and the primary bedroom.
Can I keep some of my furniture in the house?
I’d advise against this. It’s better to fully stage the home and put your personal belongings in storage. Again, if economically possible, I also recommend moving out during the marketing period.
How much will it cost?
The cost will vary based on the staging company, how many rooms they stage, how many pieces they provide and the quality of each piece. In LA, you should budget at least $6K for a condo. For a single-family home, expect to spend between $12K-18K+.
While that may seem like a big upfront investment, it’s money well spent. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400. Or, to think of it more realistically in LA terms, for every $1,000 invested in staging, the potential return is $4,000.
Can I opt for virtual home staging instead?
Graphic designers can create highly realistic-looking, magazine-worthy photos of homes using virtual decor for only about $1K. This creates an emotional connection for buyers who view the photos online at a fraction of the cost of actual staging.
Though virtual home staging is used in some markets, it’s neither typical nor advisable for the LA market. As soon as a buyer steps into an empty space, the emotional appeal vanishes and they’re often disappointed.
What furniture and decor will work best?
Your agent should be able to recommend a reputable staging company and advise you on the type of furniture that will work best in your home based on its location, style and audience of potential buyers.
I recommend using pieces of furniture that are neutral, scaled to the room, and suit the architectural style of the home or have a contemporary, timeless appeal. These will open your space up — literally and figuratively -— to the broadest audience of buyers.
Your agent should also collaborate with and direct the home stager by walking the property with them, explaining how each room should be used and discussing design ideas.
What else do I need to know about home staging?
Before you hire a staging company, you should ask how much they intend to fill and completed the space for the quote they provided. Up front, you should also find out what the monthly rental fee will be once the initial fee and term (usually 60 or 90 days) expires.
- If you’re selling a home in LA, staging it (preferably, in its entirety) is a must.
- Staged homes sell 87% faster and for 17% more than unstaged homes*.
- Staging is likely to cost anywhere from $6K for a condo to $12K and up for a single family home.
- The research shows that for every $1,000 you invest in staging, you receive $4,000 or more back*.
- Without staging, a property can draw buyers’ attention to minor imperfections in the home that they would not have noticed if it had been staged.
- Unstaged homes also lack any emotional appeal. They force buyers to imagine how to use the space; something not everyone can do.
- Even if you have excellent style and taste in home furnishings and decor, I recommend removing and storing your belongings to allow for staging, and even moving out, if possible.
- Your agent should be able to recommend a reputable stager and collaborate with them to choose the right types of pieces for your home’s location, style and potential buyer pool.
- Be sure to ask the staging company up front about what they will do if you feel the space has not been filled adequately and what the monthly fee will be after the initial term expires.
If you’re thinking about selling your home, I’d be happy to guide you every step of the way, from staging to final signatures.