Home staging is the premise of many popular reality TV shows, but even when there's no camera crew involved, it plays an important part in the real real estate market. For many buyers, a bare, empty room can leave too much up to the imagination, which is why staging is key to show off the full potential of a space.
Why staging matters so much
According to the 2021 Profile of Home Staging report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 82% of buyers' agents said a staged property made it easier for potential homebuyers to "see" themselves in the space.
While staging is an investment of time and money for the seller, it's one that could pay off. In fact, it already has for many sellers: 23% of buyers' agents said that offers went up in price by 1% to 5% more than similar properties that were unstaged. In addition, 18% of seller's agents said the dollar value of a property increased between 6% and 10%. Aside from an increased offer, another stat worthy of note is that 31% of agents say a staged home spent a greatly decreased time on the market.
House hunting during the pandemic
The pandemic slammed the door shut on countless open houses, leading homebuyers to conduct searches virtually. It goes without saying that uploading photos to a property listing -- staged or otherwise -- is of vital importance in attracting buyers.
Gone are the days of putting up just a quick exterior shot of a home: 83% of buyers' agents said listing photos were more important since the beginning of the pandemic. Videos and virtual tours are also important, with 74% and 73% of agents, respectively, noting their importance in the home search.
Reality TV vs. real-world expectations
For some buyers, though, reality TV has skewed their expectations. The report noted that 10% of buyers expected homes to look the way they do on TV. In fact, 63% of buyers wanted a home to look like one that was staged on TV. With those expectations, it's not surprising that 68% of agents reported that homebuyers were left disappointed by the look of certain homes in real life.
Despite these high expectations, the report found that a property doesn't have to be fully staged to woo buyers. Staging one or two rooms in a home can still have an impact. The rooms most important for buyers to see staged in a property were the living room (46%), the master bedroom (43%), and the kitchen (35%). No agents indicated a decrease in value due to staging.
The bottom line
When the real estate market is hot and homes are selling quickly, it might be tempting for an investor to skip the staging for a property. But as the NAR report shows, buyers are expecting to be shown staged properties like they see on TV -- and some are willing to pay more when they see the greater potential of the space.