Real estate prices have hit record levels in the United States during the last five years. In some parts of the country, prices have tripled. For those selling houses in the first half of the decade, business was very good, indeed. Rising interest rates and sticker shock have slowed the market down, however. In some parts of the country that used to be hot, sales have slowed to a crawl. In those markets, people who want to sell houses are now waiting months when homes used to sell in days or weeks. What can a homeowner who wishes to sell as quickly as possible do to accelerate the process?
A relatively new service called home staging may be the answer. Staging a home essentially means setting it up so that it makes its best possible presentation to the market. Professional home stagers will, for a fee, come to your house, examine your property, and make recommendations as to what you might do in order to make the house as sale-friendly as possible. In some cases, they will simply recommend a coat of paint, a bit of landscaping, or some new drapes. In other cases, more dramatic help may be needed.
It is often difficult to sell a home that has been vacant for a while. Buyers have a hard time imagining what their belongings might look like in an empty house. A good staging company will have in their inventory a selection of different types of furniture, lamps, decorative accessories and more so that a vacant home can look like a showcase. A fully and tastefully decorated home is much easier to sell than a vacant one.
The service isn’t necessarily inexpensive. Homeowners might expect to pay several hundred dollars for an initial consultation as well as a fee of several times that amount for the first month of a fully furnished, professionally decorated home. Rates for subsequent months tend to be lower than for the initial month, but many homes that have been professionally staged aren’t on the market much longer than a month. In fact, studies have shown that staged homes often sell in half of the time of other comparable properties.
Having your home professionally decorated in order to sell it isn’t something that everyone needs to do. But in markets with slowing real estate sales, staging a home may be the difference between selling the house this week and selling it three months from now. For many sellers, the investment is more than worthwhile.