The art of staging—preparing and cleaning out your home so the buyer can mentally move in—has such a profound effect on how fast and at what price your home sells. According to a survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp., staged homes spent half the time on the market than non-staged homes, and sold for more than 6 percent above the asking price. And here’s a textbook staging project I recently completed that supports these important statistics.


The home was first listed in April and received an offer after the first week on the market at almost $50K under asking price. It was not accepted by the seller. The home was then reduced four weeks later…with no offers. After reducing it a second time, a low-ball offer was received and accepted, but unfortunately fell through due to inspection issues.  At this point, which was September, the homeowner had moved out, the realtor called me, and we discussed staging.


The first question I asked the realtor was, “What was the feedback from prospective buyers?” She had told me their main issue was that the master bedroom was on the first floor instead of the second and there were some issues with bold paint colors. We had both agreed that we should stage the downstairs master as a family room to showcase that a home without a basement could have great space possibilities, and we staged the master bedroom as one of the upstairs bedrooms.


After painting the “bold” rooms with neutral paint, bringing in some modern furnishings and finishes, and staging the original master bedroom on the main floor as a functional family room, the realtor re-shot the photos and re-listed the home for a perfect price. Within the first week, there were five offers, a bidding war, and it sold for over $25,000 over asking price. The total investment in the staging was approximately $5,000.


This is a perfect example of how staging a home should be considered an investment, not an expense. If the homeowner had done these small changes from the initial point of listing the home, she would have saved six months on the market. Between the perfect combination of staging and pricing, this was a textbook case of why staging your home BEFORE it is listed is so important.