Why Professional Photography Matters

Get The Guide
Marketing Ideas

Do I Really Need to Stage My Home to Sell?

By Lindsay Goebel Last Updated June 3, 2020 3 min read

As if you didn’t have enough choices to make when selling your home, add in the decision of a staged vs a vacant listing

When you’re ready to sell your home, you’ll find that there are a lot of key decisions to make from hiring the right real estate agent to marketing your listing effectively to negotiating for the best price.

One decision that sellers often struggle with is whether or not to stage their home. Staging a home can be expensive and take time. It’s important to carefully consider what works best for your home – ask yourself if staging your home can be a good return on investment.

Reasons to stage your home

There are a number of reasons sellers should choose to stage their homes. If you are selling in a buyer’s market, staging your home may be the trick to standing out.

If your home has a unique layout, staging your home will help buyers conceptualize how to place their own furniture. Your goal is to encourage buyers to picture their life in your listing – staging can significantly help buyers that need a visual aide.

Another reason you may decide to stage your home is to stand out online. Real estate photographers who take pictures of staged homes can truly capture the essence of the space. They can better tell a story with real estate images of thoughtfully designed rooms.

Real estate photography and professional staging together is a great marketing strategy for selling your home faster and often times for more money!

Reasons to leave your home vacant

While there are plenty of reasons to stage your listing, there are also reasons you should not stage your home. In a seller’s market, buyers have fewer options, therefore, staging your home has little effect on ROI.

If your home is already well-maintained with a standard, understandable layout, staging may not be necessary.

Staging a home can cost several thousand dollars if done professionally. If your agent does not believe the offers will reflect the cost of staging, leave your home vacant to start. You can also bring in professional staging later.

While staged homes may photograph better for publishing your listing online, it may not bring the value you’re looking for. Around 30% of the listings captured by Virtuance real estate photographers are vacant. For them, it’s all about image composition and what angles truly capture the entirety of the space.

Tips for staging your home

There is no right or wrong answer on whether or not listings should be staged. It really depends on a number of factors that are unique to each home. If you and your agent choose to stage your home, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Focus on the rooms that matter most – We suggest the living room, the kitchen, and the master bedroom. You don’t need to spend time or money staging the other bedrooms or office spaces.
  2. Remove clutter and personal items – Again, your goal is to have buyers visualize their lives in your home. 
  3. Stay neutral – You want to please the largest amount of buyers, which means choosing subtle design elements that most people enjoy.
  4. Don’t forget your front porch – The first thing buyers see as they walk up to your listing is your front porch/entry. Consider adding potted plants, a new doormat, and a seasonal wreath to create a warm, welcoming vibe.
  5. Higher a professional photographer – If you’re staging your home (even if you’re not, TBH), you must use a professional real estate photographer. It would be a complete waste to stage your home and then post mediocre images online.

So, to stage or not to stage? It depends, right. When deciding whether or not to stage, remember to look at the pros and cons, research the current market, and speak with your real estate agent about your ROI.