Home Selling in San Jose>Question Details

Home Owner, Home Owner in San Jose, CA

Do furnished homes sell faster and at a higher price than vacant homes?

Asked by Home Owner, San Jose, CA Tue Nov 8, 2011

In today's housing market, does having the home nicely furnished and decorated make a difference when trying to sell it? If the house is in very good condition.

Also, what are some tips on raising the value of the home? Is the estimate on Trulia or zillow what a home will usually sell for (maximum price)?

Help the community by answering this question:


Terri Vellios’ answer
You are getting some wonderful answers.

You are asking a lot of questions here on Trulia and looks to me that you are trying to get some information to make a sound decision. I encourage you to interview some trusted Brokers. During this interview, your Broker should be asking YOU some very in depth questions to help formulate a plan for you. Trulia is really a good resource for general information and to see which agent may be a good fit for you. I believe you are now at that point where, if you have not done so, to interview and hire your advocate.

All the best to you.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi Home and thanks for checking in with us.

I'm in agreement with my pal, Michael Roberts on this one. There's more than one way to stage the home. You can use a rental furniture company (I've used Cort because they have the arrangements set up in their showroom for me to see), and I've used professional stagers, and I've used the furniture supplied by the homeowner, and, like Mike, I've also put in a few of my own personal items to add to the "ambiance" of the home.

I'm also in agreement with my compadre Allyson A. that in staging your home, you should not expect MORE money for the property--just expect that it will sell faster. Obviously, of course, the longer a home sits on the market the more money it will cost you as the seller, and the more likely the home will fetch less than the market price.

Pricing for staging varies depending on what you want to do to the interior of the home, how many rooms you'll decorate, and how long the furniture will be in the home. On the average, for a 1500 square foot home with 4 rooms decorated, you're probably looking at about $1500-2500 for the staging. The price will go up the longer the home is staged.

Again, look at this as a method to sell the home faster rather than for more money. Buyers seldom pay more for a home just because there is furniture in it to show it off.

Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty-People's Choice
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Furnished homes do not necessarily sell for a higher price. Vacant homes give the buyer's a chance to imagine their furniture in the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 28, 2012
Big oops! I goofed. I didn't mean that Trulia failed. I just meant I wasn't sure about them because I had no info on them. I was actually referring to Zillow as the culprit who can't seem to get my info right. I've actually never had any experience with Trulia on home values.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 13, 2011
I am sure that some stagers will concur with this - yes I believe having a home tastefully furnished and decorated helps buyers see what it will look like.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 13, 2011
Yes, if the home is nice you should stage the property in order to give your client idea's of what the property will look like.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 12, 2011
Selling your home while you are living in it is difficult for not only you, but also your agent, and the buyer's agent. It's not easy to try and maintain your lifestyle, work, keep the house neat, and make it available on the whim of the buyer's wanting to see it. Some of the suggestions I give my clients are to start packing! Think positive. If you expect to be out in three months, then pack up everything that isn't needed for the three months. Ask you agent what pictures, decorations and nick-nacks they feel would be nice to use for staging, and just pack up the rest! If you have too much furniture, consider moving some pieces elsewhere. Planning on a garage sale when you're leaving?? Do it now! If your house isn't listed yet, have some agents come and ask them for tips to prepare the house. See if they think you should paint, what colors, what things may increase the value?? Your local agents will know best because they talk to the potential buyers everyday and know what they are looking for. Too often, sellers do tons of work and spend money before consulting an agent, only to find out that they would have been better off to do other things first, like a pest report. Good Luck, Terry Bell, Realtor, Santa Rosa, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 12, 2011
Not sure about Trulia but you can't rely on any information they have on value. I've been after them for years to correct mistakes on my property and they have yet to ever give me the time of day. But as others have stated a well staged home tends to sell faster.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 11, 2011
Having a home staged nicely should help it show better. A home will sell faster based on its price.

Trulia and Zillow are rough estimates, and are often highly inaccurate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 11, 2011
Dear Home88,

Not furnished homes..but STAGED homes! Vacant Staged homes sell faster and for higher amounts, according to statistics put out by the Realtor Associations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
To answer your question, I recommend that you look at some furnished Model Homes of Home Developers and ask yourself why a new home builder would spend all of that money to furnish model homes.

That developer does expect to recover that money spent on furnished models.

That is essentially what we call "staging" a home. A staged home will certainly sell in a much shorter period of time than a vacant home.

Whether the staged home will sell for more money is open to debate and often depends on the location of the home. Often the amount of the appraisal will limit the amount of money that the home will sell for. A "staged" home will not appraise for more than a home that is not "staged"

However a "staged" home will create more demand than a vacant home. The increase in demand for a "staged" home can create multiple offers and overbids, and in some neighborhoods buyers are often willing and able to make up the difference between the appraised value and the selling price in cash. This is true in neighborhoods like Saratoga, Los Altos, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos and Monte Sereno California.

Remember that all Real estate Markets are very local. What may be true for the market for Real Estate in one location may not be true for Real Estate in a market that is located only a few miles away.

With respect to the value of your home, Automated Valuation Methods such as Zillow are not accurate. Sometimes I see zillow "Zestimates" that are unrealistically high. Other times I see Zillow "Zestimates" that are unrealistically low. Sometimes I do see Zillow "Zestimates" that are very close to the true Fair Market Value of the property. Essentially you cannot rely on Zillow or any other Automated Valuation Method to produce an accurate estimate of the true Fair Market Value of Your home.

With respect to increasing the value of your home, I can write a textbook on that subject. It would take me far more space than Trulia will allow me to cover that subject.

However if you will call me on my cell phone I will be delighted to give you a great deal of information on that topic.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Email Address: charlesbutterfieldbkr@yahoo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Don't go by the estimate on Trulia or Zillow. Have a Realtor do a comparative market analysis for you. I have buyers that like to see a home with furniture and I have others that like to see it empty. If it is decorated, take away family photos and other items that make the home personal. You want the buyers to be able to see themselves in the home, not you and your family. Here are some other tips.

Tips to help your home sell with little cost and some elbow grease
What can you do to make your home sell more quickly without a lot of expense? Curb appeal is a big deal. When someone drives by your home and it doesn't look appealing, they may just drive right by. In order to entice them to want to view your home, you must present a great exterior. This means a freshly mowed lawn, nice landscaping, flowers, painted or power washed siding, and repairing any damages to windows, doors, shutters, mailboxes, and screens.

After a buyer walks into your home they do not want to see a lot of clutter. Clutter distracts the buyer from seeing how they could use the same space. Box up items you don't need. Take away any furniture not being used or that is heavily damaged. Organize your drawers, cabinets and closets. Put away any personal photographs. And above all make sure your home is clean. It can't be stressed enough how important it is to have a clean home. This includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning carpets.

Another major tip in selling your home is to make sure that all items in the house are in working order such as door knobs, closet doors, cabinet doors, faucets, toilets, and appliances. If anything is not working properly, get it fixed.

Painting is an inexpensive way to spruce up your home. Paint doors, walls, ceilings, and trim in neutral or classic colors. Be sure to open any blinds, turn on lights and lamps. This creates a more open and bright feeling within the home.

Lastly, eliminate any odors in the home especially if you have pets. Set out a bowl of potpourri, burn candles, or bake cookies in the oven just before the home is being shown.
This is just a brief list of tips. Your Realtor can provide you with a comprehensive list of things to do to help sell your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Staging is better but not too much and only in a main rooms like living room, dining room, kitchen, master bath, master bedroom, entrance. You can use your own stuff or borrow from friends or 99 store, keep it simple, warm feeling and make it look spacious!
Go to home decor website and open houses to get ideas, if have budget, you can rent.
Keep all rooms clean and no clutter, if possible paint the inside because painting is cheaper and it makes a big difference! neutral color is best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Ideally your home will look better and be priced more competitively than the other homes buyers are seeing.

Competition drives price. Multiple offers drives price.

To get to competition, you want to look better than other homes at your price point.

The best indicator of value (my opinion) would be pending sales in your neighborhood, same schools, same zip code, same general range of lot size, same # of beds and baths, same general condition. If you can find this out, you are sitting in a place of power for setting the price. You want to go slightly UNDER pending sales prices, or recently sold prices, in your neighborhood, for your list price.

As far as furnished, or how well-furnished, this would depend again on what buyers are seeing when they are looking in your area. San Jose has so many zip codes, each with their own personality, or even multiple personalities! If people just saw 7 or 8 foreclosed homes, all empty, then your home should be gently furnished, lightly, with vases, no art on the walls, a few pieces that will feel like someone cares but won't be too "dressy" as your competition will be totally empty.

If you are in an area like Almaden with lovely staged homes next to yours, then you want to have a stager come in and do everything right.

If you are in an area with an abundance of short sales, you can actually do well with an empty home, because people are seeing a lot of clutter, and your home will feel like a breath of fresh air.

You want to personally go to the open houses near your home, and then watch what sells within a week.

Finally, be sure your agent gets a lot of excellent photos. Do freshen up the front. In today's internet everything, getting a buyer out to look at your house is a big thing. So lots and lots and lots of photos -- 20 or 30 photos -- get photos at sunset or sunrise, any extra special photos you can, and make this a focus area for your marketing. You can sell a home a lot more quickly when people can see what they would buy. Then, when they visit, it's just is everything what it seemed to be -- and you'll be sold in no time.



0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
P. S. Annette Lawrence, if you really have single family homes in Florida available for only $45,000, I am so there!! (By the way, everyone in my office just said "WOW" when I told them this!) We can't even buy a beat up mobile home here for that amount of money! Of course, that home would be even more attractive if it were by the beach.... LOL!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
It depends on your home. A $45,000 single family home will not benefit from staging as much at the $550,000 single family home. The home in good repair that displays three or more different floor coverings from the front door will benefit from staging more than then home with the same uniform tile or carpet observable.

Stark and vacant homes exhibit flaws in painting, finishing and even lighting more profoundly than homes softened with fabric and benefiting from strategically placed lighting.

And, with a staged home you can avoid creating the uncertainty a potential buyer confronts when they ask, "What am I supposed to do with this space?" Of crucial importance, through proper staging you will be able to dictate the context in which your home will be discussed. Do you want 'the home with the wasted space" or "the reception hall" home.

What is best for your situation depends on seeing your home and knowing the homes with which you are competing.

A 'sold furnished' home rarely adds benefit unless the buyer is seeking a second home. And finally, no amount of staging will compensate for a house that has odors to which the owner may be desensitized! For many houses, staging can prove extremely beneficial.

Zillow may not be the best resource for setting your list price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
To answer your most recent question--the cost of staging--that depends on a number of factors.

Some stagers own all their own furniture and accessories. Some own none, and rent it all. And some own lots of accessories, but rent the furniture. [Regarding furniture rental, most of the commercial furniture rental companies have a 3-month minimum, so that often gets built into a stager's quote.]

Technically, it shouldn't affect the price that much--a stager should charge for the "rental" of furniture she/he owns, just as if it needed to be rented. However, it often works out that stagers who own their furniture sometimes charge less. (They shouldn't but, for various reasons, they do.)

It also depends on whether you're staging an entire house, only select rooms (living room, dining room, master bedroom, for example), or whether the stager is doing "vignettes"--partial stagings in certain rooms. The more rooms you have done, the more expensive.

It also depends on the other services a stager does. I'm guessing you've got a vacant house. Even if you do, a stager may recommend painting certain areas, repairing certain items, etc. That'll be a cost in addition to the placement of furniture and accessories.

If the house already has furniture in it, then there's also a process of decluttering and rearranging. And you still could be in the situation of removing that ugly old sofa and replacing it with a sleek, modern sofa as part of the staging process.

So the price can vary greatly. And it can vary greatly even if you get bids from two stagers for exactly the same work to be done. Michael's figure is certainly a possibility, but each job (and each stager) is different.

One other thing you might consider if the property is vacant: Virtual Home Staging. An empty property is "staged" photographically. For an example of that, see http://www.virtualstagingsolutions3d.com/ It's far less expensive that actual staging, but obviously has its limits.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Home88, If you are selling the home yourself then you will want to call a rental supplier.

I use someone specifically for my listings and it comes in around a $1.00 /sq. ft. (personal connections help)

You may ask your friends if they have things you may use. I have been known to use a few of my personal items to cap off a staging theme too.

Here are five quick tips- http://losgatoshomesandrealestateblog.com/sellers/1593/

Tip: ALWAYS avoid these mistakes- http://losgatoshomesandrealestateblog.com/sellers-mistakes/

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
If I want someone to professionally stage the home, then how much should I expect to pay? Does it depend on how long I need to rent the furniture to stage the home?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Nicely furnished and decorated is good, but good 'condition' of the home itself is better. Just don't have too much 'decoration' as it could be perceived as clutter to some buyers and might make the home appear smaller. Buyers love hardwood floors and granite countertops in the kitchen, stainless steel appliances are nice as well. Personally, I look at big ticket items such as furnaces, roofs, a/c etc. If your home has a fireplace, that's also a plus. Along with all my listing contracts, I also provide a complimentary staging consultation. This consult helps homeowners understand what buyers like to see.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Yes, most definitely! In addition to making your home look and feel warm and inviting, Staging's most important role is here, making a first impression on the internet. What does the buyer see when he first views your home in the internet? Your photos must be crisp and clear, showing a home the buyer wants to go take a look at. Whether a full staging for a vacant home, or simply adding to a homeowners belongings already in place, it is very important, and can affect the time on market and price received.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Well today a tastefully done staging of your home does help sell it, but I don't believe that the price will be for more than the comps. Tips, from less expensive to more expensive. get rid of all the clutter in your home.
Make sure to increase your curb appeal by land scaping your yard and insure that bushes and shrubs are trimed. Then make sure your appliances are in working order, and you would be surpised that cleaning all your windows and making sure all of your light bulbs are working goes a long way, these are things buyers expect and if they are not there or working it is a turn off. Fresh paint through out is next , then upgrades to kitchen and bathrooms these are most of them , but there are others. You need a free home eval to see exactly what you need at the least expense. Most of the agents here on trulia who work your area would be happy to give you one, myself included. As far as Trulia and Zillow I have NOT found them very reliable as far as home values go, have the agent you chose run the comps for your property, this will be a much more accurate picture.
I hope this helps, feel free to contact me with any questions.
At your service,
DRE# 01397256
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
A nicely furnished and decorated home in good condition is likely to attract more attention and possibly sell faster, provide it's priced right, but it is not likely to sell for more than a vacant home, unless the furniture is top of the line furniture, in which case it will come down to how much a buyer will be willing to pay for the furniture.

Kitchen upgrades and bathroom upgrades generally add value to a home, however if your local real estate market has not started its recovery, expensive upgrades will only serve to sell the property faster, not necessarily for more.

Trulia and Zillow are often very inaccurate estimating property values. Seek the help of a Realtor that knows your area for more accurate information on property values, or pay to have an appraisal done.
Web Reference: http://www.golftobeach.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi Home88,

Trulia an Zillow do not buy homes so, their numbers can only be used as general information.

Realtors use statistical data to price a home (I hope most do) based on closed sales over a given period of time. This period of time is based on the market data derived from the MLS. If homes in the area are selling at an average of 60 days from the date of their offering then, a 60 day period of time would be a reasonable term to use.

Some areas experience few sales and it wll be necessary to lengthen the period based on available data.

Even a small amount of staging can help a home seller see an improved price or more expedient sale. Dressing up the baths and Kitchen are most common. Add a few accoutrements to the entry and you are well on your way.

Here are some interesting statistics to consider in this link http://www.stagedhomes.com/mediacenter/stagingstatistics.php

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi Home88, and thanks for your post.

I have to agree with the other two local agents that a staged or furnished home will often sell faster than would a completely vacant home. However, there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of the following scenarios as an alternate if you don't want to stage the entire home or live somewhere else during the sale:

1. Use your own furniture and have a professional decorator or stager embellish the existing furniture with a few extra pieces and with accessories to complement the room. This may also include the addition of area rugs, new paint on the walls, and accents to really draw the buyer the best features of the room.

2. Stage just some of the rooms--living room, kitchen, dining room and master bedroom and baths. Empty or vacant extra bedrooms often are good to show the "scale" or size of the room. If the rooms are small, I find that professional staging can "de-emphasize" the room's size and show how versatile the small space can be.

Also, there is nothing wrong with using your own furniture if its in decent condition. Most importantly, work with a great Realtor who can provide you with advice, options and direction to what you need to do now to get your home ready for sale in the Spring or near future.

Good luck!!

Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty-People's Choice
Tel (408) 426-1616
1.5% Commission for List, Buyer Rebates!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
You need to be able to show function in your rooms. If your eat in kitchen looks small then a table showing you can fit a table there is the answer. If your rooms are all large and leave little to envision then it doesn't matter furnished or vacant.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi! Brenda Isom here, and I would say a staged home certainly helps buyers figure out the layout of the room. They can imagine how their furniture would fit in those same spaces.

If you don't have the budget for decorations and such It is important to de-clutter the living spaces and clean it very well, my experience with buyers is they like an open feel with flow through entertaining.

I currently have a buyer who is looking for a home who likes to entertain but is also looking to the future as her parents are aging and wants to, if need be, accommodate them as they age.
Web Reference: http://www.brendaisom.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi Home88,

Are you trying to sell the home on your own? Generally speaking a staged home looks more inviting to a buyer than a vacan home. A staged home is warm, and it shows the possible use of a room in an efficient way. A vacant home seems smaller than it is, When a potential buyer walks into the house you only have a munute or 2 to capture their attention, usually they either like it or don't in those initial minutes. You want them to like the house on first impression and spend time in the house to see the possibilities.

I would love to give you some more tips on how to list and sell your home.

Monica Goyal
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi Homes88,
Yes, in my experience homes sell faster and for a higher price if they are properly staged. This is true whether or not the sellers still live there.
Trulia, Zillow, and any automated evaluation methods are nearly useless when doing a market analysis on a home. The accuracy that Zillow publishes on it's own results says that their Zestimate is within 20% of the actual selling price only 87% of the time. They are within 5% of the actual selling price 41% of the time. I can't imagine why anyone would find this useful.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home, please give me a call and I'll do an analysis that makes sense and will be confirmed in the marketplace.

Take care,
Web Reference: http://www.rolandbarcos.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Definitely, a staged Home helps paint a picture for every body to see and get, there are always homes that will have more interest based on location. with all things being equal, a staged home is proved to sell faster and for more than a vacant home...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
By furnished, it doesn't necessarily have to mean that the home is being sold with the furniture.
I was asking whether it's easier to sell a home when it is "staged"--probably a better word to describe what I am asking.
Thank you for the input thus far!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
It appears that the presentation of the property has a lot to do with how it sells. It seems that most buyers have a hard time "seeing" what the home could look like until some one makes it look good. It does not have to be with a professional stagging co. but most homes could use a little make over to bring out the "best". Vacant homes do show best with brining in some furniture. So i always recommend sellers take a second look and see if the homes shows it's best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011

This depends on the buyer's needs. In our location we have a lot of international buyers that because of their situation prefer property that is furnished. In this scenario, at a later date they can update furnisings as they go without being inconvenienced initially.

The fact of the matter is that most buyers owning their own furniture prefer buying a property that is empty and waiting for them to just move their things into.

Don't be fooled by "estimates" offered by any company ....even though they can be fairly accurate...on the other hand they can be very far off the mark. Your best approach is to seek and wouk via a licensed real estate professional that can guide you through the process and look out for your personal interests.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
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