With the beautifully decorated builders "model" homes - the resale home has got some competition. I personally don't believe a professional is required unless the home is vacant and/or if it is in a higher bracket price wise.
Even the smallest home can be enhanced by simple de-clutter and furniture placement. Don't get too concerned about purchasing new furniture or even accessories. You'd be surprised what happens if you let your imagination flow - and the help of a good home magazine is; as they say, "priceless".
I have been fortunate that I have been able to work with my clients existing furniture and declutter. I have several staging video's that I give the sellers so they get the idea and then we work together to get the home ready to show.
Home Staging is the very best proven way to get top dollar for your home as you prepare it for sale. Homes that are Staged seem to sell faster and for more money! This is because Staging sets the scene throughout the house to create immediate buyer interest in your property. This will then lead to your home selling for the highest possible price in today's market.
You can get some great tips and see some before and after staging pictures at: http://www.stagedhomes.com.
I took Barb Schwarz's class and found it an invaluable tool for my real estate practice.
I'd like to hear who agents use (if hiring someone), what type of furnishings and decor are used & how (or the techniques) other agents or professional stagers stage a vacant home as well as the success rate they typically realize once the home has been staged.
Sellers are very savvy now so they will ask but I do recommand my clients to do staging but in different degrees, all depends on how the property shows, what it needs and what the target market is.
I personally prefer to try to use the seller's personal properties if possible. A lot of times it just needs de cluttering, move things around and add a few accessories. There is no use to waste money if they have the right furnitures and decorations. Sometimes we will stage a secion of a home or one room that showcase the hose... and so on.
Sometimes it does not make sense to get any new furniture at all because it is the way it is (meaning we will probably start talking about new parint, new carpet, etc), then we will just be clean up and rearrange furniture.
So to get back to your question, sorry, we still stage. Just because the market is slow and it takes longer to sell does not mean you should cut down on your service.