Does it make sense to furnish a vacant home before you put it up for sale?

Asked by Alison Hillman, San Francisco, CA Wed Apr 3, 2013

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Sally Rosenm…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Apr 3, 2013
Yes Allison.....yes yes yes. Professional staging helps Buyers visualize how a room can be populated with furniture. Not everyone looks at a room as a blank slate and visualizes their furniture in it.

You should make your money back and then some. You do not have to gild your home with the most expensive Stager out there. Go to the websites of several of them and look at their visions of well-staged rooms.

I would call at least 2 to come over and give you a quote. You can go to my website and look under Resources for property stagers. I am happy to discuss this.....

Good luck,

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1 vote
Valerie Dufo…, Home Seller, Hattiesburg, MS
Tue Apr 30, 2013
yes lets people know what they can put in a house
1 vote
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Apr 3, 2013


With the current dearth of houses for sale and lines of buyers queuing up to see the few actually on the market, you’d think that the amount of prep work going into homes being readied for sale would have diminished dramatically.

Think again.

In reality, the overall quality of homes currently for sale is significantly higher than a few years ago. Part of the reason is that we’re no longer seeing the multitudes of trashy foreclosures that dominated the landscape (not only are there fewer foreclosures, those that do appear are in better condition because banks have learned that a small investment in new carpet and paint will reap larger returns).

The real reason, I believe, has to do with the economics of the current market.

In a declining market, sellers realize that they’ll be losing money if they invest too much in getting their home sold. If they put $10,000 into modernizing a kitchen, they might get $5,000 back. Although they understand the need to make their home as presentable as possible, most sellers will do it on the cheap so as not to lose any more than they absolutely have to. This includes staging.

When the market turns and heads back up, the profit margins change. In the current hot market, home prices are not dictated by previous sales, they are now governed by multiple offers and how much any given buyer is willing to pay. That same $10,000 kitchen upgrade might very well score a $15,000-$20,000 return. Factor in paint, new floors and the like, and the chances of reaping a windfall dramatically increase.

While we might see 3 to 5 offers on a dingy property, well-prepared Bay Area homes are frequently seeing well over 30 offers. The more offers a seller receives, the better the chances of a solid sale at way over asking price.

Sheryl Medford, accredited stager and owner of The Next Stage, a professional East Bay-based home staging company http://(, states, “Not only are we seeing home improvements increase, the demand for staging has dramatically risen as well. Sellers realize that the better their homes look, the higher the price they’ll receive. We were expecting requests for staging to decrease once the market heated up — in reality, it’s been the exact opposite.”

Interested in maximizing your sale? In the current selling climate, it appears that tasteful upgrades and professional staging… are setting the stage for higher returns.
1 vote
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Thu May 2, 2013
Just yesterday I heard a buyer say, "It's SO hard to visualize what to do with these rooms with nothing in them - there is nothing to go off of."

Couldn't agree more - this is the type of market where staging REALLY pays off.
0 votes
Keith Keller, Agent, Novato, CA
Thu May 2, 2013
My experience is that this issue of staging a home for sale might have been more important in a buyer's market or in a new construction housing development where many homes might look the same. I have always been able to sell my listings by following a simple strategy And that is, you must make the home light, bright, clean and neat before hitting the market!!! If you cannot accomplish these four things, then you need to spend the money to make these things happen! If you have a dark interior then you might be able to put in a sky-light. If the paint inside is dark you need to repaint in a light off white color. If the carpet is soiled or dark get rid of it and go with a neutral beige. Finally, If you make the interior pleasing to viewing female visitors you've got it right!!!
0 votes
Peter Century…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Apr 29, 2013
I may be in the minority when it comes to my answer: I believe there are some homes that show exceptionally well without staging (hard to believe, as it may be).

These homes are bright, sunny, very spacious, and impeccably clean.

In such a case, I believe staging would not have much further benefit than no staging at all.

I also understand that staging does work wonders for other homes as well.
0 votes
Larissa Dean, Home Seller, Kentwood, LA
Wed Apr 3, 2013
Even just a few pieces can really make a difference. Just enough to give the buyer a feel for what the room could be
0 votes
Edith Karoli…, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Wed Apr 3, 2013
ok here is a short and simple enough question, but the answer will be by no means short nor simple.

Here is my approach with my client sellers

Assuming the home is vacant.... as the one you mentioned

Size and price of home and how does it show now that it is vacant

If the wonderful windows, hardwood floors and beautifully painted walls show well and are inviting
and bright, then may be not, may be no staging is required

If the floor plan is a bit odd, and now we see all that is not perfect because all the furniture and
rugs, table settings, flowers and plants are gone, staging may be absolutely necessary

A good staging company, can do minimal staging to give the potential buyers a feel for what they
can do with the various spaces, or go all out

In order to do one or the other of the suggestions above, a good local Realtor will be able to advise, out of experience with other listings they have seen or sold.

It also comes to the particular individual home, its potential sale price in that market, that will encourage one or the other action, when it comes to painting, repairing, replacing carpeting with
hardwood, and make it nice bright and spacious looking, may be removing outdated curtains and replace them by shutters etc. could be enough for one home, not enough for another...

Discuss it with your local Realtor, and you will find the right decision
Sincerely yours,
Edith YourRealtor4Life & Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert

Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients, Buyers, Sellers and Investors alike....
And always with a SMILE 
Covering for @Properties the city of Chicago, all N and NW suburbs, the fine homes on the
North Shore, and many of the W and SW suburbs, and with her trusted Partner Agents all of
the US and worldwide properties. Edith speaks French, German, some Spanish and other.....
@Properties ----
Check out my website at htttp://
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Wed Apr 3, 2013
It makes sense for purposes of staging. It makes no sense however to buy pieces for a home that you're leaving.

There are staging companies that bring pieces in while your home is on the market.
0 votes
Rob Regan &…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Apr 3, 2013
Professional staging - yes. Do-it-yourself just sticking in furniture - no.

In worst case scenarios staging almost always pays for itself. In best case scenarios it can be 10 or even 20 to 1 on the dollar. In other words, yes, stage it. The risk is with an unrealistic price point on the home. You could end up paying $5k, $10k or $20k or more on staging over a 6 month period that you don't get back because you refuse to accept a realistic price. Staging maximizes value, but taking an extreme example, if you price a $1M property at $2M even the greatest staging job won't make up for that mistake.
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Apr 3, 2013
This is called staging, and it absolutely does make sense. Buyers often have little imagination, and properties that are staged will sell for more than a similar property that is empty.
0 votes
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