10 Home Staging Myths

Learn why these popular staging myths are untrue.

By Anabelle Bernard Fournier Bathrooms Expert | about home

1. Home Staging is Espensive

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to stage successfully. On average, you should expect to spend about 1% of the value of your home on staging. For example, if your home is worth $200,000, you will probably not spend more than $2000. If you’re home is in good shape, you could spend considerably less. After staging, you will easily be able to add that much to the asking price, and often 2-3 times that amount.

When clients are hesitant about the cost, I often tell them this. "The cost of staging is usually significantly less than the cost of the first price reduction." Think about it. It’s not common for a home on the market to never have any price reductions. How much is a typical price reduction? Often, it’s at least $5,000, but usually $10,000, and sometimes more. And don’t forget that many homes go through more than one price reduction before being sold.


2. It's better to try selling first, without Staging.


This is a huge mistake, with big consequences. Even worse, the damage can’t be undone. Once your home is listed in less than ideal condition, or at a price that is not reflective of what the home is truly worth, it becomes stigmatized. I’ve seen real estate agents show these homes to clients to illustrate what not to do, or to use as a comparison with another home to convince buyers why they are getting a better deal with that other property.

You can stage, re-list, and market all you want, but it will still be considered that “overpriced house that needs work.” And even if you can convince someone to take a second look, they are not going to trust you. They’ll think, how do I know this home is truly worth this new price? And you can’t raise the price after staging — that never goes over well in the market!


3. Staging is just the latest trend in real estate and won't last.


If you think about it, staging has been around for decades. We just never had a name for it. Anytime we sell anything we make sure it’s in the best possible condition. We highlight the positive features and try to show it in the best light.

The same is true when we sell our homes. Over the last 10 years, staging has really been thrown into the spotlight. It continues to grow in popularity. There is much more information available and we are learning more tips and tricks every day.

4. Staging doesn't work - plain and simple.


Statistics support the fact that staged homes do sell quicker and for more money.

Sellers who spent $500 on staging recovered over 343% of the cost when they sold their home. (Homegain.com)

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average staging investment is between 1 and 3% of the home’s asking price, which generates a return of 8 to 10%!

In controlled tests selling identical homes professionally staged vs. those not staged, the unstaged houses sold in 102 days, while the staged houses sold in 45 days. (RealEstateStagingAssociation.com)

5. Home Staging is the same a decorating.


While there are some similarities, for the most part these two things are vastly different. When we decorate a home, we add our personality and create a space that appeals to us. Our homes tell our family’s story to friends and relatives who visit.

When we stage, we are taking the personality out of the space. We don’t want potential buyers to walk in and be able to learn everything they can about our family’s lives. Your home should be inviting and welcoming, but the majority of visitors should feel like they could live there. Overly personal spaces make buyers feel like they are intruding into your lives and space, which makes them very uncomfortable and less likely to give the home a careful look.

6. Buyers can just imagine what the home will look like once they move in.


This is a common justification for not staging a home. Sellers assume buyers realize they aren’t purchasing this family’s belongings, style, or clutter. Why can’t they just paint and change fixtures?


In reality, only 10% of buyers can envision a home’s true potential. Even if they can envision the potential, most buyers don’t want to spend the time or the money to do the work. Give buyers exactly what they want and you will be rewarded with a quick sale and a strong selling price.

7. It's not necessary to Stage a vacant home.


Believe it or not, a vacant room actually looks smaller. There is nothing for the eye to use for comparison to assess the actual size. There are other downsides as well. Empty spaces feel cold and uninviting. Buyers don’t have anything to focus on, so they will notice everything you don’t want them to see, such as that small scratch in the floor. Most buyers can’t envision how they would use each space and arrange their furniture. As a side note, when a home is vacant buyers think that maybe since the sellers have already moved out, they are desperate to sell and would take a lower price. In summary, nothing positive comes out of not staging a vacant home.

8. Smaller inexpensive homes aren't worth staging.


Every home benefits from staging, regardless of the size, price, style, or market conditions. The difference is in what you do to stage your particular home and how much you spend. Smaller homes have lots to gain with staging. You want to show buyers how much living and storage space you have, and how there are enough rooms for all the needs potential buyers may have.

9. Staging involves removing everything and painting everything beige.


This myth has been around for quite some time and that’s probably why it’s so prevalent. When staging, you want a home to feel warm and inviting. A stark, white space is anything but warm. The same is true of a home where all but the bare minimum of furniture is removed. It doesn’t convey warmth. There are so many interesting colors you can use when staging. You want enough furniture to show buyers how the spaces can be used.

10. Pets must be removed from the home while it's on the market.


This is where I might differ from the majority of real estate agents and home stagers. I do believe pet owners have a more difficult task of doing the initial cleaning and then maintaining that cleanliness while the home is on the market. However, I know that getting rid of my pets is not an option. Of course, there are things you should do to minimize their presence. First, keep toys, litter boxes, food and water bowls tucked away. Be vigilant about odors and fur (or feathers). And try to keep them away from buyers during showings and open houses.