Preparing a home for sale can sometimes feel stressful, with moments of indecision and angst. But home staging is absolutely critical for not only a fast sale but to achieve top dollar. Staging a vacant home, even in a seller’s market, should be at the top of every seller’s to do list.
So, let’s dive-in….Check out our Top 5 Drawbacks of Not Staging a Vacant Property.
1 – Vacant Homes Look Smaller & May Appear Dysfunctional
When buying in a seller’s market, buyers may have already had to alter their willingness to overlook small drawbacks in a home. Larger issues in a property, like if a home feels too small for their family, are harder to overlook – even when buying times are tough. That’s where staging comes in. A vacant property will look smaller and less functional when it’s not staged, often leaving buyers to struggle with imagining the usefulness of unusually shaped rooms. Buyers' agents overwhelmingly agree, as 82% said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home(1) . Staging not only allows homeowners to demonstrate the true size of the space but also highlights all the unexpected value the property’s nooks and niches can add.
2- Imperfections are Evident
The next large hurdle one must overcome when selling a vacant property is the exposed flaws of the home. Defects tend to shine through in an empty house. This can be especially true if the property was previously occupied by tenants. Scuffed walls, often made by furniture resting up against it, aren’t apparent until the furniture is removed. Now, not only do the buyers have to mentally map out furniture placement in the empty room but their focus is drawn to all the imperfections. Many common deficiencies, like damaged hardwood, large screws left in walls or outdated paint colours & questionable construction can be downplayed by effective staging. Staging helps tone down these negatives and keeps buyers’ focus on the intended highlighted desirable elements of the home (e.g. vaulted ceilings, large windows, etc.). Vacant homes can also create the impression that sellers are in greater need to sell. A vacant or semi furnished house can give the impression of an unamicable marital split or other distressed need to get out of the home. An empty house comes off as cold and unwelcoming and buyers pick up on these cues; likely to then offer less money to homeowners who appear to be more desperate to sell their property.
3 – Setting Buyers up for Disappointment
These days the majority of house hunters begin their search online which makes the professional photos taken of the home & posted to the listing all the more valuable. Photographs of empty houses are difficult for buyers to effectively interpret. Furniture provides scale, shows the rooms intended purpose, and adds light to spaces. Without it, windows look smaller, ceilings look lower, and walls lose their dimension. It is important that listing photos not only show how big the space is but how the space can be best utilized. With the advent of virtual staging, sellers may feel digitally enhancing the photos of their vacant home is a cost-efficient solution with very little disturbance to their regularly scheduled lives but there is one major drawback. Virtual staging is a bit like online dating. Virtually staged photos of a home may appear dreamy in their newly tailored outfit (i.e. graphically replicated furniture), but like meeting a date for the first time after initially connecting online, altered photos of the property may oversell what the home actually has to offer in person & falls very short of the promises made in cyberspace – leaving buyers wanting. On the other hand, staging a vacant property, with real furniture, not only ensures what buyers see online is what they’ll see at a scheduled visit but it also allows buyers to interact with the home. They can sit on the sofa and imagine themselves watching their favourite TV show. They can sit at the dining table and imagine themselves hosting their friends at a dinner party. Staging a vacant property provides buyers with emotional prompts to engage with the home. Not staging a property places the onus of emotional engagement on the imagination of the buyer.
4 – Vacant Homes Spend More Time on the Market than their Neighbors
Everyone knows the old adage that “time is money”. That saying never stood truer than when comparing a staged home against that of a un-staged home. 53 percent of sellers’ agents stated that staging reduced their sellers’ home’s time on market. RESA reported in a 2021 that homes that were staged sold approximately 9 days faster than the average days on market.(2)
5 – Leaving Money on the Table
In the most recent RESA survey, 73% of staged properties sold over list price.(3) 44% of agents stated that a staged home was likely to receive a dollar value offered greater than list price, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.(4) That’s because just under 40% of buyers’ agents believe that staging impacted their buyers perceived value of a property when the home was decorated to a buyer’s taste. With that said, when potential buyers can picture themselves living in the home, they’re be more motivated to make a competitive offer.
Staging a vacant home will enhance the perceived liveability of the home. Staging will also help buyers visualize how the home can meet their specific space requirements and create an ideal home for themselves and their family. No matter the investment made in home staging, the pay off of a speedier sale and a higher sale price are great benefits that make home staging a most valuable marketing tool.
1 The National Association of Realtors®, 2021 Profile of Home Staging
2 RESA Publication, 2021 Seller’s Market Survey
3 RESA Publication, 2021 Seller’s Market Survey
4 The National Association of Realtors®, 2021 Profile of Home Staging