HomeGain.com recently conducted its third nationwide home improvement and home staging Home Sale MaximizerTM survey (previously conducted in 2003 and 2007) to reveal the top 12 low cost*, do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements for people getting their home ready to sell. Nearly 1,000 REALTORS® responded to the survey. (See complete survey results)
Thousands of REALTORS and Home Stagers use "Home Sale Maximizer" to advise their home seller clients.
Home Staging is reported to be the 2nd most valuable home improvement project to a seller when it comes to selling a home by return on investment (ROI), according to surveyed Realtors.
Home Staging is also the 3rd highest price increase to a home's resale value ($300 cost / $1,780 price increase to a home's selling price, which is a 586% ROI)
82% of Realtors nationwide recommend home sellers do DIY home staging.
Staging has rose on the list of priorities over the years. In 2007 survey results, Lightening and Brightening had the second highest ROI followed by Home Staging. Two years later, Home Staging overtakes Lightening and Brightening.
How many Realtors recommend professional home staging the majority of the time?
- 12.7% of U.S. Realtors nationwide recommend professionally staging a home to sellers 60-100% of the time
- 10.2% in the East
- 11.5% in the South
- 10.8% in the Midwest
- 18% in the West
10.3% of Realtors in the West recommend professional home staging 100% of the time. (highest of all four regions)
How much faster do Realtors think a home sells when it is professionally staged?
- Nationwide: 5.3% of Realtors think the home sells days faster (less than a week)
- 44.8% think a home sells weeks faster
- 25.8% think a home sells months faster
9.4% of Realtors in the West think a home sells days faster (highest of all regions).
Surveyed Realtor Commentary:
"Staging is SO critical we own our own staging company and provide it free of charge - a $2,500-$3,000 value on every listing." - Carl Medford
"A staged home sells more quickly than non-staged homes. Most home sellers need to detach themselves from their homes so they can show the home in its best light. That's why I suggest a professional staging company." - Tony Bruno, Coldwell Banker, Fremont, CA
"Place pots of fresh plants and or flowers at the entrance to door or on front porch. Place fresh flowers inside." - Delores Clark, RE/MAX United, Carrollton, GA
"I do all my own staging recommendations which saves the sellers thousands of dollars. I believe in giving my sellers more for their money."
"I've had a lot of resistance from clients about professional home stagers. Possibly because I don't present it in the right fashion!"
"Biggest thing for me is staging." - Melodee Brooks, Edina Realty, MN
"I am a stager and Realtor and do my own listings to get them ready. It does make a difference along with proper pricing."
"We have an in-house stager available."
"I am a professional home stager and use the home owner own things to stage with which requires in most cases very little out of pocket expense, this is a service I do provide for my sellers."
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"Staging depends on the situation - if they have nice furniture, we can help them ourselves - if house is vacant, it must be staged unless very low end, if in the middle (occupied but bad furniture) it is usually wise to rent a few good pieces and remove the worst of the old."
"I have earned the Certified Home Marketing Specialist (CHMS) so I advise and do my own home staging for my sellers. If the house is in a price point that I truly felt a professional staging company was called for, I would certainly advise the seller to do that."
"In regards to staging, I only recommend it for properties with higher values and/or in neighborhoods or subdivisions where there is an abundance. In that way, the property is memorable to the potential buyer."
"Staging can often help significantly, especially in homes where people have lived a lifetime. Living in a home is different than selling a home. Often we need to sell, pack, ship, throw away what we are not going to move. When there are so many homes on the market, this can often mean the difference in selling or not."
"In the Mid-West, we have Buyers that want ‘move- in' ready and spotless homes. The homes that are picture perfect sell faster and for top dollar in their market." - Christine Moscinski, Realtor & ‘HouseHunter' eHouseHuntOnline.net, GOBBER GMAC REAL ESTATE Chicago's Western Suburbs
"Fresh paint, neutral clean flooring, and a well staged home goes a long way." - Eric Pakulla, RE/MAX Advantage Realty
"After taking care of any blatant home repairs that need attention and thoroughly de-cluttering, I always recommend neutral paint, new/refinished flooring, and new light fixtures. Professional home staging is recommended after those steps are taken. This is normally a person's largest financial investment: it pays to take care of the details!" - Nicole Donaghy ERA Wilder Realty Lexington, SC
"Most of the properties that I show and sell are 2nd homes and vacation properties. These homes are already generally well kept and not lived in on a day to day basis. Usually home staging is not recommended too often in such cases." - Karen Harrison RE/MAX of Orange Beach www.karensgulfproperties.com
"Home staging has not made a difference in getting a home sold in our area, it is just starting to catch on." - William Staab, Keller Williams, Albuquerque, NM
"I personally stage all of my owner occupied listings. Have been doing it since 2000. Staging allows homes to sell faster, but only of course if they are priced right, overpriced staged homes still don't sell." - Kyle Davis, RE/MAX Select Properties, Ashburn, VA
"Staging is something any owner can do without spending a lot of money." - Bob Savera, Las Vegas First Realty, Las Vegas, NV
"In this market prices have dropped so much, most sellers do not have the resources to hire a professional stager, so I became a certified stager. I can now stage my listings to get them sold. In this market, the problem is getting the homes sold at all. Staging gets your listing on the top of buyers list to see." - Linda Moore, EXiT Real Estate Results, Longwood, FL
"Staging is great when the market isn't bringing your home value down so much that you can't get the improvements to increase the value. It would however I think increase the speed of the sale even if it didn't increase the sales price." - Charles Burgess, Washburn Real Estate, Rutherfordton, NC
"There are not many professional homestagers in the Midwest. There is alot of foreclosed homes in the area. Most buyers are having a hard time qualifying for a mortgage due to the increase in FICO score." - Serena Brown, Taylor Brown Real Estate, Gary, IN
"I think home staging is crucial to sale a home in this economy." Maria Torres, Keller Williams Realty, Austin, TX
"I make it a regular comment if the home is empty as staging is very important." - Jay Larson, RE/MAX Leaders, Centenniel, CO
"In our market, sellers can't spend a cent more than they need to in order to make their homes marketable. Professional staging and environmental considerations simply aren't on their radar screens." - Daria Uhlig, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates, Brodheadsville, PA
"If you price the home properly, you don't need a furnished-staged home." - Nancy Marshall, Charter I Realty Low Country, SC
"I am a certified ‘Pristine Home Stager' I include this service when I list every home. I would only bring in an outside stager when the home needs different furniture they can provide." - Tim Flaherty, RES Realty, Minneapolis, MN
"Current market conditions are not improved by home staging." - Rene Lovas, Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties, Simi Valley, CA
"In this buyers market the seller MUST do everything they can to stand out from the crowd to get top dollar and sell faster. They're competing against foreclosure/short sale pricing and must LOOK more expensive to justify their price. Perception is everything and a property that appears to be well maintained will fare much better than one in just okay condition. You need to put your dollars where the consumer can see you've spent money to get it back in return." - Trisha Lee, RE/MAX Boone Realty, Columbia, MO
"Most clients are very stubborn about hiring stagers despite the huge benefits. The attitude is ‘let they do what they want with the house after they own it, I'm not putting a penny more into it.'" - Beverley Gaudio, RE/MAX Legend, Wayne, NJ
Additional survey results taken from Realtor comments:
- 4 Realtors recommend having fresh flowers (3 South, 1 East)
- 6 Realtors recommend depersonalizing the home by removing photos and personal items (4 South, 2 Mid-West)
*The term "low cost" is defined as less than $5,000.
Average price of a home in areas where Realtors were surveyed? 85.9% of homes were priced under $350,000.
WEST: AK, CO, HI, MT, WA, OR, CA, NV, ID, UT, AZ, NM, WY
MID-WEST: IL, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI, MI, IN
SOUTH: TX, OK, AR, LA, MS, AL, TN, KY, GA, FL, SC, NC, WV, VA
EAST: PA, NY, MD, NJ, NH, CT, DE, MA, ME, VT, RI
Definition of Home Staging category:
Home staging: Add fresh flowers; removing personal items; reduce clutter; rearrange furniture; add new props or furniture to enhance room/s; play soft music; hang artwork in walls. See complete staging checklist.
HomeGain received survey responses from nearly 1,000 real estate agents in each of the U.S. regions. All agents might not necessarily agree on the same pre-sale strategy. See "% of agents recommending" column above. Differences of opinions may vary based on the climate of the market, region of the country or condition of the home in question. The percentage of agents that agree on the positive impact of a particular pre-sale activity is summarized here.
Home Sale Maximizer Home Improvement Tool:
If you are preparing to sell your house, Home Sale Maximizer can help identify and prioritize the home improvement projects to focus on to increase the saleability and selling price of your home. Home Sale Maximizer is a free, quick and easy-to-use tool for homeowners, and it's also a great resource for real estate agents to provide to their home seller clients.