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To Stage or Not to Stage? NAR Study Finds It Helps

82% of Realtor buyers’ agents say staging helps buyers visualize a property; and 7 out of 10 agents say the pandemic added value to photos, videos and virtual tours.

WASHINGTON – A new survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) finds that home staging continues to be a significant part of the home buying and selling process.

The biennial report, the 2021 Profile of Home Staging, examines elements of home staging, including the perspectives of both buyers’ and sellers’ agents, the role of television programing and the buyers’ expectations.

“Staging a home helps consumers see the full potential of a given space or property,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “It features the home in its best light and helps would-be buyers envision its various possibilities.”

Buyers’ agents overwhelmingly agreed: 82% said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.

These agents also said that visuals themselves are helpful, even more so in relation to buying a house during the coronavirus outbreak 83% said listing photographs became more important since the beginning of the pandemic; 74% said the same about videos, and 73% said virtual tours available were more important in the wake of COVID-19.

“At the start of the pandemic, in-person open-house tours either diminished or were halted altogether, so buyers had to rely on photos and virtual tours in search of their dream home,” says Lautz. “These features become even more important as housing inventory is limited and buyers need to plan their in-person tours strategically.”

Staging also increased the amount of money buyers were willing to spend for a property, according to the report: 23% of buyers’ agents said that home staging raised the dollar value offered between 1% and 5%, compared to similar homes that hadn’t been staged.

The response from sellers’ agents was nearly identical: 23% reported a 1% to 5% price increase on offers for staged homes. However, 18% of sellers’ agents said home staging increased the dollar value between 6% and 10% – and no sellers’ agent said that home staging had a negative impact on the property’s value. In addition, 31% said home staging decreased the amount of time a home spent on the market.

Which rooms to stage?

The number and type of staged rooms varied,but living rooms (90%) and kitchens (80%) proved to be most common, followed closely by master bedrooms (78%) and dining rooms (69%). The home office also rose in importance for staging (39%) after the pandemic forced more people to work from home.

The influence of television

Television programing played a noticeable role in how buyers viewed a potential property, according to Realtors® surveyed. Agents said that about 10% of buyers believed homes should look the way they appear on TV shows, and 63% requested a home that look like homes staged on television. On the flipside, 63% of Realtors said buyers were disappointed at how homes appeared compared to the ones they saw on TV.

In some cases, TV shows influence a buyer’s perspective about a home: 71% of Realtors said that TV shows that depict the buying process impacted their buyers by setting unrealistic or increased expectations. Overall, 61% said that TV set higher expectations for how homes should look, while 27% said it resulted in more educated home buyers and sellers.

“The magic of television can make a home transformation look like it happened in a quick 60-minute timeframe, which is an unrealistic standard,” says NAR President Charlie Oppler. “I would advise buyers and sellers alike that before house hunting or before listing, they connect with a trusted Realtor to get a reasonable sense of what’s out there and an idea of what to expect.”

Other survey findings cited by Realtors

  • 81% said buyers had ideas about where they wanted to live and what they wanted in an ideal home (76%) before they began the buying process.
  • 45% said they’ve seen no change in the share of buyers who planned to flip a home in the last five years; 42% said they had.
  • 59% said they’ve seen an increase in buyers who plan to remodel a home in the last five years, while 34% said they’ve seen no change.
  • 25% of buyers who plan to remodel will do so within the first three months of owning their home.

© 2021 Florida Realtors®