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Ask McEnearney: What is home staging?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Kathy Hassett, a partner with the MPH Home Team. MPH is with McEnearney Associates Realtors, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Kathy at 703-863-1546 or email her at [email protected] You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What is home staging?

Answer: Staging is preparing a home for market by furnishing and decorating it specifically to attract potential buyers. Through the use of furniture and accessories, staging helps buyers envision how the space can best be used and makes the property appealing. It puts the home in its best possible light by accenting the home’s positive features and helping enhance the flow of the rooms.

Will the stager use the seller’s furniture or bring in furniture?

There are many different approaches to staging, depending on whether or not the seller has moved out of the property. In a vacant home, a stager will bring in furnishings, rugs and accessories. This is the most effective approach because the stager is working with a “clean slate” and is able to create a home atmosphere appealing to buyers with on-trend items that the stager has preselected just for that purpose.

A stager may also work in a home still occupied by the seller and use the seller’s furnishings. In this situation, the stager first goes through the home with the seller, removing and packing up as much of the seller’s belongings as possible. Off-season items, personal photographs, collections and infrequently used items are some examples of what is packed away. If there are packed items that the seller needs to use on a daily basis, the stager will ensure those items are accessible. Once the home is cleared out of excess items, the stager will rearrange furniture, rugs, window treatments and lighting to enhance the home’s atmosphere. Frequently, additional items are brought in from the stager’s inventory of furnishings to round out what is in the home and complete the staging effect.

Is the entire house staged or only certain rooms?

It depends on the size of the property and the staging budget. Standard rooms to stage are usually the living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, primary bedroom and a bathroom. The secondary bedrooms do not need to be staged unless one is to be staged as a home office. With everyone working from home in the last year, a home office is now also standard for home staging. Even if it is not a separate room, having a dedicated space for a desk and work area is an important feature.

Staging outdoor space is now popular as well. Outdoor spaces do not have to be full kitchens or outdoor wet bars as seen in luxury magazines and home television shows. Showcasing a patio off the kitchen with a table and chairs as an alternative dining area or highlighting a fire pit with Adirondack chairs in either the front or backyard as a gathering spot is appealing to buyers who value having that additional living space at their home.

How much does staging cost and what are the benefits to the seller?

Prices for staging vary widely in Northern Virginia depending on the company and services being used. On the lowest end, a staging consultation may cost several hundred dollars for a few hours of advice. For full service, a vacant home that has staging in the living room, dining room, primary bedroom and bathroom, home office, family room, and patio will cost approximately $3,500 to $5,000 for the first 30 days. Renewing for a second month will usually be slightly less.

Staging offers big benefits for the seller, including a higher sales price and fewer days on the market on average. Research shows that staged homes sell for 20% more than homes not staged, and they sell 88% faster than homes not staged. The seller must be willing to invest in the staging costs at the time of listing or be willing to pack up most of their personal belongings to realize these benefits.

What is virtual staging?

A budget-friendly alternative to in-home staging is virtual staging. Virtual staging is photographically staging a home for online viewing by potential buyers. To create the virtually staged home, the property is photographed empty without furnishings. After the photos are uploaded, furniture and staging items are virtually added to the photos. The property will remain empty for actual buyer tours, but the online virtual staging will help potential buyers envision a fully furnished space.

Kathy Hassett is a Realtor with McEnearney Associates and a partner with the MPH Home Team in Alexandria, VA. Kathy has lived in Alexandria for over 25 years and started her journey in real estate as a settlement attorney in 1993. With her in-depth knowledge of the local area and her real estate know-how she serves as a strong advocate for her clients’ best interests. She provides her clients with experience-based strategies to help them navigate real estate transactions, reduce their risk, and save time and money. She would love the opportunity to work with you. Contact her today at 703-863-1546. 

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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