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Ask McEnearney: Does staging a home really make a difference?

This week’s Q&A column is written by Darlene Duffett of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Darlene at 703-969-9015 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: Does staging a home really make a difference?

Answer: Selling a home can be a complex and sometimes stressful process, but one strategy that can significantly enhance your chances of success is home staging. Home staging is the art of preparing a property for sale by making it look its best. This involves decluttering, cleaning, and arranging furniture and decor in a way that highlights the home’s best features. Staging a home can have numerous benefits, both for the seller and the potential buyers.

Let’s look at a few of the statistics from the National Association of Realtors 2023 Profile of Home Staging1:

  • Fifty-eight percent of buyers’ agents cited that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home most of the time, while 31 percent said that home staging has an effect, but not always.
  • Eighty-one percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
  • Staging the living room was found to be most important for buyers (39 percent), followed by staging the primary bedroom (36 percent), and staging the kitchen (30 percent).
  • Among buyers’ agents, having photos (77 percent), traditional physical staging (58 percent), videos (74 percent), and virtual tours (42 percent) available for their listings was much more or more important to their clients.
  • Twenty percent of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between one and five percent, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the key advantages of staging a home for sale.

Boosts First Impressions

First impressions matter, and when potential buyers walk into a staged home, they are more likely to be impressed. Most buyers’ agents (81%) said staging a home made it easier for potential buyers to visualize the property as a future home in a 2023 study.1 Staging allows you to showcase the property’s full potential, helping buyers visualize how they could use the space. Well-arranged furniture, tasteful decor, and a clean, organized environment can make a powerful first impression, increasing the likelihood of a positive response.

Maximizes Home’s Potential

A professionally staged home emphasizes its strengths and minimizes its weaknesses. Stagers know how to use the existing space to its fullest potential. They can draw attention to architectural features, improve flow, and create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere. This often results in a higher perceived value and, consequently, a higher sale price.

Speeds Up the Sale

Staged homes typically spend less time on the market. Homes that were not staged spent an average of 184 days on the market before selling, while homes that were staged before listing sold in just 23 days, based on findings from a 2021 report.4

When buyers see a well-staged home, they can easily picture themselves living there, which can lead to quicker decisions. A faster sale not only saves you time and stress but also reduces carrying costs, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, and utility bills.

* 8 East Spring Street, Alexandria, VA 22301 — Staged and under contract in less than one day on the market.

Attracts More Buyers

Staging a home can make it more appealing to a wider range of potential buyers. It neutralizes the space, making it easier for buyers to envision their own belongings in the home. This helps in broadening the pool of prospective buyers, increasing the chances of a quick sale. Younger generations consider staging extremely or very important (48% of Generation Z buyers and 40% of millennial buyers).3

Enhances Online Presence

In the digital age, most home buyers begin their search online. High-quality, well-staged photos of your property can make it stand out in online listings, generating more interest and potential showings. Professional staging can help your home’s online presence, which can be a game-changer in a competitive market.

Justifies Asking Price

A staged home allows you to justify your asking price. When potential buyers see a property in its best light, they are more likely to believe that it’s worth the price you’re asking. In fact, staged homes often sell for a higher price than similar, non-staged properties. Professionally staged homes sell for an average of $40,000 over the list price, based on a 2021 market survey.2 Twenty percent of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between one and five percent, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged. 1

Increases Confidence

Sellers often experience increased confidence in their ability to sell their home when it’s professionally staged. Knowing that your home looks its best and is ready for the market can boost your confidence and reduce the anxiety associated with selling a property.

Emotional Connection

Staging can help create an emotional connection between the buyer and the home. Well-designed spaces that feel warm and inviting can lead to a more profound attachment, making buyers more likely to see the property as their future home.

In conclusion, staging a home for sale is a strategy that can yield numerous benefits for both the seller and potential buyers. It enhances the property’s appeal, improves first impressions, and often leads to a quicker sale at a higher price. While staging does require an initial investment, the potential return on investment and the advantages it brings make it a worthwhile endeavor for those looking to sell their homes. If you’re considering putting your home on the market, it’s worth exploring the benefits of professional home staging to maximize your success in the real estate market.

Have questions about staging or getting your property ready for the market? Call Darlene at 703-969-9015 or looking to purchase and would you like to receive a free Homebuyer’s Guide? Click here and I’ll get one right over to you.


1“Profile of Home Staging.” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Copyright ©2023
2“2021 Seller’s Market Survey.” Real Estate Staging Association®. 2021.
3“Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019.” Zillow Group. 2019.
4“2021 State of the Industry Benchmarking Report.” Real Estate Staging Association. 2021. 

Darlene Duffett is a licensed real estate agent in Virginia with McEnearney Associates Realtors® in Old Town, Alexandria. She is licensed in Virginia and Washington, D.C. She has built a reputation of partnering with her friends and clients through the homebuying process and loves working with first time home buyers.  If you would like more information on selling or buying in today’s complex market, contact Darlene at 703-969-9015, [email protected] or visit her website

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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