Thursday, November 26 , 2015, 11:48 am | A Few Clouds 60º

Laurel Abbott: To Stage or Not to Stage Your Home for Sale?

By Laurel Abbott |

When homeowners and Realtors meet to review a marketing plan, the question will invariably come up: Will this property benefit from staging? Unless the homeowner is Martha Stewart, more often than not, the answer is “Yes!”

Sometimes it’s hard to tell our clients that the beloved mauve lace curtains, the hunting trophies or their college futon in the guest room do not belong in a house on the market. Honestly, when your house is for sale, it is not about how you live in it; you’re leaving. It’s difficult to be objective about the place you have lived your life, but the key to selling is appealing to a new owner. Having well placed furniture, plants and art can make buyers see how they will live in the home. Some people love the feel of an empty house with all the possibilities, but often buyers can’t visualize room sizes or purposes. Answering where the TV goes, or that a bed can actually fit in a room, removes an objection that can stifle enthusiasm in a property.

Additionally, photos in our websites and advertising are how we get people to come view the property. The impact of the photography of a staged home over a vacant one is really remarkable.

When you put your house on the market, the goal is to sell it for the most amount of money in the least amount of time and hassle. The longer your house is on the market, the further the value declines in the eyes of the consumer. In an article from shared by Victoria Lindstrom of Dramatic Choices, a local affiliate of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, “Recent statistics show that 94 percent of homes staged by an accredited staging professional sold in 29 days or less, compared to an average of 145 days for homes that were not staged. What’s more, homes staged by accredited staging professionals stay on the market 83 percent less than a home that has not been staged.”

Another affiliate of SBAOR, Tamara Ruccione of Santa Barbara Staging Solutions, has numerous testimonials about her team’s efficiency and easy working relationship with homeowners. In all the testimonials I’ve read or heard about our local stages, it is clear that they minimize the “hassle” factor. They are driven to make a pleasant experience out of something that can be uncomfortable.

Next comes the money question: Is is worth it? Think of having your home staged as an investment in the property. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average staging investment is between 1 percent and 3 percent of the home’s asking price, which generates a return of 8 percent to 10 percent. These percentages don’t translate to our local market given our home values, but it still illustrates the correllation. Perhaps even more relevant to our market, “The investment in staging your home will always be less than a price reduction on your home!” offered Barb Swartz of

We have a very sophisticated group of buyers in this town and they are looking for a well presented product. Put your best foot forward.

Laurel Abbott is a real estate agent with Prudential California Realty and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.879.8050. The opinions expressed are her own.

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