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Talking to Your Sellers About Home Staging

By Debbie DeMarais  |  505-699-4989  |

Published: August 26, 2020

Every seller wants top dollar for their home, but not every seller understands what it takes to get top dollar. 


As a realtor you know that the shortest distance between listing and sale hinges on correct pricing in relation to market comps and the presentation of the home; and one of the most useful tools in getting to a great offer is a professional home stager.


Three Critical Proof Points


But how do you convince your clients to take up an additional expense before the house even hits the market? 


Well, here are three proof points worth making to any seller:


1. Data shows that every $100 spent staging can potentially return up to $400.¹


What does this imply? It is statistically more likely that sellers who stage will see a return on their staging costs or, at the very least, break even, rather than lose money on staging.


2. Even in 2020, homes staged prior to listing can sell 62% faster on average over unstaged homes.²


Because there are real carrying costs associated with length of time on market there could be real savings financially (not to mention emotionally) to getting viable offers faster.


3. More and more potential home buyers are beginning their real estate search looking at photos online, and 87% of those folks stated that seeing those photos was very useful.³


A house that shows beautifully online will attract more immediate interest. Whether the sellers are still living there, or it is a vacant home, staging a house will create better online images (be they photos, video, or both) and better online images will bring more foot traffic. 


Once potential buyers visit the home, their in-person experience will be just as strong as their first reactions online because a staged house will help them linger longer to appreciate a whole other level of architectural details and flow. When you inspire buyers you get offers!


Considering Pricing & Avoiding Price Reductions


Any conversation about staging is also tied to the conversation about list price. And as the realtor you may have two potential list prices in mind: an AS IS price, and a price after staging.


Share both of those with your seller along with any comps to support your estimates. Then share this...

According to Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, about 13%+ of homes currently on the market are listings with price reductions. And according to research from Zillow, the average price cut is around 3% of the list price.



How many dollars would a price reduction be based on your list price estimates? How much home staging could that same amount of money get the seller? 

I’ll tell you. A whole lot. In my experience in Santa Fe, the price of staging is generally ⅕ the cost of that potential 3% price reduction. I’ve written about this before in more detail. >


Contending with the Common Questions


It’s not uncommon for sellers, when confronted with the idea of investing in staging, to pose some questions. They’re simply trying to validate if home staging is necessary. Here are a few you might encounter (or already have over the years) and some simple responses:


The market is hot right now so why should I spend extra time and money on staging? 


ANSWER: Because markets change and helping a property stand out in any market will yield better results. With 44% of buyers now starting their research online⁴ a home should look great in photos and feel great when visited in person. Vacant rooms don’t meet either of those needs.


I know how to clean up my house and make it look nice, why would I hire someone to do that?


ANSWER: Because home staging is more than tidying up. It is a highly strategized process aimed at maximizing buyer interest. A professional inherently has more training and resources to support getting the absolute best results, and they can be objective about what needs to happen. It is hard to be objective about one’s own furniture and decor.


Can’t the photographer just make sure that everything looks good in the photos?


ANSWER: The photographer’s job is to take good photos of the home as it is when they arrive, not to style the home for the photos. That’s the job of the seller or a stager.

What proof is there that staging can impact the sale price of a home?

ANSWER: Apart from the overwhelming agreement among most real estate professionals that home staging is an effective way to capture buyer interest, a recent survey of 13K staged homes in 2020 revealed that 85% of staged homes sold for 5-23% over list price.⁵ No investment is ever guaranteed, but considering 1% of list price to put toward staging costs sure seems like a better investment than most.

Call in the Cavalry


And if your sellers are still on the fence maybe it’s just best to call me. I can answer questions for them in detail and provide a fair picture of the potential scope of a staging project with only a few hours of time—a minimal investment for anyone about to sell something for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 




1. Data from a 2019 National Association of Realtors (NAR) report as cited in an article from the Washington Post, May 1, 2019


2. Based on a 2020 national survey of 13K staged homes conducted by The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) for their Consumer’s Guide To Real Estate Staging which states that staged homes are on-market an average of 23 days vs the national on-market average of 60 days in July 2020 as reported by


3. Based upon research conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in their 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.


4. Ibid

5. See The Real Estate Staging Association's (RESA) recent Consumer’s Guide To Real Estate Staging

Home Staging Examples

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