How much does a tacky purple wall color affect a home’s sale price? Not much, according to new research on home staging. A study that led 820 homebuyers on virtual tours of the same home staged six different ways found that details addressed in staging homes — like furnishings and paint color — had little impact on what buyers were willing to pay.
While good staging does influence a home buyer’s overall impression of a house, staging alone doesn’t result in buyers willing to pay more for the house, says Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William and Mary, who researched how home buyers responded to six house tours that varied in paint color and furniture quality.
“We were able to parse out what you consciously believe and subconsciously believe,” Mr. Seiler says. “Beforehand, everyone thinks poor staging is going to be a problem. But when we actually did the experiment, we found it doesn’t matter.”
His findings show that buyers are willing to pay roughly $204,000 in each of the house examples, regardless of the quality of furnishings or paint color. However, the research subjects believed that other buyers would adjust their pricing based on how the house is staged.
Staging is not maintenance; well maintained, updated homes sell faster and for more than those in need. Homes should be free from clutter, cleaned up and show pride of ownership. But removing that Miller Lite neon sign from the basement….might not be needed.
This study refutes the idea that a couch, a few chairs and artificial plants really matter. What a home is worth to a buyer is not predicated upon staging, it’s all about the home itself and values in the competing market. As noted in the WSJ article, the researches acknowledge that not all agents will agree with the study, certainly staging firms won’t.
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