Staging is the art of preparing a home for sale. Staging can be as simple as rearranging your existing furniture or as involved as removing all of your furniture and replacing it with “staged” furniture.
A study of local homes compared the sales price and time of sale of homes that were staged versus those that were not. Staged homes sold for approximately 5% more than those that were not staged and sold within half the period required for the non-staged homes. Given that the average home in Palo Alto sells for over one million dollars, this is a $50,000 differential.
The costs of staging vary proportionally to the level of staging offered. If the seller does not want to pay for any staging services, their Realtor should assist them in utilizing the existing furniture and lessening clutter. Another partial option is to pay for a stager to consult on an hourly rate and guide the staging of the sellers’ furniture. The fees for this generally run around $800. The best option is to have the stager partially or fully furnish your home. This can result in a set-up fee ranging from $2,000 - $4,000, and a monthly furniture rental rate ranging from $1,500 to $2,000.
Staging is generally considered to have a greater than 100% return on investment. You will generally get at least your money fully returned to you from the staging, and usually quite a bit more, from the increase in the price of your home.
Whether you utilize a stager or not, the following recommendations for each room will improve the appearance and final sales price of your home.
Studies indicate that buyers consider the kitchen to be the most important area in the home. While a major kitchen remodel will not add more value than its cost, the minor aesthetic improvements suggested below will make your kitchen shine without costing you a great deal.
Major repairs, such as adding a new wood deck, adding a room, or completely remodeling your house, generally have under 100% return on investment. It usually takes years before the expense of these items is recouped, if ever. The major improvements that come closest to having 100% return on investment are remodeling kitchens and bathrooms and possibly the addition of a second bathroom or a third bedroom.
In contrast, minor repairs that improve the appearance of your home can be done with little expense and offer over 100% return on investment. These minor repairs should be undertaken before you sell your home, as you will typically get more money back for each dollar you spend on them.
Many examples of these repairs include:
Improvements that cannot easily be seen, such as upgrading the electrical or plumbing system will very rarely to never yield anything close to 100% return on investment.
A “clean” property inspection report increases a home’s desirability in the minds of potential buyers, many of whom are too busy to focus upon home improvement. The following repairs will be relatively cheap and result in a higher selling price:
A buyer’s first impression of your home is the most powerful and lasting. If your home lacks “curb appeal,” potential buyers may continue driving past your home without even entering.
The following measures can improve your home’s curb appeal for a small investment of money and time, which will yield large returns. Any improvements done for resale should have over 100% return on investments as the following recommendations do.
Repaint the home’s exterior if the paint is over 5 years old. Painting with a neutral and bright color such as yellow, tan, or off-white works well. Painting provides an excellent return on investment.
Power-wash the exterior if the home was recently painted.
Clean windows both inside and out to give your home a “light and bright” feeling.
Install new house numbers that are visible from the street.
Install new hardware such as the lock and knob on the front door, if they appear dated.
In the front of the house, put out a new welcome mat and a clay pot or wooden box filled with blooming flowers.
Landscaping, painting, and the minor improvements mentioned above will improve the potential buyers’ first impression of your home and will generally have a greater than 100% return on investment.
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