By Maureen Reddy
As the owner of a full service design firm, I have enjoyed staging properties throughout New England for over a decade and have keenly observed the transition of the home staging industry.
When my design firm first introduced staging, it was a hard sell. Most REALTORS® had never heard of staging. As the idea of home staging made its way to the East coast from the West, the concept was more readily accepted. There was still, however, a tinge of skepticism associated with staging up until the early 2000’s, as buyers were afraid that sellers were somehow “fooling” them with staging.
After this time and up until late 2006 staging constituted 50% of my business. The properties that I had staged were flying off the market in a matter of weeks, sometimes days. Over 40% of my staged properties sold for asking price or above. Sellers were eager to schedule their staging appointments and gushed over the “designer show house” results. Many clients received multiple offers and easily tripled their staging costs when the property sold. The market had substantial movement, sellers undoubtedly cashed in on their staging investment and REALTORS®’ sales numbers rose sharply.
In the fourth quarter of 2006, I noticed a decline in staging projects which was not unusual for the time of year, however, the slowing trend continued as the market suffered, housing prices dropped, and foreclosures made daily headlines.
Now we are looking at an uncertain future in the real estate industry but one thing is for sure…today’s seller is in need of staging now more than ever. Stiff competition, hundreds of days on market and savvy buyers make it necessary that a property show its absolute best. The well-informed and sophisticated seller and agent know that the statistics speak for themselves:
1) Homes that are staged sell quicker and for more money than those that are not.
2) A buyer decides if the home will be a consideration within the first 8 seconds upon entering the property.
3) Staging, in most cases, costs less than the property’s first price reduction ($10,000 average reduction).
Home staging has become a necessary tool in the business of selling property and its positive results ensures a win-win situation for all the parties involved in the home buying process.
Maureen Reddy is the owner of DaVinci Designer Gallery , a full service design firm that has been staging homes for over a decade, for more information visit ddg-re.com.