| Central Penn Business Journal
Home staging’s golden moment
A large percentage of homes on the market today in Central Pennsylvania are being sold by owners in financial or time distress — that means they either are out of money or time. These sellers are moving on and the appearance of the property for sale is a low, low priority for them. “As is” is taking on a whole new meaning. For the homebuyer, on the other hand, property appearance is more important a factor than ever.
Enter the home-staging movement.
This expanding real estate industry grew out of the design/decorating sector in the early 2000s as an adaptation to give homes a more polished look and feel. In the larger metro areas, home staging took an early hold, but nationwide expansion slowed as the home market went into overdrive during the “bubble years.” With homes selling so quickly, sellers were not excited about paying subjective fees charged by stagers.
During the transitional market of 2008-10, home stagers began to successfully argue their services cost a fraction of the price reductions beginning to appear on the MLS. Indeed, some statistics indicate this is true (unfortunately, there is no objective way to measure the days on market or sale price for staged homes via the MLS at this time). Either way, home staging began to look attractive to sellers and listing agents seeking a market advantage.
Today, I believe home stagers have a golden opportunity to expand their presence in the market. With buyers placing appearance and functionality near the top of their checklists, a well-staged home can really shine — especially against the distressed properties mentioned above. With multiple homes for sale in neighborhoods throughout Central Pennsylvania and in every price range, staging can literally make the sale. Home stagers need to get their message out and price their services reasonably and clearly for today’s limited-equity consumer, and they will have a willing audience.
As a homeowner you can choose between leveraging your listing team’s experience with staging their properties or hiring a staging professional. My recommendation is that you seriously consider it.
Have you had experience with staging your home?
Jeff Geoghan is a real estate agent and founder of www.yourlancasterhome.com in Lancaster County. He also hosts “YourLancasterHomeTV (tv.yourlancasterhome.com).” He also holds a Green designation from the National Association of Realtors and blogs about homes and green issues.