While effective home staging can influence first impressions of a property, new research concludes that the strategy by itself may not convince buyers to pay more.
College of William and Mary real estate and finance professor Michael Seiler led the study, called “The Impact of Staging Conditions on Residential Real Estate Demand.” He and his co-authors used professional rendering software to create six virtual home tours with varying degrees of attractive or neutral design and furnishings, ugly furniture and design elements, or no furniture at all. More than 800 home buyers were exposed to one of the tours, after which they reported how much they would be willing to pay for the listing. Regardless of the paint color or quality of the furnishings, study participants all said they would pay about the same for all six of the homes: $204,000.
Still, Seiler warns that the study may not represent the last word on staging: “All we could test is how much the home would sell for. What we don’t know is whether a well-staged home will sell faster. It may sell quicker.”
Despite the findings, many real estate agents still believe staging works—especially when buyer emotions come into play. If the staging is favorable, they say, buyers will be willing to up the purchase price; but if it is unfavorable, it may be the element that causes them to walk away.
Source: “Home Staging Effect? Not Much.” Wall Street Journal (Dec. 27, 2013)