2 Sep 2019

Home staging can be expensive – anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 – but does it help a house sell faster and is it worth it? 

According to the American National Association of Realtors, a home furnished by a professional company will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home. Further, the NAR claims staged homes sell 87% faster than non-staged homes. 

So is the situation the same in New Zealand? 

Managing Director of Auckland home stagers The Look, Dan O’Connor, says home staging definitely has an effect but it’s impossible to have statistics on how much faster a house sells with staging. 

“We’ve had properties that have been for sale for a long time while empty and after staging them they’ve sold the next week,” he said. 

A home without staging

Photo provided by The Look Home Staging

Auckland man Tiger Leysa raved about his experience of home staging. 

“I decided to sell my Milford four-bedroom home in winter despite Auckland’s flat market, but I used a home staging company to make it as attractive to buyers as possible,” he said. 

After getting an independent valuation for his two-storey home, as well as a real estate agent’s valuation, Leysa paid $6,000 to completely furnish the property and it sold within a week for $3 million (the valuation price). 

“I had such a fantastic experience that I’m now thinking of flipping houses,” Leysa said. 

REDnews spent a day with The Look to learn the ins and outs of how it works. 

O’Connor says it’s important to ‘de-personalise’ your home so that the potential buyer can imagine themselves in the house.  They therefore pack away family photos, grooming products, makeup, awards, trophies and random toys. 

“We make the furniture create an appeal within the house without it being ‘the appeal’ of the house. 

“The average three-bedroom property costs around $3,000 to stage, but in some cases it could go up to $10,000 or $15,000, but that’s rare.  Prices are for a five-week period,” O’Connor says. 

Although home staging can be an all-year-round business, there are peak seasons that fluctuate alongside the property market. 

As property prices in Auckland have declined this year, the housing market has taken a dip. 

“The high seasons for staging are the summer months, spring and February to May, but this year there have been a lot of properties that haven’t been moving. 

“At the moment we have about 70 or 75 homes staged.  At times we’ve had 10 houses a week to stage, but at the moment we’ve dipped down to five a week because we’ve got stock sitting in houses that aren’t selling quickly – they're taking longer to get to the value that people want,” O’Connor says. 

Business owner of Ray White Epsom, Heather Walton, says that almost every listing she takes on, she would do some kind of staging, no matter the size of the house.  

“There’s always a better way to present the house and neutralise the seller’s personality so that potential buyers can visualise their own furniture in it.  I can spend anywhere from $500 up to $15,000 to stage a home,” she said. 

“When we stage a home, we’re aiming for it to be sold within four weeks and the staging usually equates to a better price,” she said. 

“If you use a good staging company with someone who has a degree in interior decoration then it’s worth it. It changes the atmosphere of the home,” Leysa says. 

Interior Designer Raewyn Foote has built her career around selling the dream to potential buyers. 

“If you declutter your home and put beautiful furniture into it, you’re selling the dream.   

“You create the house that people want to come and live in.  I recommend to put your furniture in storage and use home staging furniture, to create the world they want to live in.  

“For some houses I’ve even borrowed a couple of high-profile cars to go in the garage, to again sell the dream,” Foote says. 

Living Edge Interiors’ top tips for staging your own home are to: “Paint the interior walls in neutral colours, take down dated window treatments, clean your carpets, remove junk and declutter the home and if you’re hiring a home stager make sure to do professional photographs for marketing afterwards.”