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Study Shows Home Staging Isn't As Effective As You'd Think

By Allison Halliday | December 31, 2013

A recent study seems to indicate that home staging isn't as effective at selling a home as you'd think. Even though a well-staged property will influence the buyers overall impression of the place it doesn't necessarily mean they'll be willing to pay more for the house.

The article in the Wall Street Journal focuses on a study carried out by a professor of real estate and finance at the College of William and Mary. Potential home buyers were assessed in the way they responded to six house tours with varying furniture quality and paint colors. The professor found that buyers were willing to pay roughly the same for each of the house tours regardless of whether the furnishings or paint color were appealing, but interestingly the participants in the research study believed other buyers would base their pricing on the way the property was staged.

livingroom Interior
© vichie81 - Fotolia.com

The participants in the study thought the house was worth roughly $204,000, but believed other buyers would pay 3.7% less for homes with unattractive wall colors, and 4% less for a home that had poor quality furniture. This equates to a reduction of $7,595 for a home with a bad paint job, or $8,297 for a home with grotty furniture. Potential home buyers were taken through one of six different virtual house tours that had been altered with professional grade rendering software. The house tours were either completely devoid of furniture or contained good or ugly furniture, while the wall colors were either neutral or something that was considered to be an unattractive color.

At the moment anyone selling a home is led to believe poor quality staging could lead to problems selling the property, but is this necessarily the case?  The professor who conducted the study does point out that all this research shows is how much people are prepared to pay for a home, and not whether that property would sell more quickly.

Real estate agents view home staging a little differently, and feel it works when buyers are able to feel some sort of emotional attachment to the property they are viewing. They point out the purpose of staging is to enable buyers to see how well a space will function for them, and to be able to imagine themselves living there. If a buyer falls in love with a home then they will be willing to pay for it. This is something that can work especially well if a buyer is undecided about a property; viewing a well-staged home could potentially tip their decision.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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